Monday, November 28, 2016

Students Can't Figure Out What's Fake News

For a democracy to survive, you need a well-informed citizenry that knows how to get accurate information.

As many of you know, things are going so well in that department in the US of A.

Much has been written about fake news on social media that misled voters, and fired them up to vote for Donald Trump, or make other election decisions based on false info.  

The upcoming generation of young voters might not do any better, if a new Stanford University study is any indication.

Says The Verge, via the Wall Street Journal: 

"According to the study, 82 percent of students could not distinguish between a sponsored post and an actual  news article on the same website. Nearly 70 percent of middle schoolers thought they had no reason to distrust a sponsored finance article written by the CEO of a bank, and many students evaluated the trustworthiness of tweets based on their level of detail and the size of the photos..."

Stanford researchers recommend students learn to cross check the accuracy of websites and articles using other sources, and not to think a high Google search ranking means the site is more accurate.

Schools are increasingly trying to teach students to better evaluate what they see on line, but obviously, a lot more needs to be done.

Because of the uproar over the recent U.S. elections, Facebook has said it's working on ways to filter out fake news sites, and Google will ban fake news sites from its ad network.

But there will always be bad information on the web.

You'd think everyone would know by now you can't believe something is true just because it's on the internet, but clearly not.

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