We’ve  all heard a lot about the idea that ‘fake news’ now circulates among actual stories that have been written by pros.. some are even saying that fake news may have been used to sway voters in the recent American election – in fact both the winners and the losers are saying that!

A recent study has shed light on the fact that, while we think we can tell the difference between fake news and the real thing, we’re getting it wrong and sharing heaps of fake news – only 44 per cent of teenagers surveyed said they could definitely spot the fakes, and 31 per cent had shared a story on social media that they later found out was fake.

Facebook seem pretty worried by the issue, and the potential for to be fooled into a decision that they came to with false information – they’ve just introduced a fake news filter, that will warn you if they think the story you’re looking at is dodgy. Governments like Germany’s are also putting pressure on social media companies to pull fake news off their sites, and do it quickly.

JET mag think adults would probably have just as much trouble spotting some of recent fake news! Here’s one that a class in the US used to learn about the topic, which falsely claimed the Jennifer Aniston had shaved her hair off, as reported by CNN.

Kinda looks like most other news stories right??

There are a few things we should ask ourselves when deciding whether a news story is for real or not, including:

  • Who wrote the story?
  • Which organisation published the story? Are they reputable? How could you find out?
  • Have other reputable organisations published similar stories?
  • Who could benefit if people believe the story?
  • Is there information missing? What could that tell you?

But the big thing is to be like the X-Files and question everything! Just because it looks like a news story doesn’t mean anything! The story needs to prove itself to you.

 

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