Though this term has been politicized, fake news is a real problem and represents information that is completely fabricated. There may be bias in mainstream news sources, but this is not the same as intentionally presenting false information.
Usually this takes the form of sites that purport to be major news sites, but are not. For example, abc.co.uk instead of abc.com. Sometimes newer, fringe news organizations rise in popularity and share overwhelmingly biased sources. Some of these will combine false information alongside facts presented in an extremely biased manner.
Echo chambers are not just created from being friends with like minded people on social media. Websites customize ads and "news" based on your clicks and likes on social media, Google, and more. These are created by algorithms and can lead to dangerous echo chambers.
Facts are facts! There are no alternatives.
Defintion of "fact" from Merriam-Webster's Dictionary:
We have heard a lot about fake news lately, here are just some examples:
While it is important to be aware of the conversations surrounding fake news, it is even more important to understand what this term means, and to also understand that there are many ways that even fact-based news can be biased and misleading. Knowing how to define and differentiate these issues helps us to be informed and engaged citizens.
Tips adapted from Indiana University East's Fake News Guide.