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Fake News

How does Fake News work?

10 Types of Misleading News

Beyond Fake News: 10 Types of Misleading News


  • adopted by governments, corporations and non-profits to manage attitudes, values and knowledge
  • appeals to emotion
  • can be beneficial or harmful


  • ideological and includes interpretation of facts but may claim to be impartial
  • privileges facts that conform to the narrative whilst forgoing others
  • emotional and passionate language


  • eye catching, sensational headlines designed to distract
  • often misleading and content may not reflect headline
  • drives ad revenue

conspiracy theory

  • tries to explain simply complex realities as response to fear or uncertainty
  • not falsifiable and evidence that refutes the conspiracy is regarded as further proof of the conspiracy
  • rejects experts and authority

sponsored content

  • advertising made to look like editorial
  • potential conflict of interest for genuine news organizations
  • consumers might not identify content as advertising if it is not clearly labeled


  • purveyors of greenwashing, miracle cures, anti-vaccination and climate change denial
  • misrepresents real scientific studies with exaggerated or false claims
  • often contradicts experts

satire and hoax

  • social commentary or humor
  • varies widely in quality and intended meaning may not be apparent
  • can embarrass people who confuse the content as true


  • includes a mix of factual, false or partly false content
  • intention can be to inform but author may not be aware the content is false
  • false attributions, doctored content and misleading headlines


  • established news organizations sometimes make mistakes
  • mistakes can hurt the brand, offend or result in litigation
  • reputable orgs publish apologies


  • entirely fabricated content spread intentionally to disinform
  • guerrilla marketing tactics, bots, comments and counterfeit branding
  • motivated by ad revenue, political influence or both


false attribution

  • authentic images, video or quotes are attributed to the wrong events or person


  • websites and Twitter accounts that pose as a well-known brand or person


  • content does not represent what the headline and captions suggest

doctored content

  • content, such as statistics, graphs, photos and video have been modified or doctored