Every Student Needs to Know How to Factcheck

But I am informed that lots of middle schoolers today wont take the time to do even a general examination. Since it indicates they may excitedly spread the newest misleading content they discover on their social media or favorite sites platforms, thats unfortunate. When they do, they end up being the unwitting agents of mass online marketers and phony news purveyors.

How do we assist trainees question AND verify what they read? Its not that hard to examine things out. It just takes a little bit of effort in your preferred online search engine.

Trustworthy reality checker sites are distressed to promote what they do and how they do it to assist all of us become better media consumers. As a long-time media educator, I understand students need practice.

In this post I talk about 2 kinds of “deception” to show the problems and indicate some basic practices students and all of us can follow to press back on those who think they can quickly fool us.

The Proliferation of Native Advertising

Typically the product will be part of what seems a news story. Often these faux-news items are shown in an unique section of the companys site. CNN has much of these “native ads” on its homepage (see at right) organized under section headings like “Paid Partner Content.” Distinguishing actual news from these collections of clickbait headings needs us to pay close attention.

A 2016 research study found that 82% of middle school trainees might not identify “native advertisements” from news on a web page. With a growing number of native ads multiplying, the need to spend more time mentor discernment and media literacy skills appears obvious.

Native marketing is a substantial present pattern in online publishing. A company buys area on a details or entertainment website to promote their item in methods that go beyond typical screen advertising.

Heres an example of advanced native advertising that appeared in The New York Times numerous years ago:

The “story” had to do with ladies prisoners, however what you most likely didnt see (since its in a small font at the top) are the words PAID POST. Yes, this story, with its inmates worn orange, was created to promote the Netflix series “Orange Is The New Black,” using common NYT news styling.

A research study short article released by Harvards Nieman Lab previously this year described disturbing patterns in native advertising over a five-year duration and concluded that “These advertisements that look like real news are identified as ads, as needed by the Federal Trade Commission. Research studies have consistently revealed that those labels are mostly inadequate at assisting readers differentiate between the two types of material.”

Dissecting a Fake FOX NEWS post

Spoof material like this represents a pattern that has blown up online and on social networks: news-like stories with appealing headings developed to get click-throughs from which the fake-page creators earn advertisement profits.

Mayim Bialik– scientist (PhD in neuroscience), actress (Blossom, The Big Bang Theory) and gameshow host (Jeopardy)– is pictured. Given that this fake story appeared it has actually been completely debunked by Bialik herself and by a range of credible news companies.

Here is the phony page, as presented in a screenshot by the Snopes fact-checking site with the Snopes FALSE stamp inscribed on it. Snopes found that “This was not a genuine Fox News short article. It was hosted on denuvo.fun, which was registered on a Chinese web domain registrar.”

Recently a good friend sent me a link to an online “news” story, showed on a website that resembled the FOX NEWS website. “Is this fact or fiction?” my pal asked. I didnt mind assuming the role of reality checker And I was happy to include this strong example of the kind of phony news event thats ended up being common in social networks today to my collection.

Lets break this one down:

► One of the very first and I think the most important factors to consider is: what might the URL we are welcomed to click reveal? Here is the initial link offered to prospective clickers (focus included).

► Teachers may consider publishing some of the many FACT CHECK, FAKE NEWS infographic checklists around your class and computers, where students can get accustomed to reading and thinking about the advice. (See for example: How to Spot Fake News; the SIFT Model; the CRAAP Detection Model.).

Fact or Fiction: Fake News & & Its Impact on Education (AMLE).

► We ought to constantly confirm any story that appears sensational or unlikely by looking for it elsewhere. If this was a real news story, it would appear in other news sources on the web. This one does not.

► Notice that the phony page copies the familiar FOX NEWS header and the “news story” is credited to popular FOX news personality Brit Hume. These are two of the strategies used by creators of fake news– false-but-familiar bylines and fake logo designs– to make readers think material is legitimate when it is not. If this was an actual news story, it would appear in other news sources on the web.

► Throughout the post, the acronym CBD (an abbreviation for Cannabidiol) is hyper-linked using a brilliant, vibrant color and sticks out on the page from all other words. Advertisers hope readers will click links. This need to be a clear clue to students that this is not a newspaper article since the item is consistently named and hyper-linked.

Phony News Invasion (Scholastic).

Recommended Resources.

► Notice that the fake page copies the familiar FOX NEWS header and the “newspaper article” is credited to popular FOX news character Brit Hume. These are two of the methods utilized by developers of phony news– false-but-familiar bylines and fake logo designs– to make readers think content is genuine when it is not. (See Politifacts Common Fake News Sites and What they Peddle.).

Civic Online Reasoning (Stanford) Videos, lesson strategies and evaluations.

How To Spot Fake News (Annenberg Public Policy Center).

It is also clear that the outright deluge of information we are experiencing today– much of it undependable– requires every teacher to spend some time teaching trainees these important crucial thinking/media literacy abilities. How do we engage them? Welcome kids to form fact-checking teams or leagues– make finding the fact an adventure!

Fight Fake News In The Classroom.

► Always make the most of factchecking resources. Thorough factchecking websites are continuously on the lookout for these kinds of posts and are fast to refute them. Soon after receiving the e-mail from my buddy, I located the Bialik story exposed on SNOPES and on the site for Good Housekeeping magazine.

Breaking News Consumer Handbook: Fake News Edition (WNYC).

Further down, pictures of an elderly man are posted with quotes attributed to him. The guy is not named. Clicking on the pictures takes the reader to a website for the product– not to any info about him or his verifiable experience with what is being marketed.

As always, your school library media specialist is a “go-to” expert to assist you and your students dissect what they read by teaching important news and information literacy abilities.


We Can Do More.

Frank W Baker has been a consistent presence on MiddleWeb for nearly a decade. His columns and blogposts are created to help teachers make the connection between pop culture, current occasions, teaching standards and media literacy. His long-lasting work, which consists of numerous workshops with teachers, was acknowledged in 2019 by UNESCO.

Frank preserves the popular Media Literacy Clearinghouse (MLC) education resource site. His newest book, co-published by MiddleWeb & & Routledge Eye on Education is Close Reading The Media: Literacy Lessons and Activities for each Month of the School Year. He invites readers to follow MLC on Facebook and him on Twitter @fbaker.

The “uk” in the address informs us that the site we will connect to is in the United Kingdom, not the USA where Fox News is headquartered. Using the “lateral reading” approach we can open a second tab to investigate the source of the original tab/URL.

In the previous year, disinformation about COVID-19, the Presidential election, and the war in Ukraine have dominated the news and social media. We know many trainees rely on social media for their news, which can be problematic.

► The story purports to describe a confrontation between the star and a Fox News host that supposedly happened that week. LIVE news on tv grows on actual confrontation between visitors– they know it draws in an audience and builds rankings. (IF such a confrontation did occur on live TV, it would definitely have actually appeared practically right away on YouTube. No such paperwork exists there.).

Not long ago a friend sent me a link to an online “news” story, showed on a web page that looked like the FOX NEWS website. I didnt mind assuming the role of truth checker And I was pleased to add this strong example of the kind of phony news occasion thats ended up being common in social media today to my collection.

I Am a Factchecker For Snopes: This Is How I Determine if News is Fake.

► Bialiks image, which many will recognize, recommends a sort of celebrity review. If she appears to be promoting the product, unwary readers (including students) who might hold her in high regard may desire to purchase or attempt it. This is a common propaganda method.

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