Fact checking aims to determine the factual accuracy of news media reports, and other pieces of communication such as political speeches. Fact checking will use authentic information sources to verify or refute the claims made.
There’s now a vast network of factcheck units around the world, operating in myriad different languages. However, none have a process quite like ours at The Conversation.
NOTE The Conversation no longer has a distinct editorial product called 'FactCheck', however the rigorous methods outlined in the video and article (above) are incorporated into the standard process for many of the articles published by The Conversation.
What is a hoax? According to Wikipedia, ‘a hoax is a falsehood deliberately fabricated to masquerade as the truth’. According to the Cambridge Dictionary it is a 'a plan to deceive someone, such as telling the police there is a bomb somewhere when there is not one, or a trick'.
You can 'fact-check' online hoaxes through Hoaxslayer. Hoax-Slayer debunks email and social media hoaxes, thwarts Internet scammers, combats spam, and educates web users about email, social media, and Internet security issues.
There are multiple news sources available in a variety of formats but are they all reliable?
Learn about fact-checking and how to investigate claims or news media reports.
Is it real or is it fake news?
"Fake news is made-up stuff, masterfully manipulated to look like credible journalistic reports that are easily spread online to large audiences willing to believe the fictions and spread the word." (Drobnic Holan 2016).
Read a news item from the links provided below or select one from your subject area.
Now use each of the Fake News checks from the poster (right) to test out the news report.
1. Where is the article from? is it a reliable source.
2. Are there other sources for this news report. Compare what you find.
3. Who is the author. Are they qualified to write or speak about this issue?
4. Check out other links which may be embedded in the article.
5. Check for satire or joke content.
6. Do your own beliefs or emotions affect the way you read the article? Challenge yourself to read from different perspectives.
7. Fact check through a fact checking site, library databases and librarians.
You may have heard about an article published in the Lancet in 1998 which reported that vaccinations could cause autism. This research has since been retracted but is an interesting example of scientific research being presented as 'facts' which may actually be incorrect.
Read here about the impact of the vaccination report and other pieces of research about vaccination which have been questioned and refuted.
This video gives you some handy tips for spotting fake news.
Here are a few useful resources which will help you determine the veracity of claims:
Empower yourself to recognise 'fake news' by taking a look at 5 useful techniques for spotting misinformation online in this recent article from The Conversation:
Pearson, M (2020, January 18). There’s no such thing as ‘alternative facts’. 5 ways to spot misinformation and stop sharing it online. The Conversation. https://theconversation.com/theres-no-such-thing-as-alternative-facts-5-ways-to-spot-misinformation-and-stop-sharing-it-online-152894
Empower yourself to spot if someone is trying to misrepresent science or sow seeds of doubt in scientific inquiry by taking a look at these 5 useful techniques from The Conversation:
Vally, H (2021, March 9). 5 ways to spot if someone is trying to mislead you when it comes to science. The Conversation. https://theconversation.com/5-ways-to-spot-if-someone-is-trying-to-mislead-you-when-it-comes-to-science-138814