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This is #DigitalCheckNRW

The #DigitalCheckNRW is an important project for the state government in NRW [North Rhine Westphalia] The aim is to enable digital participation for all citizens. You can test your own media skills via the check and fill  gaps by means of further training programs.

Easy Read

How can I recognise social media fake news?

Many offers can help identify false information.

You inform yourself on the Internet or on social media and see news that seems questionable to you? How can we recognize fake news? It can help: take a digital news test, use fact finders or even listen to a podcast. To recognize misinformation on social media, for example, here are tips and links for everyday life. To make the selection easier, the offers are briefly summarized. Can I avoid false news? What do I do about false messages on WhatsApp or Signal? You'll find the answers here.

1. digital message testing

SWR Fakefinder

How good are you at handling news on the Internet?

Fake news affects all generations and unsettles many. What danger does fake news pose? There are fun ways to become media literate in this area, such as taking part in a Fakefinder Challenge. Click here for the Fakefinder Challenge!

Fakefinder for kids

What is true, where is someone trying to trick me?

An extra offer for kids. Here, children playfully learn more about the topic on four levels:

Message test

Can you recognize false claims?

The New Responsibility Foundation has developed a digital self-test. Within the test, questions and assertions are shown that have to be assessed and evaluated. This allows participants to test their skills in dealing with news on the Internet. Take the digital news test!

Bad News - the game

How bad are you?

To help you recognize the danger of false news, you can also play a game. The game was developed for people aged 15 and older by the Dutch organization DROG for use in education and research. It is about strengthening media skills and the focus is on false news on the Internet. Try it out:

Are you up to date on media literacy?

2. the consulting platform

How can I recognize fake news?

The State Media Authority in NRW / ZEBRA answers your questions. There are people who deliberately spread lies in social media. But how can I recognize fake news? The ZEBRA online platform of the State Media Authority provides reliable answers to questions about digital topics and media with personal advice: Ask ZEBRA!

Questions can be asked here: zebra(at)

3. how do I react correctly to false news?

How do I avoid false news?

Everyone can do something against disinformation. What does disinformation mean? It refers to demonstrably false or misleading information that is deliberately written and disseminated in order to manipulate. Here you can find out in four steps how high the truth content of a piece of information is.

Step 1: Critically question instead of forwarding The more emotional and dramatic a message is, the more often it is spread. This makes it all the more important not to pass on unverified information. It is therefore important to pause and question the content first. What everyone can do here: don't share content that is unverified and seems dubious. Step 2: Check the sources and sender of the news First, a brief search for the authors helps. The platform on which the information was disseminated should also be checked. You can recognize the verified accounts of official bodies and institutions on social media by the blue tick. The imprint of the websites should include the full address, not just an anonymous e-mail address, and a responsible person. How is the general reporting on this site? Is the reporting balanced or rather tendentious? Both provide information about how reliable the information can be assessed. It is also helpful to compare questionable news with two other sources. Two other important questions are: Is there real evidence or is the news story based on allegations and rumors? Are the facts and figures correct? If you ask yourself these questions and consciously examine the information, you are much better protected from falling for false information.

Step 3: Trace images and videos Who published the video or image? Is he or she the author of the material or has it already been forwarded several times? Images can be checked using reverse search. The image or URL is uploaded to a search engine and the origin of the image is displayed. In this way, it is possible to find out whether the image is current or outdated and how credible it is.

In the #DigitalCheckNRW you will find an interactive task for this:

Step 4: Use fact finder

Public media and other independent organizations check individual false reports and set them straight in so-called fact checks. The European External Action Service (EEAS) lists, among other things, current cases of disinformation from Russia on its English-language website - and refutes false claims.

Other Fakefinders are:


The independent research center Correctiv analyzes current and internationally circulating disinformation and false reports on the war in Ukraine.

ARD fact finder

The ARD fact finder investigates rumors and sets the record straight on specific false reports.


Think first, then click. The site exposes false information, identifies disinformation and points out manipulations.

The fact fox

The Bayerischer Rundfunk's Faktenfuchs also offers an important source for debunking fake news. With the help of software, Faktenfuchs scans sources on the Internet around the clock, e.g. on Twitter, Instagram, YouTube, but also in forums and blogs, and picks up topics from them that are checked in Faktenfuchs.

dpa fact check

The Deutsche Presse Agentur (dpa) also has an additional fact check team. The members of the dpa fact check team are available to all editorial offices at dpa for advice and also publish their checks.

