Fake news: fact or fiction?

We have learned about bias in media coverage – this is when specific facts are used to present a story in a particular way. However recently there has been a huge increase in something else – fake news.

What is fake news?

Fake news means news that is completely untrue – it has been made up.

Where did fake news come from?

Fake news isn’t actually new – people have been making up news for centuries.

Social media means it is easier for these stories to spread and this means it is a bigger problem for us. It is also much more difficult to stop these stories from being published because there aren’t checks on what gets put on the internet.

There are two main types of fake news:

  1. Disinformation – this is fake or misleading stories created and shared deliberately, often by a writer who might have a financial or political motive, e.g. propaganda. These stories were published even though the person publishing them knew they were false.
  2. Misinformation – this also includes fake or misleading stories, but in this case the stories may not have been deliberately created or shared with the intention to mislead. Sometimes stories are published where the facts haven’t been checked properly or some of the story might be true but other bits may have been exaggerated.

Where next?

How does fake news spread?
Think like a journalist: How to check a story
BBC Own It: Fake News song
Fact or Fake?