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Image credit: Reuters
Facebook has been hitting headlines for all wrong reasons, yet again. For the past couple of weeks, Facebook has been dealing with the fake news issue, triggered by the US Presidential elections. However, it seems like a part of a bigger problem altogether. There have been reports in the past on how an increasing number of people depend on social platforms as a news source.
Now, a study by Stanford University conducted on 7804 students from middle school through college reveals that students can’t really tell the difference between fake news ad real news. According to the survey, the teens and pre-teens showed poor research skills. It further added how the lack of libraries in the digital world we live in has led them to depend on such news online without any fact checking.
According to the survey, 82 percent students failed to spot the difference between ‘sponsored content’ and real news story on a website. Furthermore, two out of three middle-school student said that they would trust a post by a bank executive regarding financial planning, and most of them determine credibility depending upon the length of a tweet or photo, rather than the source.
Both Facebook and Google have been working to curb the problem. Recently, a team of four from Princeton University came up with a solution for tackling fake news with FiB at a hackathon in mere 36 hours.
However, all this may not be enough. As the WSJ report points out there are fewer schools with librarians teaching research skills. While teens and preteens are busy updating social sites and getting all the latest news from social websites, they still find it hard to check on credibility and accuracy of a news. The report points out that a free Stanford social-studies curriculum ‘teaching students to judge the trustworthiness of historical sources has been downloaded 3.5 million times’.