How to debunk fake news in 4 easy steps
How to debunk fake news in 4 easy steps

4. when does fake news become a danger?

Disinformation campaigns aim to steer debates in extreme directions

When false information is deliberately disseminated with the aim of intentionally deceiving or misleading people, it becomes a danger. This is known as disinformation. For example, there are the following types of fake news.

Urban Legends" is when someone claims to know someone who saw it or was there.

Hybrid Fakes" is understood as the deliberate omission or distortion of facts. Or an opinion of a minority is presented as the majority. It is not uncommon for the reach of individual contributions to be artificially manipulated. In the meantime, there are regular disinformation campaigns that are tailored to target groups. These campaigns are intended to exacerbate existing conflicts and debates and undermine trust in state institutions. Overall, the aim is to stir up anger and emotions. Disinformation campaigns aim to polarize and deliberately steer public debates in extreme directions, ultimately dividing society.

Currently, there is also talk of Russian disinformation. What are the dangers of fake news in Ukraine and Russia? With the Fake News Law Russia, the Russian parliament has passed a law that includes long prison sentences and heavy fines for publishing false news about the Russian armed forces.

On International Issues Bellingcat Researches With employees and volunteers from more than twenty countries around the world, Bellingcat conducts open-source research on a variety of topics. For example, Bellingcat's research covers Mexican drug lords, crimes against humanity, chemical weapons use, and international conflicts.

More information on propaganda and media censorship can be found here: "Fake News and Disinformation: Putin's Propaganda War on the Truth."

More on disinformation campaigns in general at the Federal Agency for Civic Education: "Disinformation: From the Cold War to the Information Age"

For refugees and people new to Germany, WDR4You offers a program in four languages. Here, information is provided about relevant political topics and Germany is explained. There is also info on the topics of asylum, flight and migration: WDR4you

5. podcast, TV documentary and blog on fake news.

The Global Power of Disinformation: Podcast

The podcast "Web of Lies" is about misinformation and disinformation worldwide. What impact does misinformation have on democratic societies? Here is the link to the podcast: "Disinformation - The Global View".

"The truth about disinformation": ZDF documentary

The documentary "The Truth About Disinformation" shows how the principle of disinformation works and who profits from it. One example: The Center to Combat Digital Hate (CCDH) found out in a study in spring 2021 that only twelve vaccination opponents and their organizations are behind 65 percent of all misinformation on Corona. The documentary lasts 28 minutes: "The Truth About Disinformation".

A blog on fake news

A largely volunteer team runs the political fact-checking blog "The People's Snitch."

6. media competent with #DigitalCheckNRW

Countering Fake News with Media Competence

We encounter the topic of fake news in many areas: e.g. disinformation and war, false news and racism, misinformation and right-wing extremism, disinformation and Corona. Using the above methods, it is possible to check facts and identify misinformation.

Are you up to date on media literacy? With the #DigitalCheckNRW, you can take a self-test on your knowledge of digital media and find precisely tailored training opportunities on site. How media literate are you? Start the test now!

Test yourself

Where can I find further materials on the topic of fake news and media literacy?

The klicksafe initiative provides teaching materials for educational practice on the topic of "Media Literacy - War in Ukraine. You will also find what you are looking for at weitklick.

You can download the handbook for verifying disinformation and media manipulation for free: "Verification Handbook".

The module box on Hate Speech and Fake News was developed on behalf of the Central Office for Political Youth Education in cooperation with the Grimme Institute especially for the VHS context and can be downloaded free of charge: "Modulboxzu Hate Speech und Fake News" | "Modulboxzu Verschwörungstheorien".

An expert opinion from the Leibniz Institute shows: "Regulation of disinformation is possible".

8. disinformation for advanced

Brief glossary of current topics


is a method that encourages people online to click on a post. Clicks are collected to increase traffic to the page. Literally translated: "click bait".


The term is made up of "deep learning" and "fake". It refers to videos, photos or audio files that have been falsified by artificial intelligence. An example of this: faces that are replaced in photos. For more on this, see "What are deepfakes and how do I recognize them?"


Hoax or hoax report is a term for false reports. The word probably derives from hocus - a shortening of hocus pocus. The site collects false reports about asylum seekers throughout Germany and refutes them.

Hybrid Fakes

= deliberate omission or distortion of facts


means that a great deal of information spreads quickly around the world unfiltered, regardless of its truth content. This leads to an unclear information situation.

Urban Legends

Someone claims to know someone who saw this or was there.


refers to an evasive response to a difficult question with a counter-question that does not answer the actual question but takes up another topic.