Fake News Primer: What is it? How to spot it. How to stop it.
What is it?
CPRS is pleased to provide the following resources to help understand and fight against misinformation and disinformation, commonly referred to as “fake news.”
But first, we want to dispose of the term “fake news.” According to CBC
, the parliamentary committee on digital, culture, media and sport in the United Kingdom recommended against using "fake news" in favour of more specific terms:
"The term 'fake news' is bandied around with no clear idea of what it means, or agreed definition. The term has taken on a variety of meanings, including a description of any statement that is not liked or agreed with by the reader. We recommend that the Government rejects the term 'fake news,' and instead puts forward an agreed definition of the words 'misinformation' and 'disinformation.'"
So, let’s start with a common understanding of what those terms mean:
is the deliberate creation and/or sharing of false information in order to mislead.
is the act of sharing information without realizing it's wrong.
How to spot it
How to stop it
- Consider the source: Investigate the website and the author to determine if they are legitimate.
- Read the whole article: Headlines can be misleading to get your attention.
- Consider the content: Are there other legitimate news sources that can corroborate the story?
- Check the date: How old is this story? Is it still true?
- Check for humour: Could the story be satire?
- Be critical: How are the facts presented? Do they tell the full story?
Correct the incorrect and share the correct.
- Research to ensure your facts are correct.
- Comment on the social media post with facts not emotion.
- Contact the author or administrator to share facts and ask for a retraction.
- Share factual information.
CPRS agrees with the Canadian Journalism Foundation
that everyone needs access to reliable sources of news and information to be engaged in our democracy. In the spirit of taking on the fight in collaboration with our friends and colleagues in journalism, digital media and academia, we provide links to the following additional resources on misinformation and disinformation.
: NewsWise is the product of The Canadian Journalism Foundation, with the support of the Google.org Charitable Giving Fund of Tides Foundation.
: News Media Canada is the national association of the Canadian news media industry, serving print and digital news media members in every province and territory.
: MediaSmarts is a Canadian not-for-profit charitable organization for digital and media literacy.