Fake News! Alternative Facts! These are phrases we are starting to hear each and every day. Now, more than ever, with the ease and access of using the internet, we are being bombarded with news and information that isn’t true. A recent survey conducted by Hunt Allcot and Matthew Gentzkow shows that 62% of US adults get their news from social media. With that number being so high, it is no wonder that people are taking advantage of this by producing fake, shareable content. The hard part is being able to sort through all of that and separate fact from fiction. As educators, we have a responsibility to ourselves and our students to research, analyze and critique information before posting, sharing or commenting. As much as it is the responsibility of news organizations to present the facts and accurate information, it is our responsibility as readers and citizens of the world to do our research and concluding opinion.
As educators, we have a responsibility to ourselves and our students to research, analyze and critique information before posting, sharing or commenting. As much as it is the responsibility of news organizations to present the facts and accurate information, it is our responsibility as readers and citizens of the world to do our research and concluding opinion.
Here are some tools that you can use to help you navigate through the abundance of information and content being thrown your way:
(Source: 5 Ways Teachers are Fighting Fake News, NPR.org)
At the end of the day, seeing is not always believing.
While it would be nice to scroll through our timelines and know that we could trust everything we were seeing, that is just not the case. For years we have known that tabloids such as The Sun, National Enquirer, and Globe have been producing fake and outlandish content. So why are we not approaching social media sites and fake news websites the same way? Yes, it takes a bit more time on our ends, to research, navigate and sort through the information, but it is our responsibility to know what we are saying and sharing before we do.
In education, another “fake news” situation we have to look out for is fake and parody twitter accounts. More and more, college presidents are being impersonated on twitter and parody accounts such as @AcademicsSay, @SAproblems or unofficial class pages are becoming increasingly popular. After the recent election, we have also seen “rogue” and unofficial Twitter accounts such as the @ and @.
Tomorrow, 2/5/14, at 12:00pm sharp…
Massive snowball fight on THall Lawn.
Show up and fight or you’re a giant wussy, and should drop out.
— Fake Mark Huddleston (@PrezHuddleston) February 4, 2014
A millionaire who has never known hunger pretends to “protect students”… by starving them? 🤔https://t.co/GdBlk8NHNp
— Alt Dept of ED (@Alt_DeptofED) February 26, 2017
Practicing the concept of media literacy will help us and our students navigate through these as well. It is important to teach the concept of satire and humor as well, to differentiate that from real, official news and updates.
How have you been navigating fake news or social media accounts on your campus? Easybib.com has created a useful infographic for educators to share these tips and tricks with their students. What have you been doing to educate yourself and your students? Share your thoughts and ideas in the comments below.