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Fake News: Activity 4

Evaluating News Encountered on or through Social Media

This activity would take 30 minutes or more. Using the ten "Is It Fake or Is It Real?" questions, go through some sample web sources to demonstrate each of the main concepts. More example sources are provided than are necessary, so pick and choose what you think would work best for your class. After introducing the concepts, choose either Group A or Group B sources for small groups of students to evaluate based on the 10 questions.

2. Does the Link Have an Unusual Domain Name or Odd Suffixes?

For example:


3. Is the Source Reputable?

Look at the source of the story: What is the name of the source? Who is the publisher? Is there useful information in about us and contact us sections? How about a mission or vision statement? Is some content sponsored by outside groups? Is it satire? 

Look on the internet: Use a search engine or a website like Media Bias/Fact Check or Media Bias Chart to check on the general bias of the source.

4. Is the Author Reputable?

Look at the author of the story: Who is the author? Do they have academic training, life experience, or some other skill set that makes them knowledgeable about this subject?

Search the source of the story for more information. Is the author's name clickable? Is there a contributors' page? What does the About Us section reveal.

Also, search the internet for clues.

5. When was the story published?

  • When was the information published or posted?
  • Has the information been revised or updated since then?
  • Is the story current enough for your topic?

6. Where did the facts and data come from?

Are the sources of information provided?

Are links to information provided?

Is information on charts and graphs clearly labeled?

If not, try searching the internet to see what other sources of information have to say.

7. Where did the images come from?

To check and see where an image originally came from or to see if it has been tampered with, try a reverse image search.

Use Google Images to figure out where one of these images came from:

8. Is the story biased?

Also, search the internet to see what other sources of information have to say on the same topic. Do other stories on the same topic tell the same story, or do they have a different bias? Can you find a story that is more neutral?

9. Have you Cross-Checked the Story?

Check for the story from a reputable news source. What do you find?

Here are a few stories to check out using a search engine. Look for a story from a reputable news source.



10. Would you share this document? Why or why not?

Once you've investigated a story, you need to decide if you think it is fake news. Think back over the source you just looked at or any of the ones from above. Do you think it is real? Would you share it? Why or why not?

Next, research an opinion you don't believe and see what you find.

Is It Fake or Is It Real?

Ten questions towards a more informed you:

  1. What is the title?
  2. Does the headline sound unrealistic?
  3. Is the source reputable?
  4. Is the author reputable?
  5. When was the story published?
  6. Where did the facts and data come from?
  7. Where did the images come from?
  8. Is the story biased?
  9. Have you cross-checked the story?
    • Have you done your fact checking?
    • Have you done your image checking?
    • Have you examined another viewpoint?
  10. Would you share this document? Why or why not?