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Fake News


There are four broad categories of fake news, according to media professor Melissa Zimdars of Merrimack College.

CATEGORY 1: 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.

CATEGORY 2: Websites that may circulate misleading and/or potentially unreliable information

CATEGORY 3: Websites which sometimes use clickbait-y headlines and social media descriptions

CATEGORY 4: Satire/comedy sites, which can offer important critical commentary on politics and society, but have the potential to be shared as actual/literal news

Manipulating the News

Examples of manipulating information:

  • Echo Chamber advocacy: "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."  Read the Phillip Morris memo describing this type of advocacy.
  • Fake news: Websites and social media that intentionally post disinformation, hoaxes, propaganda.  Read Nieman Reports, Election '16: Lessons for Journalism for an ongoing series of practitioner articles and Journalist's Resource, Fake news and the spread of misinformation for a list of peer-reviewed articles.

Cathy Michael

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Cathy Michael
Ithaca College Library 953 Danby Rd
Ithaca, NY 14850‑7002