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Trinity College Dublin, The University of Dublin

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Spotting Fake News

A guide to navigating the world of fake news and information

Tips for fake information spotting


  • Source. Question the source. Check on official websites if stories are repeated there. If a source is “a friend of a friend”, this is a rumour unless you also know the person directly. Even academic work can be skewed and subject to bias, as this article about Google paying for favourable articles shows
  • Read Beyond. Be wary if the message presses you to share – this is how viral messaging works
  • Author. Who are they?. Are they reputable?. Do they have history?. Are they real?.
  • Logo: Check whether any logo used in the message looks the same as on the official website.

  • Bad English: Credible journalists and organisations are less likely to make repeated spelling and grammar mistakes. This UNESCO journalist guide to fake news training gives good guidance .
  • Fake social media accounts: Some fake accounts mimic the real thing. For example, where the unofficial Twitter handle @BBCNewsTonight, which had been made to look like the legitimate @BBCNews account, shared a fake story about the actor Daniel Radcliffe testing positive for Coronavirus


                                                                                                        See News


  • Check The Date. Old articles or photographs are reposted in the hope that they cause a stir but they have no relevance the story. This was seen recently with a Twitter photo of the New Zealand Prime Minister: NZ PM Twitter Photo Furore
  • Ask Experts. Use a site like  where you can do your own detective work and feel more confident in being able to identify fact vs. Fiction..