Beware the Infographic!
If you frequently use social media, there is a good chance you've seen something like this chart that claims to distinguish quality news sources from fake ones.
These do not help to stop the spread of fake news.
The reason is something called confirmation bias. Confirmation bias is the tendency to believe information is credible if it conforms to the reader’s/viewer’s existing belief system, or not credible if it does not conform. So, frequent consumers of sources that this graphic claims are untrustworthy will often dismiss it entirely, and consumers of those sources it praises will often ignore the unscientific nature of the work.
It is important to remember that broad characterizations and hard and fast rules won't solve the fake news problem.
So what should we do?
Instead of going with a "gut feeling," or your personal view of the validity of a source, try engaging with the source critically. When looking at an information source, try asking yourself the Five W's.
Olin, J. (2016, December 6). Letters to a Young Librarian: Information Literacy as Liberation.
What other steps can we take?
When examining a source online, there are a few other steps you should take. It may seem complicated, but after doing them for a while, they start to become second nature:
Ridout, B. (n.d.). Fake News: How to Fact Check.