How to spot fake news

Read some tips for spotting fake news to practise and improve your reading skills.

Do the preparation task first. Then read the text and do the exercises.

Reading text

Every time you're online, you are bombarded by pictures, articles, links and videos trying to tell their story. Unfortunately, not all of these stories are true. Sometimes they want you to click on another story or advertisement at their own site, other times they want to upset people for political reasons. These days it's so easy to share information. These stories circulate quickly, and the result is … fake news.

There is a range of fake news: from crazy stories which people easily recognise to more subtle types of misinformation. Experts in media studies and online psychology have been examining the fake news phenomenon. Read these tips, and don't get fooled!

1. Check the source

Look at the website where the story comes from. Does it look real? Is the text well written? Are there a variety of other stories or is it just one story? Fake news websites often use addresses that sound like real newspapers, but don't have many real stories about other topics. If you aren't sure, click on the 'About' page and look for a clear description of the organisation.

2. Watch out for fake photos

Many fake news stories use images that are Photoshopped or taken from an unrelated site. Sometimes, if you just look closely at an image, you can see if it has been changed. Or use a tool like Google Reverse Image search. It will show you if the same image has been used in other contexts.

3. Check the story is in other places

Look to see if the story you are reading is on other news sites that you know and trust. If you do find it on many other sites, then it probably isn't fake (although there are some exceptions), as many big news organisations try to check their sources before they publish a story. 

4. Look for other signs

There are other techniques that fake news uses. These include using ALL CAPS and lots of ads that pop up when you click on a link. Also, think about how the story makes you feel. If the news story makes you angry, it's probably designed to make you angry.

If you know these things about online news, and can apply them in your everyday life, then you have the control over what to read, what to believe and most importantly what to share. If you find a news story that you know is fake, the most important advice is: don't share it!

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Worksheet62.91 KB

Language level

B1 English level (intermediate)

Submitted by jyoti Chaudhary on Mon, 30/05/2022 - 12:47


Have you ever read a fake news story online? Are you worried about this problem?
when I was 20 years old. I had read a lot of fake news and I was extremely scared but now I can't see any kind of fake news. I just watch the news on BBC. BBC is the best news platform on youtube.

Submitted by JANCYMARY on Tue, 17/05/2022 - 16:36




Thanks for your comment but next time please don't write in all capitals. Thanks :)


The LearnEnglish Team

Submitted by ChanEzra on Sat, 19/03/2022 - 04:54


Howdy! It's me,Chan!!!
Nowadays, There are a lot of fake informations and spams that would make you upset and steal you kindness from being fake on internet.We should know how to avoid the false ones and read only useful articles. So, I think that this article is not only helpful but also interesting.I hope i can read more useful articles like this.

Submitted by Stela Stoycheva on Tue, 16/11/2021 - 13:16


I think we can meet everywhere fake news in our live- in internet, at Tv program, newspapers, verbally everyone talking about something which heard and don`t know is it true or false. Even now about COVID vaccination and people against that... Why in some country is decrease percentage of people which want to vaccinate, because of the fake news which are around us... Even have so many examples which I can present...
That title been interesting for me, as many others. I love to comment different titles and I little bit to prepare for the writing part in IELTS :)

Submitted by LamVanPhuong on Sat, 06/11/2021 - 15:19


actually i'm not sure i have ever read a fake new but it's really worrisome problem, everyone should be careful with it.

Submitted by Suraj paliwal on Sun, 17/10/2021 - 17:31


Yes, I was read lots of fake news when I was always online. I spent many hours on social media. But in this time I'm not spend time with social media. I uninstalled all social media app s.

Submitted by Minigolf on Fri, 08/10/2021 - 17:36


Thank you for sharing your ideas with us! Here is my comment to your text. Yes, i have some experience with fake news. Some time ago, me and my friends searched in the internet for a new computer. At the time, all mechanical parts are very expenisive, on the website we were lokking for not. Luckily we have read some comments before we bought one. That would have been a disaster. I like, that you share this text with us. It helps a lot. Not only for people who feel unsafe in the internet. Also for people reading newspaper. That was helpful

Submitted by Gyatso on Fri, 08/10/2021 - 17:33


A lot of fake news stories also are poorly edited. They often have grammatical errors, as well as punctuation and spelling mistakes.

