Skip to Main Content
It looks like you're using Internet Explorer 11 or older. This website works best with modern browsers such as the latest versions of Chrome, Firefox, Safari, and Edge. If you continue with this browser, you may see unexpected results.
Montana State University - Home Montana State University Library - Home Ask the Library

Library Image and Infographic Descriptions

What Makes a News Story Fake?

What makes a news story fake?

Four quick ways to identify a fake story are:

It can’t be verified.  A real story cites or links to its sources. A fake article has no links or only links to articles on its website, but no outside sources.

It appeals to emotions.  If readers are emotional, they won’t do any fact-checking.  A fake article will appeal to emotions (angry, afraid, happy) inciting readers to react, not think. 

Who is the author? Real articles list the author. If there is no author listed for a news article, that’s a poor sign.  If there is an author, a quick search will tell you if they are a real person. 

Everyone reports. If a story is real, it is reported by news sources everywhere. Fake news stories can’t be found on other new sites.