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Fake News & Misinformation (TOPIC)

What is Fake News

Fake news is false or misleading information that is presented as news, and is communicated via different formats including spoke, written, printed, electronic and digital communication. The goal of fake news is often to damage the reputation of a person, entity, or institution. It may also have financial goals by making money through advertising revenue.

Important Terms

Fake News

False stories that appear to be news, spread on the internet or in other media forms, usually created to influence political views. There is criticism in using the term since it can be used by individuals or organizations for political purposes and can be intentionally used to connect different forms of false information.


Misinformation are unintentional mistakes made when reporting information. Misinformation can be in the form of inaccurate captions, dates, statistics, or translations. This can also happen when satire is taken seriously or out of context.


Disinformation is deliberately fabricated or manipulated content. This type of information is meant to intentionally create conspiracy theories, rumors and to confuse or misdirect.


Malinformation is the deliberate publication of private information for personal or corporate interest, rather than public interest. This is like disinformation since it can include the deliberate change of context of genuine content.


Information, ideas, or rumors deliberately and systematically spread to help or harm a person, group, movement, institution, or nation.


The use of irony, sarcasm, ridicule and other forms of humor to expose, denounce, or deride (to make fun of). In this context, online content that is meant to make fun of something but disguised as news.

Social Media

Any website or application that allow users to create and share content or participate in social networking


Content on the web whose main purpose is to encourage users to follow a link on page.


A tendency, feeling, or opinion that is preconceived (to have made up before doing any research) or unreasoned (not thought through).

Confirmation Bias

A tendency to interpret information that confirms one’s preexisting beliefs or hypotheses.

Filter Bubble

An environment, especially an online environment where people are only exposed to opinions and information that conform to their existing beliefs.


These e-Books are available in the online library collection. Click the title to access the resource.

Reports & Academic Sources

Magazine & News Articles


Why People Fall for Misinformation by Joseph Isaac

In 1901, David Hänig published research that led to what we know today as the taste map: an illustration that divides the tongue into four separate areas. It has since been published in textbooks and newspapers. There is just one problem: the map is wrong. So how do misconceptions like this spread, and what makes a fake fact so easy to believe? Interested? Check out this TED Talk!

How Fake News Does Real Harm

On April 14, 2014, the terrorist organization Boko Haram kidnapped more than 200 schoolgirls from the town of Chibok, Nigeria. Around the world, the crime became epitomized by the slogan #BringBackOurGirls — but in Nigeria, government officials called the crime a hoax, confusing and delaying efforts to rescue the girls. In this powerful talk, journalist Stephanie Busari points to the Chibok tragedy to explain the deadly danger of fake news and what we can do to stop it. Watch this TED Talk to learn more.

Skilled Fake Videos of Real People – and How to Spot Them

Do you think you’re good at spotting fake videos, where famous people say things they’ve never said in real life? See how they’re made in this astonishing talk and tech demo. Computer scientist Supasorn Suwajanakorn shows how, as a grad student, he used AI and 3D modeling to create photorealistic fake videos of people synced to audio. Learn more about both the ethical implications and the creative possibilities of this tech — and the steps being taken to fight against its misuse.

Beware Online “Filter Bubbles”

As web companies strive to tailor their services (including news and search results) to our personal tastes, there’s a dangerous unintended consequence: We get trapped in a “filter bubble” and don’t get exposed to information that could challenge or broaden our worldview. Eli Pariser argues powerfully that this will ultimately prove to be bad for us and bad for democracy.

Can We Protect AI From Our Biases?

As humans we’re inherently biased. Sometimes it’s explicit and other times it’s unconscious, but as we move forward with technology how do we keep our biases out of the algorithms we create? Documentary filmmaker Robin Hauser argues that we need to have a conversation about how AI should be governed and ask who is responsible for overseeing the ethical standards of these supercomputers. “We need to figure this out now,” she says. “Because once skewed data gets into deep learning machines, it’s very difficult to take it out.”

How a Handful of Tech Companies Control Billions of Minds Every Day

A handful of people working at a handful of tech companies steer the thoughts of billions of people every day, says design thinker Tristan Harris. From Facebook notifications to Snapstreaks to YouTube autoplays, they’re all competing for one thing: your attention. Harris shares how these companies prey on our psychology for their own profit and calls for a design renaissance in which our tech instead encourages us to live out the timeline we want.

Dear Facebook, This is How You’re Breaking Democracy

“Lies are more engaging online than truth,” says former CIA analyst, diplomat and Facebook employee Yaël Eisenstat. “As long as [social media] algorithms’ goals are to keep us engaged, they will feed us the poison that plays to our worst instincts and human weaknesses.” In this bold talk, Eisenstat explores how social media companies like Facebook incentivize inflammatory content, contributing to a culture of political polarization and mistrust — and calls on governments to hold these platforms accountable in order to protect civil discourse and democracy.


When looking for resources, try some of these keywords in your searching :

e.g., fake news AND politics

* Interested in learning more about using keywords for research? Check out our videos on how to create and search using keywords on our Research Skills page.



NewsGuard is web browser extension that can tell you if a site is a source of reliable news, through ratings and “Nutrition Label” reviews.

Tools That Fight Disinformation Online

The RAND Corporation, a public policy research organization, has a collection of various apps that help users filter bad news and fact check articles.

Project Information Literacy

Project Information Literacy (PIL) is a nonprofit research institute that conducts ongoing, national studies on what it is like being a student in the digital age.

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Alexander College acknowledges that the land on which we usually gather is the traditional, ancestral and unceded territory of the Coast Salish peoples, including the territories of the xʷməθkwəy̓əm (Musqueam), Skwxwú7mesh (Squamish), and Səl̓ílwətaʔ/Selilwitulh (Tsleil-Waututh) Nations. We are grateful to have the opportunity to work in this territory.

Alexander College acknowledges that the land on which we usually gather is the traditional, ancestral and unceded territory of the Coast Salish peoples, including the territories of the xʷməθkwəy̓əm (Musqueam), Skwxwú7mesh (Squamish), and Səl̓ílwətaʔ/Selilwitulh (Tsleil-Waututh) Nations. We are grateful to have the opportunity to work in this territory.

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