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Submitted by iEdd on Wed, 21/07/2021 - 00:01

Yes, I have. But I started in the nearly past to not share them. Social media and chatting apps are excellent sources of that. The worrst I could see was how some of my relatives believe that. I know tha case of my uncle who was afrid of get vaccinated against Covid-19, when he is a university proffessor. I could not believe that. Another case I have preceived is the political fake news. Far right is using it every time with most frequency and this is a harm for democracy. Excellent article and thanks for sharing.

Submitted by GiulianaAndy on Wed, 23/06/2021 - 21:24

Yes, I have. I read a fake news story last year. It was about the source of covid-19; this illness was created by a development government to do the third word war, and suddenly I thought "That's fake news story". Nobody can talk about the source of the outbreak covid-19 because it has no sense (at least for me; it is my personal opinion)

Submitted by Paula Bermúdez… on Wed, 09/06/2021 - 21:07

Yes, sure. Nowadays, it’s quite normal to read fake news, which is like a virus because it spreads all over the world. I considered is an unsafe situation due you don’t know if the information that you are reading is completely real, and that could be dangerous. For that reason, it’s important read the news in a good and honest source.

Submitted by TIa vinaka on Fri, 09/04/2021 - 02:25

Yes I have found a lot of fake news or information on SNS or websites. when I was young I usually believed what they said but getting old, I came to know how to recognize fake news and I also stopped using SNS so much that I I don't need to see a lot of information of anything. For myself I don't worried it but For the world it's big problem. hopefully things will be improved.

Submitted by ahmad 920 on Sun, 07/03/2021 - 14:38

I have been reading fake news a lot. Every day people share fakes news on social media and sometimes we can't recognize which it is true . The article have gave us important advices.

Submitted by Abrarhussain on Wed, 17/02/2021 - 08:11

Yes, some times I read so many fake news and stories on social media . The story is not true and completely fake.The fake story and mews makes me angry, sad and upset. People who make these fake news stories must avoid and stop to create tension of human lives.

Submitted by German on Wed, 17/02/2021 - 02:34

Online exists so many fake news now. I have read fake news and I have thought that are real news because they seem real. I think that we have to be alert and ever to search the rela sources of the news.

Submitted by Andrea Valencia on Sun, 14/02/2021 - 18:09

Yes, I have read a lot of fake news, because nowadays, organizations, people, politicians are looking for people to believe them, but there are many of them who lie.
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Submitted by Jack Milgram on Fri, 12/02/2021 - 06:26

There is so much fake news that I usually double-check each one. It would be great to know how to fight against anything fake. Any ideas?

Submitted by Dmytro on Tue, 02/02/2021 - 10:06

I find fake news a big problem that shapes the opinion of billions. Unfortunately, I believe, people who cannot distinguish fake news from real ones are not able to dig deeper. In the best-case scenario, they are just excessively trusting. As for me, it's disgusting to acknowledge that if fake news is existing, it is "demanded" for those who are quick to believe and quick to judge. Fake news like junk food, accessible, affordable, not good for mental health but, at the same time, very popular.

Submitted by Yalincocuuk on Fri, 29/01/2021 - 00:12

Nowadays, social media addicts try to do everything to get lots of interaction. Sharing fake things like screen shots of fake textings etc is an easy way to be famous in Twitter for 15 minutes!

Submitted by Asni on Thu, 28/01/2021 - 00:11

It is common knowledge that, thanks to the Internet especially the social media, information and news spread very quickly and videos go viral in the blink of an eye. Unfortunately, the situation got out of hand, and users are victims of a lot of misinformation on a daily basis. Actually, I'm one of those users and I read and watch fake news everyday, many times I am able to distinguish them from true ones, but sometimes I just get fooled. My strategy is to not spread any kind of information unless I'm sure at 100% it is true. Otherwise, I just keep it for myself and if I feel curious about it, I try to look for further and more detailed information.

