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Evaluating Sources: Fake News

Learn tools you can use to evaluate information.


What is `fake news'?

'Fake news' is a broad term which is generally used to describe false stories and misinformation presented as genuine news items. It is not usually entirely fictional (although it can be); more often, it is an account of a real event that has nevertheless been subject to distortion, exaggeration, and bias by the reporter. Fake news can be differentiated from other forms of misinformation in that it commonly involves an element of sensationalism. As such, it has a tendency to spread rapidly across the Internet - especially on social media sites - by being continually re-posted, reuploaded or re-reported, mostly by individuals who had no involvement in the creation of the original or awareness of its fictitious nature. 

Why Fake News?

There can be many motivations for generating 'fake news'. It can be used to influence opinions or political views, damage the reputations of individuals or organisations, make money through advertising revenue or, in some cases, it may simply be a prank. Not all 'fake news' is intended to deceive, however. False reporting can also start and spread through panic and fear, for example.

It's important to keep in mind that the term `Fake news' dominates political discourse and is sometimes used inappropriately as a means of discrediting the claims of opponents irrespective of their validity. It can also be used by people with agendas or biases to discredit news that would be considered legitimate by most standards. 

This page will discuss some examples of fake news and offer advice on shielding yourself from this type of misinformation.

Video: How to Spot Fake News -

FactCheck (2016) How to spot fake news - Available at: (Accessed: 15 September 2020).

Reports: 'Fake News'

Video: Everybody Can Make Deepfakes Now!

Deepfake is a technique for human image synthesis based on artificial intelligence. It is used to combine and superimpose existing images and videos onto source images or videos using a machine learning technique known as generative adversarial network.
Deepfakes challenge the idea of visual truth by presenting intentionally false videos, usually on a platform that can be seen by multiple people. Deepfakes can be used to create fake news and malicious hoaxes.

The following video expalins how it works.

Two Minute Papers (2020) Everybody can make deepfakes now! Available at: (Accessed: 15 September 2020).

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