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Culture and Wellbeing: Fake News

Guide to support events in the Library, College and the wider environment.
About Fake News
Fake News can be stories which are sensationalised, biased or untrue.
The increase in news consumption via mobile devices has seen the amount of Fake News increase, but it is nothing new and examples can be found throughout history.
Fake News can be categorised as Fabrication, Disinformation, Misinformation, and Propaganda.
Recent examples of Fake News
Recent examples of Fake News include stories denying the invasion of Ukraine, vaccinations being used to implant a microchip, or undermining the seriousness of global warming. In all cases you can find more reliable sources to challenge these stories.
Use Fact Checking Sites
History of Fake News
Fake News is not a new thing, it has been around as long as there has been printing and mass media.
Some famous examples include:
Great Moon Hoax
In 1835 newspaper the New York Sun claimed that life on the Moon had been discovered.
These discoveries were falsely attributed to a well known astronomer of the time, Sir John Herschel.
After successfully aquiring new subscribers to their newspaper, the paper then admitted that the story had been a hoax.
The Cottingley Fairies
In 1917 Elsie Wright and Frances Griffiths claimed to have photographed fairies in Cottingley, near Bradford.
Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, creator of Sherlock Holmes. used them in an article he had written for The Strand Magazine.
It was not until the 1980s that the cousins admited they had faked them by cutting pictures out of books and using pins to attach them to trees.
The Hitler Diaries
In 1983 German magazine Stern and the Sunday Times payed nearly £4 million for the diaries of Adolf Hitler and had them verified by a history professor.
Academics authorising the documents had been misled by Stern journalists who had not been totally honest about the extent of chemical testing which had been done on the documents.
Subsequently, following rigorous forensic analysis which had not been performed previously, they were revealed to be fakes.
When Greeks Flew Kites
Listen to this BBC programe programme from 2019 in which Sarah Dunant explores the history of fake history.
Terms to be aware of
Mainly made up sensational information which is presented as being authentic information.
This could be the spreading of information about current events which are designed to worry or scare people.
Information, often biased, exaggerated or false, that is shared to mislead often using a polarised point of view.
This could be used to gain support by presenting misinformation about a subject to confuse people and win over their support.
False information that could deceive those reading it which has been shared with the deliberate intent in doing so.
This is when someone uses misleading stories, information or images on purpose, fully aware that the information is false or has been maliciously manipulated.
False information that could deceive those reading it which has been shared unintentionally.
This is generally rumour and gossip, someone sharing unverified stories, information or images without understanding that they are eityher misleading or untrue.
A hoax is the intentional use of misinformation with the express intention of deceiving people.
This could be telling someone a lie with the intent of getting them to act in a certain way.
Deep fakes
These are videos which have been manipulated to make it look like someone is doing or saying something they have not.
This could be the creation of a video featuring a person saying something which would contrardict what you would expect them to in order to discredit them.