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Can you tell fake NEWS from real NEWS?

3 min read

Better Society
Can you tell fake NEWS from real NEWS?
Source: Pixel2013

These days it is becoming increasingly difficult to distinguish a true story from a fake one. Here are some suggestions of simple ways to check if news is true or false.

Learning how to spot fake news can help stem the spread of disinformation

With terms like “fake news” and “alternative facts” now common in the media space, how do we ensure the news presented to us is based in truth? With Clickbait, hyper-partisan opinion, and completely false information running rampant across the internet, the best solution is to take personal responsibility for how we determine what is the truth and what is a distortion or a lie, before we blindly share some of these false and potentially harmful stories. Here are some simple suggestions we can all implement to help filter the false from the truth.

Think before you share! By taking personal responsibility with some research of our own, we can all help filter the internet! Source: Facebook/BrightVibes

How to help spot fake news

Nothing is ever completely foolproof, and even professionals in the media get taken in from time to time, but here are some general rules of thumb to help you spot fake news and thus avoid sharing it.


  • Check the images — images can be very misleading. Doing a Google reverse image search of the photos used in the article can be very insightful.
  • Check the facts. Pages like Snopes, Politifact and FactCheck and provide valuable information on whether or not a story is correct.
  • Check if other news outlets are reporting it — If it’s true, chances are the story’s been picked up by others.
  • Read past the headline — In order to get clicks headlines can be outrageous: what’s the whole story?
  • Check which news outlet published it — Have you heard of the organisation? Investigate the site and its mission.
  • Check the author — Check on e.g. LinkedIn if they are credible. Are they real?
  • Check the sources used — When available, click the supporting links to see if the information supports the story.
  • Beware of confirmation bias — Consider if your own beliefs could affect your judgement.
  • Is the website address legit? — Is the end of the website something normal like “co.uk” or “.com” or is it an usual like “com.co”? 
  • Does the story sound believable? — When it doesn’t, it very well might not be.
  • Does the story contain many typos? — That may indicate that it wasn’t checked by an editor.
  • Check the publish time and date — An old story maybe true, but isn’t necessarily relevant to current events.

Always remember to think and check before you share something. In this way we can all help do our bit to clean up the Internet from untruths and misinformation.

Check out our recent article: ‘Schools around the world are now teaching children how to spot fake news’

IFLA has made this infographic with eight simple steps (based on FactCheck.org’s 2016 article How to Spot Fake News)  to discover the verifiability of a given news-piece in front of you. Click the source link to download, print, translate, and share – at home, at your library, in your local community, and on social media networks.
The more we crowdsource our wisdom, the wiser the world becomes IFLA has made this infographic with eight simple steps (based on FactCheck.org’s 2016 article How to Spot Fake News) to discover the verifiability of a given news-piece in front of you. Click the source link to download, print, translate, and share – at home, at your library, in your local community, and on social media networks. Source: ifla.org

Other notable and reputable resources to help you determine the true from the false include:

Make an Impact

How to report fake news to social media and what to expect

Fake news stories on the internet have hit the headlines in recent times. While much of the focus has been on Facebook, Google and Twitter, other popular platforms all have their own systems to enable readers to report fake news. Some are better than others, some are non-existent.<br /> But how can you help to remove false news from the internet and what are the big platforms doing to help? Here’s where you find out.