Sticky notes with Real news and fake news written on them
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Misinformation and disinformation have become so commonplace in our everyday lives that we may not even recognize how prevalent they are or how to properly identify them. A good place to start is learning the difference between misinformation and disinformation.

Misinformation is false information that is spread, regardless of whether there is intent to mislead.

Disinformation is misinformation that is knowingly or intentionally spread.

Rumor Guard

Rumor Guard is a website that was created to help recognize and stop misinformation. The website fact-checks viral rumors and provides tips to help users build their literacy skills and evaluate stories they see online.

They evaluate each topic using five different factors:

  • Authenticity: Is it authentic?
  • Source: Has it been posted or confirmed by a credible source?
  • Evidence: Is there evidence that proves the claim?
  • Context: Is the context accurate?
  • Reasoning: Is it based on solid reasoning?

This site is useful in that it acknowledges current events and stories that are going viral, and it provides an easy-to-understand formula that people can use on their own to identify if a story is true or if it is full of misinformation. I think this approach is effective because it offers guidance on stories that are currently in the media that people may be subjected to and helps them identify ways in which they are true or not. This is a tool that I find beneficial in educating media literacy in terms of misinformation.

Fake It To Make It

Fake it to make it is a game you can play with the goal of making profit off of sharing fake news to specific target audiences. There are various goals you have to achieve, such as triggering a certain feeling or getting a certain amount of shares from a certain political party.

This game, while incredibly time-consuming, was fairly entertaining. It provides insight into tactics people may use to trigger emotion, gain views and shares, and increase their profits through sharing misinformation. I did not find it particularly useful in terms of teaching about misinformation or how to identify misinformation. Because of this, I do not think this is a useful tool for teaching or eradicating misinformation, but it is more likely to showcase how easy it is for misinformation to spread if you target the right audience.

Overall, it is up to us as media consumers to prioritize our media literacy. There are many educational tools available, but not all of them provide guidance that we can apply to our daily media consumption to identify truth. Learning to identify and working to eradicate misinformation will take a conscious effort.

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