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English at Oxford: How to spot fake news

Fake news on genuine news sites

Even genuine news websites can sometimes contain fake news.

Be on the look out for stories that are advertisements. They should state clearly that they are not genuine news stories, with phrases such as "Sponsored content", "Promoted story", or "Content from other news sources".

Advertisements can also appear within news stories and are sometimes hard to spot, make sure you read the whole article and be skeptical for anything that looks out of place, or links to other websites.



Academic treatment of news

You should approach news in the same way you would an academic article or book:

1) Who wrote it?

Find out who wrote the story, what are their motives? Are they biased? Are they employed by an organisation being praised in the story? What are their sources? Is it more opinion than fact? Can they prove the claims they are making?

2) Is it good quality?

Are there lots of grammar and spelling mistakes? Over dramatic punctuation!!!?? Does it make sense? Read the whole story and see if it reads as if sections have been copied and pasted from other websites.

3) Check the citations

If the story references it's stories, follow up on them. Where do they lead you? Are the sources verifiable?


Find out more on our page How To Evaluate Websites