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.

Fake News

Guide developed by HACC Librarians with input from HACC Communications and English Faculty

Types of Fake News

Imposter News Sites

This web site is designed to look  legitimate, and incorporates some facts into its stories, but the articles are false. They are an attempt to convince readers to pass the news on as if it were true. These fake news sites get revenue from the ads you see on the page.

Real News Right Now


Satire websites are not really "fake news". These sites that may be topical, but the stories are not real. They are meant to be humorous, not to deceive the reader.

The Onion


Clickbait and Hoaxes

These websites also have bits of true stories but insinuate and make up other details to create an emotional response, typically anger or fear. Most of these are conspiratorial in nature, are very unreliable, and frequently shared on social media.  The stories often feature outrageous headlines in all capital letters.

The Daily Sheeple


The Seven Commandments of Fake News

Terms Associated with Fake News Issue

"Alternative facts" - According to the Merriam-Webster Dictionary, “a fact is a piece of information presented as having objective reality," and alternative means “offering or expressing a choice.” Putting these two words together is problematic because of the implication that there can be multiple “objective realities” from which people can choose instead of just one, true reality.

Bias - "A preference or an inclination, especially one that inhibits impartial judgment."

Clickbait - "(On the Internet) content whose main purpose is to attract attention and encourage visitors to click on a link to a particular web page."

Confirmation bias - "The tendency to seek and interpret information that confirms existing beliefs."

Conspiracy theories - "Conspiracy theories are sets of often erroneous beliefs that people use to explain malevolent and/ or unlawful acts that are perceived to be directed by and in favor of a small and powerful group that works in secret against a larger group of unwitting victims."

Disinformation - "False information that is intended to mislead, especially propaganda issued by a government organization to a rival power or the media."

Echo chamber - "Mainstreaming ideological effect in which a group worldview is reinforced through continual circulation amongst like-minded people."

"Fake News" - "News articles that are intentionally and verifiably false, and could mislead readers...our definition includes intentionally fabricated news also includes many articles that originate on satirical websites but could be misunderstood as factual, especially when viewed in isolation on Twitter or Facebook feeds."

Filter bubble - "Phenomenon whereby the ideological perspectives of internet users are reinforced as a result of the selective algorithmic tailoring of search engine results to individual users."

Misinformation - "The dissemination of false information, either knowing it to be false (see disinformation), or unknowingly".

Parody - "Consists of mocking a style of literary production through an exaggerated imitation."

Post-truth - "Relating to or denoting circumstances in which objective facts are less influential in shaping public opinion than appeals to emotion and personal belief."

Satire - The use of humor, irony, and exaggeration to ridicule a subject, often a politician.

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