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Media Literacy and Fact-Checking: Home

Media Literacy and Fact Checking


Image of Stop sign. Text reads stop. think.

Stop and Think by DWRose. CC-BY-2.0

Media literacy is the ability to access, analyze, evaluate, create, and act on all type of media responsibly. Fact-checking is an important part of evaluating and analyzing information that comes through news and other media. "Fast news" and social media make it very easy to both send and receive information. From deliberate disinformation campaigns to viral misinformation, one of the most effective things you can do to prevent the spread of so-called "fake news" is to stop and evaluate information before sharing. Follow the steps in this guide using the tabs across the top for fact-checking strategies and guides to evaluate news. 

University Libraries presentations on media literacy and fact checking

What is "Fake News"?

"Fake news" is a widely-used term with no clear meaning. People use this term to mean anything from satire to misunderstandings and deliberate disinformation campaigns to information that is contrary to a person's previously-held beliefs. The term is not new: it was used in the New York Times at least as far back as 1894. Typically, when people use this term they're referring to one of three types of bad information:

  • Disinformation: Information that is false and deliberately created to harm a person, social group, organization, or country.
    • "Troll Factories" like the Internet Research Agency, and bots that promulgate disinformation fall into this category
  • Misinformation: Information that is false but not created with the intention of causing harm
    • Satire, often shared without the understanding that it's satirical, falls into this category
  • Mal-information: Information that is based on reality, used to inflict harm on a person, social group, organization, or country

The good news is that all of these types of bad information can be addressed using the strategies offered in this guide!

For more detailed reading on this subject, try 

Citizen Literacy

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