This guide will help you become a responsible consumer of news and show you how to evaluate fake news sources vs. real news sources.

Fake News and Beyond: Other Types of Bad Information Sources

Definitions used by Melissa Zimdar's Open Sources project that classifies websites for credibility.

Fake News: Sources that entirely fabricate information, disseminate deceptive content, or grossly distort actual news reports

Satire: Sources that use humor, irony, exaggeration, ridicule, and false information to comment on current events.

Extreme Bias: Sources that come from a particular point of view and may rely on propaganda, decontextualized information, and opinions distorted as facts.

Conspiracy Theory: Sources that are well-known promoters of kooky conspiracy theories.

Rumor Mills: Sources that traffic in rumors, gossip, innuendo, and unverified claims.

State-sponsored News: Sources in repressive states operating under government sanction. Propaganda.

Junk Science: Sources that promote pseudoscience, metaphysics, naturalistic fallacies, and other scientifically dubious claims.

Hate News: Sources that actively promote racism, misogyny, homophobia, and other forms of discrimination.

Clickbait: Sources that provide generally credible content, but use exaggerated, misleading, or questionable headlines, social media descriptions, and/or images.

Proceed With Caution: Sources that may be reliable but whose contents require further verification.

Political: Sources that provide generally verifiable information in support of certain points of view or political orientations.

Credible: Sources that circulate news and information in a manner consistent with traditional and ethical practices in journalism (Remember: even credible sources sometimes rely on clickbait-style headlines or occasionally make mistakes. No news organization is perfect, which is why a healthy news diet consists of multiple sources of information).

Fake News spreads on social media like wildfire. This post, featuring two different pictures of rapper Ice Cube, got its fair share of attention, despite the incorrect content and use of movie stills. 

Words matter! Let's take a look at some information literacy definitions.


Unintentional mistakes such as innaccurate photo captions, dates, statistics, or when satire is taken seriouisly.


Fabricated or deliberately manupulated audio/visual content. Intentionally created comspiracy theories or rumours. 


Deliberate publication of private information for personal or coporate rather than public interest, such as revenge porn. Deliberate change of context, date or time of genuine content. 

Butler, W., Sargent, A., Smith, K. (2021).  Introduction to college research. Creative Commons Atritubtion. 

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