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Evaluating news: Fake News & Beyond

AI Generated Text and Media

With the proliferation of AI-generated content, it is crucial that users evaluate every piece of information thoroughly to determine its reliability, trustworthiness, and authority. While there are benefits of using Generative AI, it has several potential issues that users need to keep in mind. Some of the issues include: 

  • Reliability:  Natural language processing tools, language models, or chatbots, are trained on a collection of writing to generate human-like text in response to a prompt, not necessarily to generate truthful or reliable answers.  
  • Transparency:  In the same way that natural language processing tools, language models, or chatbots, are not necessarily generating truthful or reliable answers, they are not specifically created to locate and credit the sources for the responses they generate.
  • Bias:  Since natural language processing tools, language models, or chatbots, are trained on a large body of writing created by humans with human biases the responses generated could reflect and further enforce those same biases.
  • Privacy:  Like any online platform, AI tools accept the input of private information from users who may not be aware of how the platform intends to use that information.
  • Equity:  Many generative AI tools, both text and image-based, were trained on large collections of material taken from the internet without prior approval or involvement from the human authors who created the content.  These same human authors will be forced to compete for their livelihood with an automated system that can work faster.
    • Many AI tools also perpetuate the dominance of English in online spaces, threatening Indigenous languages.
    • Access to powerful, quality, AI tools may require payment and thus divide those who cannot afford to pay for the tools from the advantages enjoyed by those who can pay.


Who is the author? Could their view be biased in any way?

Text or images generated by AI tools have no human author, but they are trained on materials created by humans with human biases.  Unlike humans, AI tools cannot reliably distinguish between biased material and unbiased material when using information to construct their responses.

What was the intended audience?

Generative AI tools can be used to generate content for any audience based on the user’s prompt.

What is the intended purpose of the content?  Was it created to inform, to make money, to entertain?   

Generative AI tools can create convincing text and images that can be used to propagate many different ideas without being clear that the information or images could be false.

Where was it published?  Was it in a scholarly publication, a website, or an organization page?

Generative AI has already been used to create content for websites and news outlets. Considering whether the source is scholarly, has a good reputation and has a clear history of providing reliable information is useful for figuring out whether the information you find is useful or misleading.

Does it provide sources for the information?

Articles, news outlets, and websites that provide sources could be an indicator of reliability.  Further assessing the sources by following the links and citations to verify the information will help confirm that the information you find is reliable.

Credit: AI Tools and Resources, University of South Florida Libraries