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Fake news for the masses: evaluating news sources through active learning - Long & Hicks


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Presented at LILAC 2019

Published in: Education
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Fake news for the masses: evaluating news sources through active learning - Long & Hicks

  1. 1. Fake News for the Masses: Evaluating news sources through active learning Jessie Long and Jennifer Hicks Miami University Middletown
  2. 2. Discussion How do we present fake news? How can we help students learn to identify and fight fake news?
  3. 3.
  4. 4. Identifying the True, the Fake, the Bad, the Biased Fake News - refers to false information or propaganda published under the guise of being authentic news Bad News - refers to poorly reported news, which can be true but does not show the correct support to verify it Media Bias - information that is unfair, unbalanced or incomplete in its discussion of an issue Editorial Perspective - Every reporter, editor or publisher has a point of view Satire - the use of irony, sarcasm, ridicule, or the like, in exposing, denouncing, or deriding vice, folly, etc. Clickbait - a sensationalized headline or piece of text on the Internet designed to entice people to follow a link to an article on another Web page
  5. 5. The What, Whys, and How of Fake News
  6. 6. What Makes a News Story Fake? 1. It can’t be verified A fake news article may or may not have links in it tracing its sources; if it does, these links may not lead to articles outside of the site’s domain or may not contain information pertinent to the article topic. 2. Fake news appeals to emotion Fake news plays on your feelings – it makes you angry or happy or scared. This is to ensure you won’t do anything as pesky as fact-checking. 3. Authors usually aren’t experts Most authors are not even journalists, but paid trolls. 4. It can’t be found anywhere else If you look up the main idea of a fake news article, you might not find any other news outlet (real or not) reporting on the issue. 5. Fake news comes from fake sites Did your article come from These and a host of other URLs are fake news sites.
  7. 7. How Does Fake News Spread? Online, especially with Social Media - Sharing of lies, half-truths, omissions, and out of context information. On Twitter, fact checks of misinformation get about four times fewer shares than the original falsehood. (Politiscope) Example: ● Eric Tucker took photos of large groups of buses in Austin, TX ● Tweeted buses were related to anti-Trump protesters, an unverified statement ● Shared thousands of times on Twitter and Facebook ● Maheshwari, S. (2016, Nov. 12). How fake news goes viral. The New York Times. Retrieved from fake-news-spreads.html?_r=0
  8. 8. Why Does Fake News Spread? Money ● Example: “BREAKING: ‘Tens of thousands’ of fraudulent Clinton votes found in Ohio warehouse.” ● Story shared online by 6 million, earned thousands of dollars in Web advertising revenue ● Scott, S. ( 2017, Jan. 1). From headline to photograph, a fake news masterpiece. Retrieved from cameron-harris.html Opinion ● Example: Pizzagate ● Claimed that John Podesta's leaked emails contained hidden messages referring to human trafficking connected to multiple U.S. restaurants and members of the Democratic Party ● Man shows up at pizza restaurant with weapons to help save the children ● Robb, A. (2017, Nov. 16). Anatomy of a fake news scandal. Retrieved from 125877/
  9. 9. Why Does Fake News Spread? Emotion ● Example: GoFundMe scam ● Homeless military veteran’s random act of kindness and a New Jersey couple intent on helping him get back on his feet during the holidays ● Inspired people to donate more than $400,000 in an online fundraiser that went viral ● Campaign was found to be a lie ● The three were each charged with second-degree conspiracy and theft by deception ● Stableford, D. (2018, Nov. 15). New Jersey couple and homeless man whose feel-good story went viral charged with GoFundMe scam. Retrieved from man-whose-feel-good-story-went-viral-charged-gofundme-scam- 193432689.html
  10. 10. Images
  11. 11. Photoshopped or Reused Images 11 Viral Photos That Were NOT Hurricane Sandy Australia Photoshop Hurricane Ike
  12. 12. Fabricated or reused images continued Paris Riots: "This was not Hurricane Florence," Anderson Cooper said. "This was taken 10 years ago during Hurricane Ike. On September 13, 2008." Hurricane Florence: cooper-vs-donald-trump-jr-cnntv/index.html
  13. 13. Headlines Images from
  14. 14. Create a Headline - Health
  15. 15. Create a Headline - Food and animals
  16. 16. Create a Headline - Cute or Horror?
  17. 17. Social Media Examples and Extra Topics
  18. 18. Social Media Sharing Scenario: Election Results Your Uncle Bob sends you a link on Facebook to this Tweet Take a few minutes to describe your initial (and honest) reactions. 1. Emotions – How does this story make you feel? 2. Values –How does this information fit in with your value system? How are you being influenced by your own values and beliefs? How does this story fit in with Uncle Bob’s values? 3. Critical thinking – How does this new information compare to your existing knowledge about the topic? How would you evaluate this information? Please describe the steps you would take to fact check this tweet. 4. Reflection – Why do you think Uncle Bob shared this? How might you respond and why?
  19. 19. Video Example - Flat Earth theory ● Research suggests that YouTube is playing a significant role in convincing some people that the Earth is flat ● YouTube’s algorithms to guide people to topics they might be interested in made it easy to "end up down the rabbit hole" of misinformation ● Viewers went from criticising videos to being won over by the arguments being advanced ● "The only tool we have to battle misinformation is to try and overwhelm it with better information," said Prof Landrum. -
