Use the following steps to determine if a story or claim is “fake” news or disinformation:
- Has someone else already fact-checked this story?
- Look up the story on a fact-checking site such as Snopes or Politifact
- Visit the comments. Another reader may have already debunked the story. Of course, random internet commenters won’t always be right, but they may provide leads for your further investigation.
- What do other media outlets have to say about the site where you found the story? An easy way to search for this is by Googling the name or URL of the site followed by –site: and the URL. For example, if you want information about the Wall Street Journal that is not posted on its own website, try Googling Wall Street Journal –site:wsj.com.
- Where did the story originate?
- Does the story include a link, citation, or details you can use to find the source of the information? Many media outlets syndicate or adapt stories from other places. Get as close as you can to the original source.
- What do other sources have to say about the story?
- Are other media outlets reporting on this story? Does their information affirm or conflict with what you read?
Adapted from Mike Caulfield’s web literacy model at How News LIteracy Gets the Web Wrong