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CSEM — Constructing a Good, Sustainable Life (Narvaez)

Fake News Defined

For the purpose of this class:

Fake News A type of hoax or deliberate spread of misinformation, be it via the traditional news media or via social media, with the intent to mislead in order to gain financially or politically.

Strategies #1-#4

  • Check for previous work: Look around to see if someone else has already fact-checked the claim or provided a synthesis of research.
  • Go upstream to the source: Go “upstream” to the source of the claim. Most web content is not original. Get to the original source to understand the trustworthiness of the information.
  • Read laterally: Read laterally.[1] Once you get to the source of a claim, read what other people say about the source (publication, author, etc.). The truth is in the network.
  • Circle back: If you get lost, or hit dead ends, or find yourself going down an increasingly confusing rabbit hole, back up and start over knowing what you know now. You’re likely to take a more informed path with different search terms and better decisions.

Caulfield, M. (2017). Four Strategies. In Web Literacy for Student Fact-Checkers. Retrieved from

Learn how to reverse search in under 2 minutes

Caulfield, M. (2017, 5 January). How to Find an Eagle Attack. Retrieved from

Allain, R. (2014, 3 October). The Physics of fake videos. Science. Retrieved from

Tips & Tricks

In Chrome:

  1. Google text search:
    1. a. highlight text;
    2. b. right click (control click on a Mac)
    3. c. choose option: search Google [for highlighted text]
    4. d. scan results [urls, not titles]
  2. Google reverse image search:
    1. a. hover cursor over photo
    2. b. right click (control click on a Mac)
    3. c. context menu pops up
    4. d. choose option: "Search Google for image"
  3. Search images in Twitter:
    1. a. just follow the links [usually the last part of a tweet, e.g,]
  4. Filter by time and place:
    1. a. use local sources, e.g., local newspapers, local news broadcasts [place]
    2. b. click tools; use time dropdown; select "custom range" [time] for viral photos, 2009-2010 is a good place to start
  5. Use WHOIS for domain searches
    1. use WHOIS search box
    2. use command line: e.g.,
  6. Syntax to search what others say about a site:
  7. Syntax for DuckDuckGo to search fact-checking sites-- key

More Google search shortcuts

Be a Google Expert

Refine your web search using these shortcuts adapted from

What do you want to do?


Sample Search

Find an exact match

“ “

“University of Notre Dame”

Exclude search terms



Include wildcards


"why * make the best pets"

Combine searches


"cats OR dogs are the best"

Search within a site



Search within a domain


Spanish lesson site:edu

Search for related sites


Get details about a site


See a cached version of a site


Search within a range


“I own 1..10 cats”

Search for a file type


South bend population filetype:pdf

Search social media



Search hashtags



Search for a price


laptop $200

Search within URLs


best pets inurl:cats

Search in page titles


best pets intitle:dogs

Search for words within a range


tornado AROUND(3) central illinois

Advanced search:

Advanced image search:

Other fun Google search tools :

Google Scholar

Google Books

Google News

Google Patents

Google Ngram

Google Trends

Browser Plug-ins

B.S. Detector (Chrome, Firefox, Safari)

Data Selfie

Fake News Alert (Chrome)

This is Fake (Chrome, for Facebook feed)


DuckDuckGo the search engine that doesn't track you.

Google reverse image search

Internet Archive Wayback Machine


TinEye a reverse image search engine

WHOIS "is a query and response protocol that is widely used for querying databases that store the registered users or assignees of an Internet resource."

Wolfram Alpha a computational knowledge engine (allows weather checking from a particular date)

Youtube DataViewer  a tool to extract hidden data from videos hosted on YouTube


congress-edits a bot that tweets anonymous Wikipedia edits that are made from IP addresses in the US Congress.

Imposter Buster a Twitter bot that exposes racist trolls impersonating Jews and other minorities.