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Fake News: Spot Fake News

A library guide about news hoaxes, misinformation, and propaganda

Techniques to Identify and Stop Fake News

C.R.A.P. Test

Crap Test

Using the CRAP test on the article can help reveal if the article is fake news.

  • How current is it?
  • Is it reliable?
  • What audience is it for?
  • What's the purpose?

SMCC has a great guide for applying the CRAP test

Other Visual Clues

  • Spelling errors
  • Grammar Mistakes
  • Broken hyperlinks
  • Bad graphic design
  • Bad website design
  • Untraceable or uncited sources
  • Lack of a particular style, most journalists follow AP style

How to Spot Fake News Infographic

Consider the Source

Click away from the story to investigate the site, its mission and its contact info.

Read Beyond Headlines

Headlines can be outrageous in an effort to get clicks. What's the whole story?

Check the Author

Do a quick search on the author(s). Are they credible? Are they real?

Supporting Sources?

Click on those links. Determine if the info given actually supports the story.

Check the Date

Re-posting old news stories doesn't mean they're relevant to current events.

Is It a Joke?

If it is too outlandish, it might be satire. Research the site and author to be sure.

Check Your Biases

Consider if your own beliefs could affect your judgment.

Ask the Experts

Ask a librarian, or consult a fact-checking site.

Here is an example comparing the SiteID or logo of a well known news company vs a copy-cat fake news site. Look for visual clues in the logos, Site ID, and other parts of the website, like the graphics and design.

fake news logo example vs a real logo

The real news company has a professionally designed SiteID that matches its familiar corporate logo. The fake site uses a low-quality imitation.

Fake news info graphic by IFLA