A recent study offers a bright picture of the future.
Research from Miskatonic University reveals students have an excellent ability to tell a fake news story from a real one.
Professor Andrew Canard lead the research team. “The public schools in the United States do a fantastic job preparing youth for a world where nefarious actors attempt to sway opinions with fake news articles,” he said.
Researchers tested elementary, middle school, high school, and college students from every state. The subjects saw a variety of tweets, blog posts, and news articles — some were real and others made up.
Professor Canard’s team repeatedly used terns like “incredible,” “wow,” and “these kids sure do now how to check their sources.”
Students regularly could determine opinion pieces versus straight news articles. They were rarely fooled by professional looking About pages on fake news sites. And most important of all, they always checked trusted news sources (The New York Times, Washington Post, BBC News, etc.) on any story that looked suspicious.
Here are other findings:
- Students understood Sponsored Content on sites meant advertisements and not real news articles.
- Articles, blog posts, and tweets that seemed too good to be true or designed to manipulate emotions were easily identified.
- Photographs were viewed skeptically. Students regularly asked themselves, Has this been photoshopped?
- Everyone questioned understood media messages can be manipulated to support an interest group’s agenda.
- 109% of study participants quickly identified peer reviewed journals as well as fringe sources of information.
This Poe is based on the 2016 NPR piece: Students Have ‘Dismaying’ Inability To Tell Fake News From Real, Study Finds