Our Fabricated News Experiment

Data last updated: 14 April 2017

This exploration into “fake news” is part of a larger undertaking to understand erroneous or misleading information within news and social media environments. Our experiment seeks to clarify the concept and to explore its global dimension.

Towards clarification

Understandings of “fake news” can vary widely. We are initially focusing our effort on suspected cases of fabricated news. We define fabricated news as instances in which false information is passed off as factual, either on media outlets or on social media. We are focused, for the purpose of this experiment, on online presences that present themselves as legitimate sources of news. These cases include works by professional journalists and nonprofessionals, and for the most part, they raise questions about intentional deception.

Our categories – thanks to our partners at FirstDraftNews.com for their original inspiration – include:

These categories are a work in progress. We will update them as prompted by our review of different cases. Exploring the dimensions of “fake news,” which people understand in different ways, is helpful to our examination of other related news problems. We'll use the opportunity to try and clarify issues such as echo chamberspropaganda, or disinformation as well.

The global dimension
We know that “fake news” is a global problem, which is why the Global Voices Community is collecting cases of fabricated information in as many countries as possible. You can see our progress here:

The effects of “fake news” are difficult to verify with confidence, given that it exists simultaneously with other problems around accuracy, bias, and agenda setting conflicts. As we collect data and better define our questions, we'll explore data analysis tools in the attempt to find answers.

Over the next year, the Global Voices community will contribute to this experiment by verifying, analyzing, and sharing these cases with the public..

For further reading about false and fabricated news, see:

Volunteers interested in participating in our project are welcome to contact the NewsFrames team at newsframes [at] globalvoices [dot] org.