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"Fake News," Misinformation & Disinformation

How to identify (and avoid) false information.

Confirmation bias

A form of bias that impacts interaction with misinformation is confirmation bias. This is "the tendency to search for or interpret information in a way that confirms one’s preconceptions" (Bear, 2016). When information aligns with our own opinions or experiences, we're more likely to interact with it.

Learn more about confirmation bias in the video below.

Algorithmic bias and filter bubbles

Search engine algorithms are sequenced formulas that determine the results you see when you search for something. These algorithms are complex: they take into account not only your search terms and the assumed relevance of sources related to those terms, but also things like your past searches, personal preferences, and location; what other people have searched for and clicked on; and in some cases if a company has paid for their results to show up sooner.

The video below gives a quick overview of how algorithmic bias can influence what information you get using different online platforms.


The Filter Bubble is Eli Pariser's theory that personalization on websites and social media we use creates a filter bubble sending us only information, news, and suggestions that confirm our views and likes -- distancing us from other information. View the video below to learn more.

Investigate you own biases

Confirmation bias illustrates that we all have have our own perspectives and biases, which are influenced by own unique backgrounds and experiences. Being aware of your own biases can help you evaluate sources, arguments, and your own ideas more critically. Consider the strategies for minimizing bias that the journalists share in the video below.

Tools to help detect bias