“Fake News” Resources

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We do super-interesting, informative and engaging in-class presentations, for students and for educators, as well as keynotes and presentations to educators, on  “fake news,” how to spot it and how to avoid it.

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Resources to help you avoid “fake news” and foster critical thinking

Visit this page often; we update it regularly. The most recent resources are at the top, after the Games/Apps.

LINKS TO “FAKE NEWS” GAMES AND APPS:
* Is it Real or Photoshopped? (by Adobe): https://landing.adobe.com/en/na/products/creative-cloud/69308-real-or-photoshop/index.html

* Fake or Foto?: https://area.autodesk.com/fakeorfoto

* Play “FakeOut” (CIVIX/Newsliteracy.ca): https://newsliteracy.ca/fakeOut

* BBC iReporter (you’re a BBC journalist covering breaking news and have to decide whether or not to post things on social media): https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/resources/idt-8760dd58-84f9-4c98-ade2-590562670096

* In “Bad News (Junior),” by DROG, a team of academics from Cambridge University and media experts–you become a fake news creator: http://getbadnews.com/droggame_book/junior/#intro

* Play “Reality Check” by Media Smarts and learn how to check whether something is fake or real: http://mediasmarts.ca/sites/mediasmarts/files/games/reality-check/index.html#/

* University of Akron: Fake News Quiz
https://akron.qualtrics.com/jfe/form/SV_2bhqIwpegOtj5yZ

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NEW! Interesting BBC article about “Why (even) smart people believe coronavirus myths

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NEW! CBC article on how to (tactfully) discourage the spread of false pandemic information in chats and email

https://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/covid-19-misinformation-rumour-1.5532302

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#30sec before you believe it

NEW! This article, on a website called #30 Seconds to Check it Out talks about various forms of fake news: https://30secondes.org/en/module/what-is-fake-news/

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MarioNSMBUDeluxe.png

This Forbes article talks about microtransactions in games. You know, how games get harder and suddenly you want to buy (with real money) that “thing” that will help you get to the next level. Tell your kids it’s not them, it’s a deliberate business strategy. (Note: I don’t love the headline on this Forbes article–I’m not sure Mario Kart needs “two big warnings.” I don’t think the article really echoes the headline; but the point is a good one.)

https://www.google.ca/amp/s/www.forbes.com/sites/davidthier/2019/09/27/two-big-warnings-about-mario-kart-tour-on-ios-and-android/amp/

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The Toronto Star’s Classroom Connections has a great series of one-pagers about journalism (TKN’s Joyce Grant is a contributing writer and editor). They’re free to download and they include curriculum questions.

Teaching how “real journalism” is done is key to helping young people understand what “fake news” looks like and how it falls short.

Click here for For the Record: https://www.classroomconnection.ca/for-the-record.html

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By Simon Fraser University

There is a nice infographic here, by Simon Fraser University, with eight “simple steps” to spotting fake news — not that spotting fake news is that simple, but these offer a good starting point. https://www.lib.sfu.ca/help/research-assistance/fake-news

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Same kind of information as in the infographic above (even using some of the same subheads), but in an article with a bit more detail. Source: WebWise, an “Internet safety initiative” by the Department of Education and Skills and the EU Safer Internet Programme, According to Google, “Webwise is the Irish Internet Safety Awareness Centre.” It is also connected to PDST, Professional Development Service for Teachers. Anyway, it’s a good article and well written–clear and succinct.

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Sometimes, it’s just nice to hear about it from librarians–here’s much of the same information about what fake news is, but this time from Enoch Pratt free Library, in Baltimore, Maryland, US. Awesome source, I’d say.

