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Misinformation & Fake News

Online platforms have made it easier for anyone to share information.

We now get our news in many different ways, we might read a story on Snapchat, see it on Tiktok, read a post from our favourite influencer, or watch a YouTube video about a news topic. Having all these different types of sources makes it even easier for people to spread misinformation and disinformation, and it can be difficult to determine whether something is real or false.

Misinformation is the act of unintentionally sharing misleading or inaccurate information by accident without the intent to cause harm. For example, sharing inaccurate photos, quotes or dates online that you believe were true.

Disinformation is the act of intentionally sharing false information to trick someone into believing something that isn’t true. For example, fabricated news stories and political propaganda used to influence or change people’s opinion. It can also include online scams where criminals use online platforms to trick someone into sharing personal data like bank details or passwords.

What you need to know

Misinformation and disinformation can spread on most online platforms that have communication tools. This includes social media and video-sharing platforms, games, forums, comment sections, email and messaging apps. 

Spreading misinformation and fake news can be harmful. It can also be confusing and upsetting to read stories which relate to the safety of others or ourselves, such as war or health. That’s why it’s important we know how to identify fake news and misinformation so we can help to stop it spreading further. 

Here are some tips:

Make sure its genuine.

If you see something online that you think may be misinformation or fake news then don’t share it. If you see something upsetting then don’t share, instead report it and delete.

Do your research.

Does it come from a reliable and trustworthy source? Check different sources like other news sources or factchecking website such as Full-Fact.

Check images and videos.

They can be easily altered or shared from unrelated events without context. Be careful about sharing misinformation.

Keep it private.

Do not give out private information (such as bank details or passwords), reply to text messages, download attachments or click on any links in emails if you’re not sure they’re genuine.


Report any misleading websites, emails, phone numbers, phone calls or text messages you think may be suspicious.

Get Support

Police Service of Northern Ireland

If someone or something is making you feel scared, threatened or distressed, report it to the police by calling 101 or 999 in an emergency.

Trusted Adults

If you are worried or concerned about something, please make sure you speak to an adult you trust.


If you require help and support in confidence, you can call Childline free on 0800 1111, or visit the website.


If you are in distress or despair and need someone to talk to, you can call lifeline on 0808 808 8000, or visit the website.

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