'Truth or Fake' 2019: Four tips for detecting fake news online

“Truth or Fake,” hosted by Derek Thomson and Claire Paccalin of the France 24 Observers, is a 9-minute show dedicated to debunking fake news.
“Truth or Fake,” hosted by Derek Thomson and Claire Paccalin of the France 24 Observers, is a 9-minute show dedicated to debunking fake news.

Social media and the Internet are treasure troves of information. However, all sorts of theories based on misleading reports make their way into the endless flow of images and information. Here at the FRANCE 24 Observers, we’ve collected some of the biggest fake stories of the year. We're also giving you the tools you need to fact check rumours online.

Fake reports are so prevalent these days that they’ve become part of our daily lives. But when we see a questionable photo, how do we go about verifying it?

There are simple ways to separate what’s true from what’s fake. This video uses several recent examples to explain the difference between information, lies and propaganda.

The lineup for 2019

1. Did migrants attack stores in Spain?

We explain how a video was taken out of context by online users in Spain and France in order to accuse migrants of stealing from a bakery.

2. There are no good lies!

We look at before and after photos of a glacier for the #10yearchallenge, and a video claiming to show the national Brazilian football team returning home after the 2018 World Cup. We show you how to find out where they really came from.

3. Did someone really shout "Allahu akbar" during Donald Trump’s speech?

Edited soundbites are less common but can also be misleading. We look at how two videos, one featuring Donald Trump and another claiming to show an unearthed dragon in Yemen, contributed to the spread of misinformation.

4. Ghost cars? Take a closer look

Manipulated videos are everywhere on social media, including one that purported to show ghost cars creating traffic accidents. But there’s a new, more dangerous type of misinformation emerging: Deepfakes.


How to use the tools described in the video

We’ve compiled a few links to help you begin using these fact-checking tools on your own:

How to verify a photo using Google or another reverse image tool

How to verify a video using YouTube Data Viewer

How to avoid Internet hoaxes

How to find out whether an image has been manipulated


TRUTH OR FAKE, a multilingual show to keep you better informed

For the second year in a row (here’s our 2018 edition), the FRANCE 24 Observers team is bringing you “Truth or Fake". The show is hosted in English by Derek Thomson and Claire Paccalin, in French by Alexandre Capron and Chloé Lauvergnier, in Arabic by Djamel Belayachi and Sarra Grira, and in Spanish by Erika Olavarria and Natalia Ruiz Giraldo.

Produced as part of the Press and Media in Schools Week in France, this edition of “Truth or Fake” will be made available in classrooms in France by the CLEMI (Liaison Centre for Teaching and Information Media).

The show also enables the FRANCE 24 Observers team to share our tips with you. We have 11 years of experience in verifying amateur videos. We hope to pass along what we’ve learned in our videos as well as in our guide (click on the photo below to see the guide).

Want to get involved?

Do you want to flag what you think is a hoax or rumour? The Observers team is here to debunk it for you. Just send it over to us at, or via Facebook message (here’s our Facebook page) or Whatsapp (our number is +33 6 30 93 41 36).