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Most Teens Can't Identify A Fake News Online, Study Says

By Christie Abagon , Nov 24, 2016 12:07 AM EST
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Stanford Graduate School of Education researchers conducted a study about how good kids are nowadays in distinguishing credible information.  They found out that students have a tough time distinguishing between ads and news, and understanding conflicts of interest in information that is presented as fact.

Professor Sam Wineburg, the lead author of the report said: "Many people assume that because young people are fluent in social media they are equally perceptive about what they find there.  Our work shows the opposite to be true."

Students Focus More on The News Content Rather Than The Source

The study was administered to students across 12 US states.  It reflected key understandings the students should possess such as being able to find out who wrote a story and whether that source is credible. 

"This finding indicates that students may focus more on the content of social media posts than on their sources," the authors wrote. "Despite their fluency with social media, many students are unaware of basic conventions for indicating verified digital information."

Researchers Are Now Planning To Develop A Curriculum About Digital Literacy

Wineburg says the next step is to include helping educators to track student understanding and to adjust instruction.  He also hopes to develop a curriculum for teachers, and are planning to produce videos showing the depth of the problem about digital literacy

"As recent headlines demonstrate, this work is more important now than ever.  In the coming months, we look forward to sharing our assessments and working with educators to create materials that will help young people navigate the sea of disinformation they encounter online," Wineburg said.

Facebook Is Looking For Ways To Address Fake News Issues

In a trade summit in Peru, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg said that they are now taking measures to curb a "relatively small" percentage of deliberately false stories.  This came after critics complained that the surge of bogus news on Facebook may have led to a Trump win in the 2016 US Elections.

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