Many associate the term "fake news" with 45, Kellyanne Conway, the so-called alt-right, and their fans. However, it's important to remember that the concept of fake news or clickbait-y headlines go far beyond party lines. Many websites are capitalizing on the concept of "confirmation bias," or the tendency to interpret new evidence as confirmation of one's existing beliefs or theories. "Those people who generate this kind of fake news don't care about politics. They just care about generating clicks, and so sometimes they generate similar messages for the right and the left," says Professor Filippo Menczer. Menczer teaches Informatics and Computer Science at Indiana University who runs the fake news tracking site Hoaxy.
Make yourself aware of the bias in the media you consume. It's okay to watch MSNBC, but make sure you supplement your infotainment with more neutral sources on a given topic. Check out the table to the left.
Get informed on how to identify fake news:
- Vox, "Democrats are falling for fake news about Russia"
- BBC, "Facebook publishes fake news ads in UK paper"
Make yourself familiar with fact-checking tools. If something sounds a little too wild, don't hesitate to double-check (especially if your wacky Aunt posted it). The links below are tools we use, and are posted on the Couch Activism Resources page.