Can You Spot Fake News?

person reading the daily fake news newspaper sitting on gray couch
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Fake news is everywhere, it seems. Such chicanery succeeds because many of us don’t have tools to help us tell the difference. Peter Facione, in his article “Ten Ways To Spot Fake News,” outlines a Credibility Test, consisting of 10 yes/no questions that can signal a dubious source. I am abbreviating his ideas here, but you can find the article on his blog:  Is the source an expert on the topic being discussed?

2.  Is the source relying on firsthand experience?

3.  Is the source speaking on the right topic?

4.  Is the source’s knowledge up-to-date?

5.  Can the source explain the basis for their claim?

6.  Is the source truthful?

7.  Is the source unbiased?

8.  Is the source free of conflicts of interest?

9.  Is the source speaking freely?

10.   Is the source mentally stable?

Facione cautions everyone to be skeptical all the time and with every claim. “[D]emand full explanations, reasons, and evidence,” says Facione, and be “suspicious of messages…from people with something to gain by deceiving us,” especially before passing it on to others.

You owe it to our democracy!

Just so you know, Peter Facione has written a lot of material about critical thinking, good stuff too. It’s worth a trip to his blog, or, if you’re so inclined, go to, sign up (free) and get access to all his and others’ papers on critical thinking.

Published by Nancy Burkhalter

I am in love with words. Trained as a linguist, journalist and researcher, I write, teach writing, and research everything about writing, especially how writing aids critical thinking. I've taught around the world, including three years in Kazakhstan, and a year each in Russia, Saudi Arabia, and Germany.

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