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Fake News

What is fake news? Why should you care? How can you avoid it? Find out all this and more, in the UVic Libraries Fake News Guide.

What is fake news?

The Ethical Journalism Network defines fake news as “information deliberately fabricated and published with the intention to deceive and mislead others into believing falsehoods or doubting verifiable facts.” While the term has flourished in popularity with the rise of social media and 24/7 news cycles, fake news as a concept has existed for as long as there has been news to report. Today fake news shows up in any number of forms, from easily apparent to decidedly inconspicuous, prompting greater attention to the media and information literacy skills of Canadians.  

UNESCO emphasizes three types of false information:

  • Disinformation: Information that is false and deliberately created to harm a person, social group, organisation or country
  • Misinformation: Information that is false but not created with the intention of causing harm
  • Mal-information: Information that is based on reality, used to inflict harm on a person, social group, organisation or country.

Some indications of fake news include:

  • Information or claims that no one else is reporting
  • Information or claims that contradict science, known history, or other facts that we know to be true
  • An author with no credentials or relevant connection to the subject
  • A flashy headline that evokes a strong emotional response or misrepresents the contents of the source
  • Out-of-context or manipulated quotes, studies, or media

CBC News offers an explainer on fake news, misinformation, and disinformation 


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