Fake news is news that is presented as being real with the intent to mislead.  It can be fabricated or could use original stories, video, audio and images that have been altered to appear real.

Fake news isn’t new, but it is a fast-growing issue. With the explosion of the Internet and social media, anyone can publish anything and share information at a rapid pace.

To help you spot fake news, use the S.P.O.T acronym.

  • Source—is the news from the original source?   

Does it come from Twitter or a reputable newspaper? What was the original story or message—has it been used and conveyed correctly? Is there evidence to support what is being said?

  • Purpose—what is the purpose of the story?

Have you only read the headline? Why was the news written—to inform or entertain? What is it really about?   Is the source biased or presenting personal, ideological, religious, political or cultural views?

  • Ownership—who are the authors?

Are they a corporation or organisation? Are they reputable? Are they experts in their field? What credentials do they have? Where are they employed? Who are they affiliated with?

  • Timeliness—when was it published?

Is this publication the original? Have there been retractions or updates?

Red and black text on white background. It reads, 'S.P.O.T. Fake News: Source, Purpose, Ownership, Timeliness'.

Fact-checking websites 

For further information on fake news, try these websites:

  • Snopes: a fact-checking website that can help to discern what is true and what is not.
  • Deepfakes:  when an original video and/or audio content is changed to make a new video that looks and sounds real.

S.P.O.T. the Fakes

For some fun, try these fake news quizzes:

If you are an academic looking for evaluations of fake news or other resources to add to your courses, please use the Library workshops, presentations and eLearning request form.