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Fake News

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What is Fake News?

Fake News as defined by the Australian Macquarie Dictionary relates to "disinformation and hoaxes published on websites for political purposes or to drive web traffic.


Broadly speaking, according to Melissa Zimdars from Merrimack College, Fake News falls under four categories:

False Websites
Fake, false, or regularly misleading websites that are shared on Facebook and social media. Some of these websites may rely on “outrage” by using distorted headlines and decontextualized or dubious information in order to generate likes, shares, and profits
Headlines designed to make readers want to click on a hyperlink, especially when the link leads to content of dubious value or interest
Headlines such as "What Happens Next Will Surprise You!" or "You’ll Never Guess Why..." are designed to create interest while promising answer any questions if you click through to the website.
Satire/comedy sites, which can offer important critical commentary on politics and society, but have the potential to be shared as actual/literal news

The Betoota Advocate's entirely false satirical report on a Sydney parking inspector fining himself was taken seriously by commercial television outlets and reported as fact.

Deliberately Misleading Headlines
Websites that may circulate misleading and/or potentially unreliable information by presenting a story in a disingenuous manner.


Fake news sites generally do not belong to simply one category but instead have a combination of the four.


Be Aware!

Fake News is NOT simply information you disagree with. 
A difference of opinion, political spin, or information inconvenient to a particular cause/viewpoint is not fake news.
Fake News is verifiably false reporting.

How Fake News can Spread