  20. 20. Confirmation Bias ● Once we have formed a view, we embrace information that confirms that view while ignoring, or rejecting, information that casts doubt on it. ● Confirmation bias suggests that we don’t perceive circumstances objectively. We pick out those bits of data that make us feel good because they confirm our prejudices. -
  21. 21. Backfire Effect ● The same part of the brain that responds to a physical threat responds to an intellectual one. ● We are biologically wired to react to threatening information to our core beliefs in the same way that we would react to being attacked by a predator. -
  22. 22. Gaming Fake News with Game Based Learning
  23. 23. Factitious A game that tests your news sense using examples of real and fake news.
  24. 24. Bad News Spread misinformation via a choose-your-own-adventure setup. Your task is to get as many followers as you can while slowly building up fake credibility as a news site.
  25. 25. The News Hero News Hero connects as a FaceBook game. It puts the player through the experience of running a publishing company. The game is divided into three levels, each informing the player on how to distinguish between fact and fiction.
  26. 26. Source Evaluation: News Quality, Media Bias, and Website Analysis
  27. 27. Quality Check - Comparing News lakes-arctic-republicans-climate-change/ lakes-are-bubbling-and-hissing-with-dangerous-greenhouse- gases/?noredirect=on&utm_term=.5407293768b1
  28. 28. News Quality ● Where do you find information? ● What influences your decisions? ● Where does it fall on the chart? ● What about other news sources you know?
  29. 29. Media Bias ● Can we trust what we read? ● How do we look at sources and stories with a more critical eye?
  30. 30. News Story Activity Get Started: Who is the author, producer or publisher? What kind of website is it? Look at the URL for clues. What kind of content is it? (News, Opinion, Satire, Advertising, Advocacy for a cause) What is the date? Is it Fake? Does the content match the headline? Does it seem too good or too outrageous to be true? Do the images seem altered or mismatched with the content? Does the story include facts or other evidence? Does the story name sources for the facts? If so, who are they and why should you believe them? Does the article/story seem to be selling something? Is it Biased? Are there stereotypes? Is there a lack of context? Is there unfair blame placed on one person, group or cause? Is the language or imagery loaded or sensational? Does the article include diverse experts or sources? Does it uphold journalism standards and ethics? Retrieved from schools/
  31. 31. Example Website Activity The CRAAP Test: ● Currency ● Relevance ● Authority ● Accuracy ● Purpose
  32. 32. Website Group Activity
  33. 33. Course Assignments, Instructor Feedback, and Final Reminders
  34. 34. IDS 159 - Strength through Cultural Diversity: Functioning Effectively in a Global Society ● Course assignment connection ○ Learning goal of the assignment: To develop skills to increase awareness and understanding of multiple perspectives in diversity-related issues ○ Students are required to use a variety of sources that represent a range of perspectives, including newspapers, websites, articles, and books. ○ Greater amount of time spent on source evaluation, media bias, and the addition of confirmation bias and backfire effect. ● Multiple sections for instruction ○ 3 in Fall 2018 ○ 2 in Spring 2019
  35. 35. Instructor Feedback Instructor noted an increase in the quality of sources used by students who had the “Fake News” session compared to students in previous classes. Instructor also noted that students were able to make clearer distinctions about bias within their own opinions as well as those that they found online.
  36. 36. ENG 151 - Introduction to Critical Reading ● Course runs one section every Fall and Spring semester ○ 5 sessions since Fall 2017 ● Not connected to any one assignment. The objective of the session is to help students expand their critical thinking skills when looking at online resources, whether for an assignment or just when browsing social media.
  37. 37. Instructor Feedback “My students are always quite engaged when Jennifer and Jessica come to class to talk about "fake news." The authentic examples they provide really draw my students into the conversation, and they always want to talk about what they have learned, even into the next class. Fake news is an interactive presentation that always gets my students ready to look for the "logical fallacies" we cover in our next course module.”
  38. 38. Other Courses and Feedback ● ACE 310J - Elements of Debate ○ ELC students - 30 to 50 English as a second language students ○ Greater focus on vocabulary and international topics ○ More time was spent on evaluating websites and finding different points of view online ● Library Workshop ○ Open to faculty, staff, students, and the public ○ Aim was to show attendees how to know what sources are worth citing, and which ones are bogus. ○ Lower attendance, however it led to email requests for sessions, including the IDS course. ○ It also prompted th addition of Fake News to our offered information literacy sessions.
  39. 39. Remind Students to Always Think Critically
  40. 40. Resources ● Avoiding Bad or Fake News, Miami University LibGuide - ● The Truthful, the Fake, the Bad, or the Biased, IL presentation - ● Handouts ○ CRAAP Test ○ Media Bias Grid ○ Evaluating News ○ Facilitator Agenda
  41. 41. Jessie Long Public Services Librarian Miami University Middletown Email: Telephone: 0015137273225 Twitter: @gnome_free Jennifer Hicks Circulation, Reserves, & ILL Supervisor Miami University Middletown Email: Telephone: 0015137273221 Twitter: @jenniohio