Submitted by amir979797 on Sat, 16/01/2021 - 20:32

who is the author?..sorry for the assignment

Hello amir979797,

I'm afraid I don't know the author of this particular text. We have a team of staff writers and also commission texts from other writers.



The LearnEnglish Team

Submitted by Zhanerke on Thu, 07/01/2021 - 09:30

I think there were many fake news about coronavirus. One of it tells us that Bill Gates came up with this pandemic because he wants to chip people over the world and control their minds. Adults really believed in this version and shared it to all relatives and friends on Whatsapp chats.

Submitted by Elham Barakat on Thu, 07/01/2021 - 05:28

Every day or particularly every second, this fake news pops up in front of us. Many times I know it's fake from that I can't believe that happens. I ensure from other sites, or if I read it many times and from different sites. It is also trusted websites to ensure this information. I also don't share any news easily.

Submitted by Thinthinmyoe on Thu, 31/12/2020 - 07:02

I never used to read the fake news.These are gribble and moody.

Submitted by khalidait on Thu, 24/12/2020 - 15:11

i dont have a problem with that because i use to see these fake news on social media like Facebook or other platforms , because i dont trust and care about it and i dont have to time to check if i was true or not , however we have to consider about this phenomenon ant try to stop it by dont share it with others

Submitted by TalhaÖzkan on Mon, 07/12/2020 - 19:29

I have been seeing fake news story about Covid-19 on the internet for one hour, but thanks to talat, I am reading truth and current news on the BBC.
Hey TalhaÖzkan!! Well, I recommend you and everyone who sees your comment so as not to search for news on unknown websites. I recommend watching only that kind of "I suggested all the news" news on websites of recognized news channels like BBC, CNN, and all those major news companies. Also report these websites that recognize that they have some kind of fake news!! This would help many people to be well informed what is almost crucial today, I would even dare to say that for our mental well-being. -Love, Ana

Submitted by DIỄM PHÚC on Mon, 07/12/2020 - 01:31

In social life, fake news will inevitably appear everywhere so I think people should clearly choice the story to read, support newspapers, magazines about the truth

Submitted by Ehsan on Wed, 02/12/2020 - 14:04

Yes, I have. Sure, yes, they often have specific goals and usually have a negative impact on our lives.

Submitted by Lilly098 on Tue, 27/10/2020 - 17:50

I have noticed that there are plenty fake news to manipulate people. One of my friends was a victim of fake news. Person, who hated her, made up fake story with personal information on Facebook. Many people who did not the person nor my friend shared the post without any resources. It spread more than 500 shares in a day. She got depressed and still threatened by fear. Sharing a post does not cost time, but it could hurt someone. I am very concerning about this problem. We should get educated more about social media. It is the most important for us to look for a source before sharing or commenting.

Submitted by habibao.medo on Sat, 24/10/2020 - 09:35

for real i don't remember reading any fake stories but i think this problem is full of dangerous but i really don't care about it since i don't find the fake news at my social media or something
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Submitted by Aghaton on Thu, 22/10/2020 - 09:03

Have you ever read a fake news story online? Are you worried about this problem? Actually, the answer is yes.I have come across to this problem for some time. A very annoying example is when some very messages pop up while I am in my email text box that seems so real and they are not really of course. I may admit that I have been the victim of this problem for many years. Almost got scammed of the lottery winning ticket something that I had never done (think of doing in my life) while surfing for information .
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Submitted by danisep on Tue, 22/09/2020 - 03:22

My mom always share fake news that other people sent her, I going to share these tips with her. I read news on twitter from big organisations, but when I am interested in a specific news I read both sides of that news for example what say the blue newspaper or what say the other part to find the balance and create a better opinion.
One of the best comment i have ever seen on this site.Well done!

