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Fake News

This guide is all about news, newspapers and so called Fake News. What it is, What it means, How to spot it and how to find quality, reliable information.

What is Fake News?

Definition of Fake News

fake news: false, often sensational, information disseminated under the guise of news reporting.

The term 'Fake News' has become increasingly widespread in recent years, particularly in relation to politics, news and social media. Misinformation, spin, lies and deceit have of course always existed. What makes Fake News different is a unique set of recent circumstances:

  • The growth and influence of social media and the emergence of algorithms and so-called 'echo chambers'
  • People able and willing to make stuff up and post it online, either for political purposes or financial gain
  • Several significant political elections

Fake News has become such a significant issue that in January 2018 the UK government announced that it was creating a brand new department specifically designed to counter it.

The BBC has suggested there are basically two kinds of Fake News:

  1. False stories that are deliberately published or posted to either make people believe something that is totally untrue or to get lots of people to visit a certain website.    
  2. Stories that may have some truth in them, but are not completely accurate. This may be because the people writing them - journalists or bloggers for example - don't check all the facts before publishing or posting their story, or may exaggerate some of it to try and get more attention.

How to spot Fake News

how to spot fake news infographic


In the links below you will find some examples of fake news, including ways to help you spot a fake news story. 

This ITV news report gives some examples of fake news and how to spot it. 

Back in 2016 suggested that Facebook and Google were to crack down on fake news. Access the report which outlines how to spot fake news. 

2017 saw a huge rise in fake news stories. The BBC website ran this item How fake news plagued 2017

Social media platforms are renowned for creating, publishing and sharing fake news items. Take a read of this Blog 11 easy ways to spot a fake twitter account instantly by Chris Makara  an SEO with more than 15 years of digital marketing experience

The British Council have produced a very helpful How to spot fake news test. 


Filter Bubbles and Algorithms

CIGI-IPSOS  Global Survey 2019 : Internet security & trust: (part 3 Social media, fake news & algorithms

The OU have produced a series of videos Social media - fake news, filter bubbles and sharing wisely!

Information Literacy -Transferable skills

Information literacy is more important than ever before, because we are surrounded by more information than ever before.

  •  Information literacy is to encourage you to 'deep read', to really engage with sources, to ask questions about sources and where necessary to explore ideas further.
  •  To have a full and rounded understanding of the sources you're reading (what are the key ideas?) and then being able to transfer that understanding into an assignment.
  • To help assess the validity and reliability of sources, always considering strengths and weaknesses, agendas, and context. Sorting through the rubbish! 

What are information Literacy Skills?

  • Find information  - search the library catalogue, and other search engines 
  • Evaluate- check the source, and the information you have found 
  •  is it from a trusted site/source?
  • Can you find other relevant pieces of information  to back it up?
  • How is it written/produced/displayed? 

Why are they transferable skills? 

Are you aware that you are already using information literacy skills? 

Online shopping as an example 

  • Do you know the company?  Are they reputable?
  • Can you find any information about the company? Any reviews? 
  • Refine results, to style, fit, size, colour etc. 

 Tips to help you with the quiz below

  • Consider the Source - Click away from the story to investigate the site, its mission and its contact info.
  • Read Beyond - 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. Are they credible? Are they real?
  • Supporting Sources? - Click on those links. Determine if the info given actually supports the story. 
  • Check the Date - Reposting 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. 

Practice your information literacy skills using these stories taken from the Fake news quiz. 

Police in Germany rescue man being chased by baby squirrel

Newborn becomes first baby to be named an emoji


Examples of Fake News

You've heard of Fake News, you know what it is and how to spot it. Below are some examples of Fake News posts and stories to help you recognise a fake from the real thing. 

Social Media 

Facebook post Facebook deletes fake child-cancer posts accounts

BBC News repor Coronavirus: How Facebook, TikTok and other apps tackle fake claims

Report from BBC News about a trending fake news challenge BBC News #Broomchallenge

Twitter report from Wired uk This little-known company is killing fake social media accounts

News reports

The Drum Latest marketing and advertising news for fake news, including insights and opinions.

 The BBC has a section on their website with the latest Fake |News information. BBC online: Fake News 

Fact Checker sites

Tips for Checking Facts:

1. When you open up a news article in your browser, open a second, empty tab. Use that second window to look up claims, author credentials and organizations that you come across in the article.

2. Fake news spans across all kinds of media - printed and online articles, podcasts, YouTube videos, radio shows, even still images. Be prepared to double-check everything.

3. Beware of confirmation bias.  Just because you might agree with what an article is saying doesn't mean it's true.

4. "Constant Vigilance!" as Mad-Eye Moody said in Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire. Always be ready to fact check.

5. Even the best researchers will be fooled once in a while.  If you find yourself fooled by a fake news story, use your experience as a learning tool.

Fact Checkers


There are plenty of Add on extensions for Firefox - try FakerFact which checks the reliability of a website. 

To quickly check if a site or a specific URL is safe, you can use Google Safe browsing web checker.


  • Image search TinEye will show the originality of a picture or photo and where it appears on the web. 
  • On an Andriod phone or tablet you can also use Google's Reverse image search to see where pictures originated from. 


BBC news creates and shares fact checking department BBC Verify

WebSite Checkers:

YouTube Videos:

Social Media:



Fake News games 


Can you spot fake news stories just using your gut instinct?  Try this short Fake News quiz

A very realistic game where you spread Fake News online - see what happens! Fake it to make it 

How many followers can you get using Fake News? Bad News 

Swipe left and right to decide if the story is real or fake? Factitious  

Can you spot the fake stories? BBC Quiz 

Create your own headlines! Break Your Own News 

Television Documentary: Ian Hislop's Fake News: A True History (2019)

Citation: Ian Hislop’s Fake News: A True History, 21:00 07/10/2019, BBC4, 60 mins. (Accessed 09 Oct 2019)


Ted Talks - Lots of videos on the subject of Fake News


Fake News Resources

Fake News help from other Universities 

You can also search the internet for "fake news libguides" or "fake news library information" for example, just make sure you check the source!

Help guide from Manchester Metropolitan University Library 

Help guide from London South Bank University   

Help guide from Indiana University East  

Help guide from Benedictine university 

Help guide from Newcastle university 

Help guide from Fordham University 


Academic articles and reports on Fake News from 2020 onwards 

Search for Fake News resources in the library  Library Catalogue Search 


Articles from 2023



Articles from 2022


Articles from 2021 


Articles from 2020


AI, ChatGPT and Deep Fakes


CHATGPT and the Global South: how are journalists in sub-Saharan Africa engaging with generative AI?

Use of artificial intelligence and blockchain technologies in detecting and curbing fake news in journalism

What are deepfakes?

Deepfakes are the manipulation of facial appearance through deep generative methods. While the act of creating fake content is not new, deepfakes leverage powerful techniques from machine learning and artificial intelligence to manipulate or generate visual and audio content that can more easily deceive.

The Guardian  What are deepfakes -  and how can you spot them?

Fake news- Ukraine and Russia conflict

How to fact check disinformation.

Disinformation has been a feature of conflicts throughout history. However, the Russian invasion of Ukraine has seen a significant increase in the creation and distribution of disinformation, ‘fake news’ and other misleading sources.

It should also be noted that according to Full Fact, disinformation is being used on both sides of the conflict. It is important to be conscious of this when considering how best to minimise the risks of spreading information.


Fake News - Covid-19

Archive - resources pre - 2020

Articles and information dating pre - 2022


 Articles from 2021


Articles from 2020


Articles from 2019



Articles from 2018




Articles from 2017 .