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This page lists readings, resources, examples, criteria for identifying and evaluating fake news, as plus some assignments that address fake news


Some key angles for synthesizing texts on fake news are definitions of fake news, the history of fake news, the extent to which it is a
serious problem, where it comes from, what causes it, what solutions are being proposed (especially by educators) and how/whether
critical digital literacy skills can enable us to identify and evaluate fake news. Some  examined particular cases in order to explore one
of these angles. 



Introduction: Understanding "Fake" News 


Introductory Texts for Exploring the History, Causes, Effects, Definitions and Solutions 

THese texts introduce definitions of fake news, the history of fake news, the extent to which it is new and a problem, where
it comes from, what causes it, what solutions are being proposed (especially by educators) and how/whether critical digital literacy 
skills can enable us to interrogate fake news. The following short texts introduce the issue and address these questions.  

  1.  Stoll, “The Long and Brutal History of Fake News” Jacob Soll, Politico, December 18, 2016  
  2. Fake News Expert On How False Stories Spread and Why People Believe Them” On NPR’s “Fresh Air” Craig Silverman of BuzzFeed News explains how false 
    stories spread during the presidential campaign.  
  3. Reader, “How We Got to Post-Truth” Fast Company,  11.18.16.  
  4. Gray, “Lies, propaganda & fake news: A challenge for our age” BBC News, 1 March 2017 
  5. Caplan, “How do you deal with a problem like “fake news?”” Robyn Caplan, Data & Society, Jan 05, 2017. 
  6. How to Stop the Spread of Fake News: NYTimes Room for Debate” November 22, 2016  
  7. Meyer, "The Rise of Progressive Fake news" The Atlantic, Feb 03. 2017. 


First Draft news, a non-profit organization that provides "practical and ethical guidance in how to find, verify and publish content sourced from the social web," was 
used by some as a resource for students. It has reading lists on fake news, definitions, a time line tracking key moments in the debate about fake news, and tools for 
addressing fake news. Here is the reading list.  FirstDraftNews has a "fake news quiz" to introduce the issue.  For a lighter, zanier and more entertaining examination 
of fake news, you could use professor Mark Marino's Fake news Reader. Along with large helpings of satire (likely to sail past most first year students) there are some 
great resources. 


Videos & Podcasts for Introducing Fake News


Late Night Comedy Videos for Introducing Fake News


Sample Fake News Stories from before and after the 2016 Election

A) What does the story or post say?  B) Does it seem credible? Why or why not? C) How can you tell? What criteria or tools did you use to determine credibility? 
Work through some critical digital literacy exercises.  Start with reverse image searches on the pictures on the stories. Examine who links to the site and where the 
site's links go. Who owns the site - what can you find out?  

  1. Private Email Server story
  2. Amnesty Plans Story about how Obama and Clinton are promising amnesty to non-citizens who vote
  3. Pope Endorsement (copy saved at archive.org. Images missing. Ask students to examine links, esp."About Us").  Story appeared on Facebook feeds like this
  4. Benton Strategy Group Leaked Report, "Salvage" Plan 
  5. Clinton Adviser Scandal (skim report, but look at the first 10 comments - what are they like? 
  6. Twitter posts by Alex Jones on Podesta "Scandal
  7. Election results 
  8. Now: are protests against Trump staged and full of paid protesters? (retweeted by president Trump)
  9. This timeline of key moments in fake news by the FirstDraftNews organization does a wonderful job tracking fake news stories and has links to key articles.   
  10.  The "Pizzagate" story (claims hacked emails show child sex ring operating out of Pizza parlor that hosted dinners for democratic party leaders.) A related
    fake news story led to a twitter war between Jake Tapper of CBS news, and General Flynn's son (and perhaps the strangest interchange ever seen between 
    a chief of staff and a journalist.) 
    David Graham, claims "The 'Comet Pizza' Gunman Provides a Glimpse of a Frightening Future" (The Atlantic Monthly, Dec 5, 2016).   


Sample Fake Sites with Debunking Guide

These fake sites can be used for analysis. They come with model "debunkings."

  1. Army Sniper Takes Out Neighbor’s Home Intruder From Bedroom Window. Here is how the story was debunked 
  2. Over 30,000 scientists say 'Catastrophic Man-Made Global Warming' is a complete hoax and science lie. Here is how it was debunked. For Revkin's comments 
    (and similar sites) see this sit
  3. Check the "about" link at bottom of global warming story page. http://www.naturalnews.com/About.html It says, "Website Affiliations. Natural News stories 
    are frequently copied and posted by other alternative news organizations, including Infowars.com, DailyPaul.com and a variety of other sites spanning subjects 
    as diverse as the environment, liberty, self-sufficiency and vaccines." The fact that Infowars is a major distributor of the site is a red flag.

Use the criteria from "Evaluating Sources in a ‘Post-Truth’ World: Ideas for Teaching and Learning About Fake News," especially the On the Media Checklist, or professor 
Melissa Zimdar's checklist and collection of fake news sites to examine the sites above.


Examples, Games & Quizzes

  1. This NYT article ("How to Tell Fake News From Real News:") has exercises and examples.  It gives these 4 examples (all fake). You could ask students to view 
    them and determine which seem true. Pig Rescues Goat  Worst Twerk Fail EVER — Girl Catches Fire    Mexican Red Rump Tarantula Missing in Brooklyn   
    Post a Facebook Copyright Status to Protect Your Information
  2. Fake news quiz from BBC and from from the Telegraph. Could be used with the Kahoot web site/game to do in-class competitions to identify fake news. 



Roll Your Own Fake News

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