Fake news is information that looks like real news but is not based on facts and is put forth to deceive others into believing its truth. In other words, it's a news story that is fabricated with the purpose to mislead. It may have the appearance of serious journalism but it lacks verifiable facts or sources.
CAUTION: In recent years, the term, fake news, has become politicized. Real news is not fake simply because someone says it is fake. Beware of those who use the phrase "fake news" to discredit legitimate news sources or credible information simply because the person using the phrase doesn't like the information or that information conflicts with their viewpoint.
You can combat fake news by lateral reading, fact checking, and slowing the spread of misinformation. Follow this rule: Consider the accuracy of media content before sharing it. When in doubt, don't share.
Watch this Crash Course video to learn about lateral reading:
IFLA, CC BY 4.0 <https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0>, via Wikimedia Commons
Gale in Context: Opposing Viewpoints