https://www.prattlibrary.org/research/tools/index.aspx?cat=90&id=4735

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So interesting. In 2016, The New York Times followed a fake news tweet to show how it started and then how it went viral. The original tweet was from a resident of Austin, Texas, US, Eric Tucker, who saw some buses in his town and thought they were full of Democrats and then tweeted about how Democrats were in town for protests and they were “not as organic as they seem.” The buses were actually in town for a software convention that had nothing to do with politics. However, Tucker didn’t bother to correct it. He posted it on Twitter on Nov. 9. It was posted by someone else on Reddit, then a conservative discussion forum (shared 5,000 times and posted on a Facebook page with 300,000 users). Just two reporters called the bus company at this point to verify or debunk the post, and no bloggers, although as Coach USA North America director Sean Hughes says, their contact information easily accessible. On Nov. 10, US president Donald Trump tweeted about “the protesters,” which “emboldened” Tucker to think maybe he had something after all, if the president was tweeting about it. Anyway, read the article for the full story–pretty interesting stuff. Tucker eventually did republish his tweet with “FALSE” stamped on it–that tweet was retweeted about 29 times the following week.

https://www.nytimes.com/2016/11/20/business/media/how-fake-news-spreads.html?_r=0

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Interesting 2016 NPR article (and seven-minute audio clip) about how they tracked down the creator of one specific fake news article with the headline: “FBI Agent Suspected in Hillary Email Leaks Found Dead in Apparent Murder-Suicide.” “Everything about it was fictional… the town, the sheriff…,” says the “fake news entrepreneur” who created it.
NPR tracked him down in Los Angeles; he makes money from ads on his website. How much money? He wouldn’t say for himself but he said that “$10,000 to $30,000 a month is ‘in the ballpark.'”

https://www.npr.org/sections/alltechconsidered/2016/11/23/503146770/npr-finds-the-head-of-a-covert-fake-news-operation-in-the-suburbs

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This Common Sense Media article talks about deepfakes (videos created, using AI, that make it look like someone is doing or saying something they didn’t). Note that the video they link to as a deepfake example is NOT suitable for children, because it contains swears and other inappropriate language. https://www.commonsensemedia.org/blog/common-sense-explains-what-are-deepfake-videos

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Article in the RollingStone magazine about Russia’s massive involvement in the dissemination of “fake news” as well as how fake news plays on our emotions–and not just provoking “shocking” or “sad” reactions, but “smug” and “happy.”
https://www.rollingstone.com/politics/politics-features/russia-troll-2020-election-interference-twitter-916482/?fbclid=IwAR3Cqtx2La-_sBXZeyVX_D7euRUB_UeURB9-Egm3p-UL9ieiOuF3h354PbU

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This article, on the Thomson Rivers University (TRU) website provides a good, simple run-down of the basics about fake news. It also gives links to sources if you’d like to go a bit more in-depth: https://libguides.tru.ca/fakenews/falling

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Feb. 15, 2019 study (Edelman Trust Barometer) says 71 per cent of Canadians are worried about “fake news.” Here is an excellent Global News article that analyses the study.

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A fun and quick video that really drives home why it’s so important to CHECK YOUR FACTS. By the News Literacy Project. You will want to share this with your students.

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https://www.nytimes.com/2018/03/07/technology/two-months-news-newspapers.html

This article in THE SACRAMENTO BEE talks about a new bill proposed in California, to develop “statewide school standards on internet safety and digital citizenship, including cyberbullying and privacy.”

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Great article in the NEW YORK TIMES ABOUT PRINT VS. DIGITAL NEWS: Reporter “took a step back in time,” as he puts it, and read news only from printed newspapers for two months. Here are his fascinating insights about the good and the bad of print vs. digital news. From the article: “Real life is slow; it takes professionals time to figure out what happened, and how it fits into context. Technology is fast. Smartphones and social networks are giving us facts about the news much faster than we can make sense of them, letting speculation and misinformation fill the gap.”

Click the picture of the coffee pot for the full article. It’s a must-read for educators interested in media literacy and news.

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If you’re an educator interested in media literacy, here’s the study you want to check out: STANFORD STUDY ABOUT KIDS AND FAKE NEWS.
Researchers at Stanford University wanted to know if kids can recognize–and avoid–fake news. The bottom line: not very well.
Check out their study, which talks about what kids were asked to do (ie, tell the difference between an ad and advertorial) and how they approached it.
The study looks at kids who were good at critical thinking (ie, uncovering fake news), kids who were okay but still had much to learn and kids who weren’t able to distinguish between real and fake news. It’s a fascinating look at kids and media, and many of the results may surprise you.

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Vanessa Oter’s media bias chart plots various media on a scale from left to right and biased to unbiased. This chart is copyrighted; use the link provided here to access it on her site.

