What makes a news story fake?
There are four broad categories of fake news, according to media professor Melissa Zimdars of Merrimack College.
No single topic falls under a single category - for example, false or misleading medical news may be entirely fabricated (Category 1), may intentionally misinterpret facts or misrepresent data (Category 2), may be accurate or partially accurate but use an alarmist title to get your attention (Category 3) or may be a critique on modern medical practice (Category 4.) Some articles fall under more than one category. Assessing the quality of the content is crucial to understanding whether what you are viewing is true or not. It is up to you to do the legwork to make sure your information is good.
Sick and tired of seeing misinformation? Never know who or what to trust? Can't figure out if what you've heard is true? Feel Duped? Want better tools to sort truth from fiction? Here's a quick guide to sorting out facts, weighing information and being knowledgeable online and off
confirmation bias: the tendency to believe information is credible if it conforms to the reader’s/viewer’s existing belief system, or not credible if it does not conform
content farm or content mill: a company that employs a staff of freelance writers to create content designed to satisfy search engine retrieval algorithms with the goal of attracting views and advertising revenue.
echo chamber: “In news media an echo chamber is a metaphorical description of a situation in which information, ideas, or beliefs are amplified or reinforced by transmission and repetition inside an “enclosed” system, where different or competing views are censored, disallowed, or otherwise underrepresented.” (Wikipedia)
fact checking: the act of verifying assertions either prior to publication or after dissemination of the content
filter bubble: When search tools present with the stories we are likely to click on or share based on our past activity, potentially affirming our biases, we may be experiencing what Eli Pariser calls a filter bubble,
herding phenomenon: as more journalists begin to cover a story, even more journalists are likely to join the herd, imitating the angle the story initially took rather than developing alternate or original approaches or angles.
native advertising: paid, sponsored content designed to look like the legitimate content produced by the media outlet.
triangulation or cross verification: Researchers establish validity by using several research methods and by analyzing and examining multiple perspectives and sources in the hope that diverse viewpoints can shed greater light on a topic.
satisficing: a portmanteau of the words satisfy and suffice introduced by Herbert Simon in 1956 to refer to the tendency of people, bounded by time limitations, to select good enough information over optimal information
virality: the rapid circulation of media from one user to another. When we forward sensational stories, often from social media without checking their credibility in other sources, we increase their virality.