Right here’s the primary fall 2022 installment of a weekly characteristic I’ve been operating for a number of years: classes from the nonprofit Information Literacy Challenge (NLP), which goals to show college students and the general public easy methods to type reality from fiction in our digital and contentious age. There has by no means been a time in latest U.S. historical past when this ability has been as vital, due to the unfold of rumors and conspiracy theories on social and partisan media websites.
Detecting imposter content on social media
NLP was based greater than a decade in the past by Alan Miller, a Pulitzer Prize-winning former reporter on the Los Angeles Instances, and it has change into the main supplier of stories literacy schooling within the nation. You possibly can be taught extra concerning the group and its assets and applications right here.
The fabric on this submit comes from The Sift, the group’s e-newsletter for educators, which has almost 22,000 subscribers. Printed weekly in the course of the faculty yr, it explores well timed examples of misinformation, addresses media and press freedom matters, explores social media tendencies and points, and consists of dialogue prompts and actions for the classroom. Get Good About Information, modeled on The Sift, is a free weekly e-newsletter for the general public.
NLP has an e-learning platform, Checkology, that helps educators educate center and highschool college students easy methods to establish credible data, search out dependable sources, and know what to belief, what to dismiss and what to debunk.
It additionally provides them an appreciation of the significance of the First Modification and a free press. Checkology, and all the NLP’s assets and applications, are free. Since 2016, greater than 42,000 educators and 375,000 college students in all 50 states, the District of Columbia and greater than 120 different international locations have registered to make use of the platform.
Right here’s materials from the Could 19 version of The Sift:
Dig deeper: Don’t miss this week’s classroom-ready useful resource.
1. About 1 in 5 movies routinely prompt on TikTok comprise misinformation, in keeping with a brand new report from NewsGuard. Search outcomes on urgent and consequential matters — together with vaccines, abortion, local weather change, faculty shootings, the 2020 election, the Jan. 6 revolt and the battle in Ukraine — are affected by deceptive movies on the favored social media platform, NewsGuard researchers mentioned. TikTok is likely one of the hottest domains on this planet, particularly amongst younger individuals.
NewsGuard analyzed 540 TikTok search outcomes, out of which they discovered 105 movies “contained false or deceptive claims.” Additionally they discovered that when customers entered impartial phrases, like “local weather change,” the platform prompt searches for false statements like “local weather change doesn’t exist.”
• Talk about: Do you employ TikTok? If sure, what sort of movies do you watch on the platform? How usually do you see TikTok movies about present points and occasions? How are you going to inform whether or not a video is factual or not? Have you ever ever reported a video for misinformation on TikTok? Do you assume methods like consumer studies and AI expertise are efficient at filtering misinformation on social media?
• Concept: In small teams, have college students search a trending information subject on TikTok. Ask them to report the searches TikTok suggests as they sort of their subject. Subsequent, ask college students to view the highest 5 movies of their outcomes and consider the credibility of every: Is the video factually correct? Inaccurate? Are they uncertain? Lastly, have scholar teams focus on their observations and share concepts about easy methods to confirm TikTok content material.
• Useful resource: “Introduction to Algorithms” (NLP’s Checkology digital classroom).
◦ “For Gen Z, TikTok Is the New Search Engine” (Kalley Huang, the New York Instances).
◦ “Teenagers Now Flip to TikTok Extra Than Google — however Not for Schoolwork” (Nadia Tamez-Robledo, EdSurge).
◦ “Lawmakers Grill TikTok Government About Ties to China” (David McCabe, the New York Instances).
Dig Deeper: Use this assume sheet to discover how TikTok’s search outcomes yield deceptive data.
2. It’s been 130 years since a previously enslaved man borrowed $200 to launch the Afro-American newspaper in Baltimore. Generally known as the Afro, the award-winning paper just lately marked its anniversary and describes itself as a supply of “excellent news concerning the Black group not in any other case discovered.”
• Concept: Have college students look at the information protection featured on Afro.com. What sort of tales do they see? How would possibly these tales be of curiosity to the information publication’s viewers? What distinguishes this outlet’s protection from extra mainstream information sources?
• One other thought: Ask college students to make use of this map to discover media shops throughout the US that primarily serve Black communities.
NO: The screenshot on this tweet just isn’t a real article revealed by CNN.
YES: This can be a piece of impostor content material designed to seem like a CNN article.
NO: Local weather and climate will not be the similar factor.
YES: World warming and local weather change may cause extreme winter climate.
NewsLit takeaway: Impostor content material is commonly designed to launder defective concepts via a reputable supply. Utilizing a fabricated CNN headline to push this falsehood accomplishes two issues: It lends credibility to a demonstrably false declare for many who are inclined to consider it, and it impugns CNN’s repute and credibility for many who aren’t. Bear in mind, whereas climate modifications from one season to the subsequent, the impacts of local weather change will be felt all year long. Conflating climate with local weather is a standard technique used to attenuate the magnitude of local weather change. Recognizing this distinction makes us all much less vulnerable to local weather change misinformation.
NO: This isn’t a real message from Trump about being knighted in non-public by the queen.
NO: This message was by no means posted to Trump’s account on Fact Social, the previous president’s social media platform.
YES: This can be a fabricated Fact Social submit that went viral on Twitter.
NewsLit takeaway: Be skeptical of alleged social media messages that solely flow into in picture type as screenshots. A plethora of on-line instruments make fabricating photographs of social media messages fairly straightforward. Whereas these doctored items of impostor content material can seem convincing, one massive crimson flag provides these messages away as fakes: They don’t have URLs linked to the social media profile of the topic (on this case Trump), and lots of of those alleged posts have the identical variety of likes and shares. We’ve coated related items of impostor content material, and you may get a rundown on easy methods to examine any such rumor right here.
• As scholar journalists have change into extra vocal concerning the threats and intimidation they face, new analysis underscores the significance of getting ready journalism college students to deal with on-the-job harassment.
• That is the primary faculty yr that media literacy is required in Illinois excessive faculties, and it may be taught in any topic, even in bodily schooling class.