VANESSA OTERO’S AWESOME MEDIA BIAS CHART can help you plot your favourite “real news” sources. (NOTE: Don’t use her chart without crediting Vanessa Otero and/or linking to her website, AllGeneralizationsAreFalse.com–her chart is copyrighted.) In fact, you should check out VANESSA OTERO’S WEBSITE, ALLGENERALIZATIONSAREFALSE.COM for tons of great information on bias and the news.

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HOW TO DO A GOOGLE REVERSE IMAGE SEARCH (includes links to places where you can do this). Here’s why a reverse-image search is useful: Let’s say there’s a picture of a living room with a real live shark swimming around in it! Crazy, right!? Well, you might want to double-check whether that’s a real image or one that’s been Photoshopped. You can do a reverse-image search and find the original image. If it’s, say, a living room with no water and no shark, then you’ve got your answer!

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THE HOUSE HIPPO — “That looked really real–but you knew it couldn’t be true.” One of our favourite go-to videos about critical thinking, still holds true today–even more, in fact. By Concerned Children’s Advertisers. YouTube video, 1:02.

The House Hippo video has had a makeover by Media Smarts! Check out House Hippo 2.0 here:

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The Toronto Star’s Washington correspondent, DANIEL DALE, is @ddale8 on Twitter.
He’s in the trenches, uncovering facts, digging around and fighting fake news on a daily basis.

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BBC’S INSIDE LOOK AT THE WHITE HOUSE PRESS CORPS and how they cover the president. (YouTube, 13:49 but totally worth the time–so interesting.)
This shows you just how difficult it can be to get the information you need to write your news article.

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WHERE DO AMERICANS GET THEIR NEWS? Stats, info–Pew Research Centre.

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The website “REAL OR SATIRE” can help you figure out if an article is real or not. “A searchable database of fake news sites.”

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Who are the people who create fake news? The University of Massachusetts Amherst and the University of Leeds in the UK teamed up to find out. Read THEIR INTERESTING REPORT, “ARCHITECTS OF NETWORKED DISINFORMATION” on who these people are, and why they do what they do.
Download executive summary HERE.  Download full report HERE.

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Who are the people who create fake news? The University of Massachusetts Amherst and the University of Leeds in the UK teamed up to find out. Read THEIR INTERESTING REPORT, “ARCHITECTS OF NETWORKED DISINFORMATION” on who these people are, and why they do what they do.
Download executive summary HERE.  Download full report HERE.

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What’s FACEBOOK DOING TO DISCOURAGE FAKE NEWS? This is Mark Zuckerberg’s statement. One of the things they’re doing is to ask people to rank a source’s trustworthiness; they’re hoping that will help to identify some fake news sources. (If you Google this topic, you’ll see lots of columns and insights on what these new Facebook initiatives may mean. It’s an ongoing project, and these are merely the early stages.)

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Stanford University recently published this STUDY ABOUT THE INFLUENCE OF SOCIAL MEDIA AND FAKE NEWS IN THE 2016 US ELECTION.

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Common Sense Media’s video, 5 WAYS TO SPOT FAKE NEWS.

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“How Stuff Works” — a pretty good little flipchart-type presentation: 10 WAYS TO SPOT FAKE NEWS.

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THREE LESSON PLANS about “fake news” from Cool Cat Teacher.com.

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Study suggests that “lies spread faster than the truth” on Twitter. “Falsehood diffused significantly farther, faster, deeper, and more broadly than the truth in all categories of information…” according to researchers Vosoughi et al.
https://science.sciencemag.org/content/359/6380/1146.full

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NPR article talks about the above study about how lies faster 70 per cent faster on Twitter than the truth.
https://www.npr.org/sections/alltechconsidered/2018/03/12/592885660/can-you-believe-it-on-twitter-false-stories-are-shared-more-widely-than-true-one

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*We can’t fully vouch for third-party links–the ones above are all useful, in our opinion, but their owners could change the material on them at any time, etc. etc. etc., blah, blah, blah. (Please excuse the legalese.)
Also, if you have an excellent resource about “fighting fake news” please let us know on OUR FACEBOOK PAGE.