Fact-checkers create games to help readers spot fake news

by Em Okrepkie
Oct 30, 2018 in Combating Mis- and Disinformation

Fake news litters the web and lives everywhere from Google to Facebook to Twitter.

A Pew Research Center study found that 32 percent of Americans have seen fake news online, and almost a quarter of Americans have shared articles that are untrue.

The spread of fake news has created a need for tools and tips to identify misinformation. Some organizations, such as The Washington Post, have released guides to spot made-up news.

Other groups have turned the fight against fake news into a game. New apps and websites are popping up that make it entertaining to learn to identify fake articles and headlines.

Give these games a go and see how well you can spot fake news:

PolitiTruth: A PolitiFact Game

Developed by Christopher Cinq-Mars Jarvis and PolitiFact, PolitiTruth embraces Tinder-style swiping. Players swipe left when news is false and right when it is true. The game features headlines as well as quotes, and the PolitiFact Truth-O-Meter appears after a player makes a guess.

Players can see how many of their fellow users correctly identified a piece of news as fact or fiction and how their knowledge of fake news compares to other users. The app also notes the fake quotes and articles people overwhelmingly misidentify as real.

Fake News: The Game

Swiping left and right takes on a new meaning with Fake News: The Game. Users swipe right when headlines that are real appear on screen and left for headlines that are not. The app pulls from their database, which is populated with information from sites such as Snopes.com, PolitiFact and FactCheck.org.

Digital agency ISL created the game “to fight back against the global pandemic of misinformation.” It is available for free in the App Store for iOS devices. An arcade version is at the bar Penn Social in Washington, D.C. for a limited time.


Factitious was created by the Innovation in Journalism through Game Design team at American University. Factitious features several rounds where users can either swipe or click to seperate the real from the fake. The site provides context about the source of the article after a player answers. The game also gives players tips to spot fake articles in the future.

Fake It To Make It

If you’re looking to live the life of a fake news creator, Fake It To Make It is the game for you. It is “a social-impact game about fake news,” according to its website. While it doesn’t help users discern fact from fiction, it does walk players through the business behind the creation of fake content. Players live the life of a content producer who is profiting from fake news.

Creator Amanda Warner developed the game to bring attention to the process surrounding production of fake news. “My hope is that by making players more aware of how and why fake news is written and distributed, that they will be more skeptical of what they encounter in the future,” she wrote on the game’s website. “In general, I think that better understanding how and why we are manipulated by others, for profit or power, is worthwhile knowledge to have.”

Main image CC-licensed by Flickr via Cicada Strange