How to teach students about fake websites


Fake news is it new?

Fake news might be the word of the year but fooling people into believing something false is nothing new! Just look at this newspaper article from 1940. Why do you think people profit from spreading fake news? What can be the reason to write this article?

Today it is easier to spread fake news than it has ever been, and it is our responsibility to prevent this from happening. Anytime you read something unbelievable, you should ask yourself this question; “If it seems unbelievable and shocking to you, might it be because it is actually false?” Do you really want to be the person who spreads this news to your friends? If a future employer Googles you, what will they find? If a story is too “good” to be true, it might just be false. The most incriminating facts usually have an agenda. Like in the case of the Parkland shootings in Florida in 2018. Many members of the NRA were afraid of losing their right to bear arms and they spread news that the students who protested were actors and that Emma Gonzales tore up the constitution. It is easy to see how people could be upset when they see her do that in a picture. We tend to believe pictures more than words. Still, we owe it to ourselves to always check our sources when we look for information. We can all be responsible in stopping the spreading of Fake News! Fake Twitter handles is also a source for Fake News. Be sure that the person you are following or quoting is a real person!

Discussion topics

  1. This picture from Fukushima, Japan, shows us the effect of The Fukushima Daiichi nuclear disaster at the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant in Ōkuma. Explain how you can be certain that this is true?
  2. Sometimes fake news can backfire. Read this article from the Parkland shooting and explain how the students are able to make the lies to their advantage.
  3. Dogs can now find a new place to live at dog island. Discuss why you think this is a good idea and if this is something you would suggest to you friends who have dogs?
  4. Would you ever consider spreading fake news if you thought it was of your best interest? Visit this website and produce your own fake news. What topic would you choose? What are your chances of success?
  5. What does this picture say about how we trust the news today? Source: The New York Times

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