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Hot Topics: Fake News and Misinformation: Home

Fake News: What Is It?

What is Fake News?

Fake News is a recent term for an old phenomenon: misinformation. These published articles are designed to look like news, spread virally, and draw on people's strong emotions. People may publish misinformation for a variety of reasons, including:

  • political gain
  • advertising revenue
  • pulling a prank
  • commenting on politics or culture (satire)

Fake News has become much more prevalent and damaging due to the spread of social media and our reliance on internet sources. Some politicians may use the term "fake news" to disparage reputable news sources that report unflattering information - this is not the type of fake news covered in this guide. Instead, it focuses on misinformation, disinformation, and disreputable information sources.This guide will help you tell fact from fiction, and give you the skills to navigate the world of information.


Statistic: Perceived accuracy of fake news headlines in the United States as of December 2016 | Statista
Find more statistics at Statista Statistic: Distribution of traffic sources for fake news in the United States in 2017 | Statista
Find more statistics at Statista

Current News on the Topic of Fake News



Fake News: A Visual


Here's a quick visual for you. Fake news can be more or less biased toward a particular ideology or belief, and accurate news can be written either with a bias or not. You want to rely on information that's both accurate, and unbiased.

PolitiFact Truth-O-Meter

Contact Us!

Want some help identifying reliable sources? Contact a librarian!


Phone: (207) 581-1673

Chat: During Reference hours, click "Have a Question?" at the bottom of any library webpage

In-Person: Visit the Help Desk on the first floor of Fogler Library

Text: Text the word BEAR to 66746, then send your question

You can also set up a reference appointment with your subject librarian. To find out who it is and how to contact them, visit our list of Subject Specialists.


Jen Bonnet
5729 Fogler Library
University of Maine
Orono, ME 04469-5729
(207) 581-3611


Significant contributions to this guide were made by Ann Dyer.

5729 Fogler Library · University of Maine · Orono, ME 04469-5729 ; (207) 581-1673

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