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Fact or fiction? Recognize false news stories

With so many news sources available to you, a news story containing false information might slip through. Be aware that not all news is true. Follow the steps in the infographic, and watch the BBC's video 'Fake News: How to spot it' for more information.

How to spot fake news: infographic. Consider the source, read beyond, check the author, supporting sources, check the date, is it a joke, check your biases, ask the experts

Luckily there are also several fact checking organisations to help you:

  • Nieuwscheckers: Dutch news checkers of Leiden University. 
  • Snopes: The oldest and largest fact-checking site online, widely regarded by journalists, folklorists, and readers as an invaluable research companion.
  • The International Fact Checking Network: The International Fact-Checking Network is a unit of the Poynter Institute dedicated to bringing together fact-checkers worldwide (also the parent organization of PolitiFact). A fact-reporting website may sign their Code of Principles.
  • FactCheck.org: FactCheck.org is a project of the Annenberg Public Policy Center of the University of Pennsylvania. they monitor the factual accuracy of what is said by major U.S. political players in the form of TV ads, debates, speeches, interviews and news releases. 
  • Full Fact: Full Fact pioneered an approach based on securing corrections from politicians, journalists, and other public figures who get their facts wrong. They also investigate the causes and consequences of misinformation, and advocate for solutions—which includes but is not limited to policy change.
  • BBC Reality Check: Publishes fact-checking related stories and investigates claims. 
  • Google's Fact Check Explorer: This tool allows you to easily browse and search for fact checks. Google does not endorse or create any of these fact checks.

Misinformation exercise

In the Bad News game, you take on the role of a fake news-monger. Drop all pretense of ethics and choose a path that builds your persona as an unscrupulous media magnate. Your task is to get as many followers as you can while slowly building up fake credibility as a news site. 

The goal of the game is to expose the tactics and manipulation techniques that are used to mislead people and build up a following. Playing Bad News improves people’s ability to spot manipulation techniques in social media posts, increases their confidence in spotting such techniques, and reduces their willingness to share manipulative content with people in their network.

Spotting deepfakes

Did you know Donald Trump loves our libguides? He said it, listen and see here! Actually, that is an example of a quickly made deepfake. 

Image source: Stephan Wolfram

Deepfake (also spelled DeepFake or deep fake) is a type of artificial intelligence used to create convincing images, audio and video hoaxes. These videos, pictures and audio tracks can be very advanced and thus difficult to identify as fake. Learn more about deepfakes and how convincing they can be, by taking the Spot the deepfake quiz.

Some tips to spot a deepfake image, audio or video are:

  • Watch for unnatural movement of the body or face (such as facial expressions and eye movement).
  • Look for inconsistent light reflection in the eyes.
  • Watch for a lack of emotion, or mismatched emotional cues.
  • Watch for unnatural hair or teeth (such as the absence of an outline of individual teeth).
  • Slow down a video to spot unnatural images.
  • Listen for inconsistent noise or audio (such as strange pronunciation or intonation).
  • Do a reverse image search.
  • Use the DeepFake-O-Meter of the UB Media Forensic Lab, or the Deepware scanner to digitally check a video.
  • Stay critical: even digital deepfake detectors can be duped!

Want to see how easily fake audio and video can be created? Try it yourself with fakeyou.com.