Staying Informed: Trusted Sources

Dec. 5, 2023

We encounter information about local, national, and global news events each day. Friends, family, news outlets, and social media pages keep us up to date on all of the latest news, but how well do you trust your information sources? Not all information is complete or true. In recent years, misinformation and disinformation have become very important issues, especially during times of uncertainty. The popularity of social media makes it easy for false information to spread, which blocks one's ability to make informed decisions


The most harmful type of false information is disinformation. This is when a source purposely reports false information or intentionally misstates factual information to mislead the audience. Disinformation is done with the intent to lead the audience astray, so always think critically about what you see or hear, especially online. 


Important Terms Regarding False Information

Misinformation: accidentally reporting false or inaccurate information; not intended to mislead

Disinformation: intentionally reporting false information; done intentionally to harm and mislead 

Fake News: intentionally reporting false news-based information; done intentionally to harm and mislead

The City University of New York School of Journalism names some characteristics of “fake news” sources to be wary of: 

  • The source shares fake or misleading websites that rely on outrage for views and clicks. These sources may rely on clickbait, a false advertisement designed to get you to click on a link.  
  • The source spreads unreliable information or presents opinions as news. Opinions are not required to be based on facts or knowledge, so always double-check the information so you can form your own opinion on the topic.
  • The source intentionally shares fake news or content to be comedic or satirical. It can be funny or thought-provoking if you understand the joke, but it can also be taken literally by some and shared as news. 



There are many anti-disinformation resources available online that can help detect fake stories so you can think critically about news and information. 


  1. Artificial Intelligence (AI) and deepfake technology allow users to create images and even videos of people that look and sound quite realistic. It can be very difficult to tell if what you are looking at is a “real” image, but TinEye allows you to upload an image or a URL to conduct a reverse image search to determine its origin. Metadata 2 Go allows you to view the metadata for text, images, videos, other files. 
  2. Lead Stories and Snopes Fact Check both offer fact-checked articles on popular news topics. 
  3. Enter a Twitter handle on Botometer to determine the likelihood of it being a bot. Bots are accounts that are programmed by software to like, share, and follow accounts. 
  4. If you want more information on how to spot fake news, check out this article with tips for spotting fake stories.