Submitted by katyatorres on Tue, 08/09/2020 - 05:12

It is not usual for me to see false news but when I see them I easily fall into them, because I easily believe what is said there, of course it is worrying for me because I fall into their trap quickly.

Submitted by Roblox on Mon, 07/09/2020 - 20:36

I have read fake news. It doesn't bother me much because I am not interested in politics.

Submitted by mony13246 on Tue, 25/08/2020 - 14:39

We should be careful about what we share on social media, we have a lot of fake news every day.

Submitted by popo1011 on Tue, 25/08/2020 - 06:24

I have seen so many Fake news on social medias and different websites. as far as I could I have never released this news.

Submitted by Nobu1230 on Mon, 10/08/2020 - 08:47

I've never seen fake news online.I'm not willing to see SNS and other information resources online.My resoure is official site and reliable site only.

Submitted by Risa on Thu, 06/08/2020 - 15:42

I have ever read some fake news and it made me confuse. I know that every news article may not be a fact, but I sometimes accept online news too easily. So, I 'm trying to search a lot of online news article. I think not only online news but also TV news is convey fake news and information, because it's possible to do media manipulation. We should take a lot of information from some kinds of media like newspaper, radio, internet, SNS and TV. Then, we think the information that we need the most. Also, it is important to have own opinion and thought. I still think about how to get along media and want to be careful. 
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Submitted by Hennadii on Tue, 04/08/2020 - 12:27

I read a lot of fake news recently. Sadly but my motherland became a victim of another country. Many people have died (and still die) trying to protect our country from occupants. Of course, such a situation impossible without tons of fake news. And we have them tons of tons. Some of them look like the real ones and many people in my country believe in them which makes the situation even worse. Our last election has also been covered with the mud of fake news. Most of them were produced in our enemy-country and it made a huge impact on the election's result. Sadly, but lots of people in my motherland can't separate the fake news from the real information.

Submitted by NANAKA on Mon, 03/08/2020 - 09:00

Yes, I have read some fake news stories online and take it too seriously. These days, I saw that some shops are badly affected by false rumors of people infected with COVID-19. It's impossible to crack down on everything people post online.When did Japanese people become so stupid? One should exercise caution when sharing information on the internet. Once you upload something on the internet, you can't completely delete it. Don't believe everything on the internet. Think in a calm manner, or else you'll make a mistake. Take care!!

Submitted by mahiro on Mon, 03/08/2020 - 05:10

I often fooled by fake news. I think that say opinion to easy in the internet. I think that this is bad thing and good thing. We can get information in a variety of ways. For example, there are instagram, twitter, and facebook. Of course, we can get information on TV and in the newspapers. We believe too much in the media. Because we don't research to face news and tend to make easy choices. We have to research a source of information. And I believe that this is a countermeasure. I hope you'll try it too.

Submitted by IKEDA on Sat, 01/08/2020 - 07:52

I've been reading a lot of fake news on social media, such as Twitter or Facebook, from terrible fake ones to humorous ones. As the fake news has more impact on societies increasingly compared to before, we have to be more careful about that. It could hurt crucially innocent people or societies by misunderstanding.
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Submitted by Fredd on Thu, 23/07/2020 - 18:29

Nowadays is easy to find fake news especially in Apps like Fb. Fake news bombard us everyday I believe that the best way to ignore this kind of things is looking for pages that can provided us useful information.

Submitted by ryota on Sun, 12/07/2020 - 11:43

I have read some fake news story online. Fake news has a great influence power. Sometimes, I have been deceived by fake news. For example, when it was disaster, news that zoo escape from the zoo came up on SNS. This news spread very quickly and made people uneasy. Recently, there was news that toilet paper couldn't be produced due to the influence of COVID-19. Many people buy a lot of toilet paper and many stores have run out of toilet paper. Later, both of these news find to be fake news. I'm worried about that fake news will trick many people from now on. Fake news confuses people. I think it is important to determine right news.