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2017's word of the year

'Fake news' has become the word of 2017, but do you know what it means?

Before you read about fake news:

1. Do you know what fake news is? Can you think of any examples?

2. Can you guess how the words below relate to fake news and how they might be used in the blog post. Check any words you don’t know in a dictionary.


watch out
(phrasal verb)


Now read the blog post below and see if your predictions were correct.


Students in the library

It’s not unusual that news stories exaggerate the truth. However, these days, we access a lot of our news stories through social media, and because of this, real and fake news stories are presented in similar ways. This means that it’s more difficult to tell the difference between what is genuine and false news.

A lot of fake news looks misleadingly like real news; some websites claim to be satirical, using sensational stories - which could almost be real, to create humour. Some websites seem to start off as satirical, but often end up turning into fake news sites. The more believable the story, the more likely it is to be shared, resulting in profits from advertising. This, then encourages people to continue creating fake news websites. As the number of fake news websites increase, it gets even more difficult to distinguish between real, and fake news.

In fact, fake news has become the word of 2017 and made it into the Collins English Dictionary:

'false, often sensational, information disseminated under the guise of news reporting'

We can simplify this to:

Fake news (noun)

This is false news which is often shocking or sensational. This news will try to sell itself as or present itself as real news.

So watch out for fake news! Question the sources, and make sure that you approach everything with a critical eye!

Students discussing in the library

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