The term "fake news" has been used increasingly in the last several years, but does not always refer to the same thing. Because false information can come in many shapes and forms, the term "fake news" can conjure up very different thoughts depending on the person using/hearing it and their own personal experiences. For the purposes of this guide we can define "fake news" as “purposefully crafted, sensational, emotionally charged, misleading or totally fabricated information that mimics the form of mainstream news” (Zimdars & McLeod, 2020).
We can further break down this term by looking at three varieties of "fake news." The first two are more common, but the third can be equally as important:
Now that we have defined the 3 key terms associated with the buzzword "fake news" we can try to apply them to the content we encounter regularly. Claire Wardle's article "Understanding Information Disorder" identifies 7 common types of mis-, dis-, or malinformation. The table below provides an overview of these types ranked from least to most harmful.
Watch the video below for more information on what "fake news" means.