Bruce Nauman, Knows Doesn't Know, 1983. Footage captured at the Venice Biennale 2015
The Beginning of a new year is a time that people look at ways of improving themselves. We looked at the Top Ten New Years Resolutions and found these:
1 Lose Weight
2 Getting Organized
3 Spend Less, Save More
4 Enjoy Life to the Fullest
5 Staying Fit and Healthy
6 Learn Something Exciting
7 Quit Smoking
8 Help Others in Their Dreams
9 Fall in Love
10 Spend More Time with Family
English Language is Dying in UK Schools (fake)
Miss Columbia is Suing Steve Harvey (fake)
Hitler is Still Alive (fake!)
Blondes are Going Extinct (fake)
Many rumors about the Bangkok Bombing suspect turned out to be fake, mistranslated or knee-jerk reactions made in a panic
These stories are all false, and we aren't linking them as we don't want to fuel anyone's ad revenue that published such things. There are a variety of reasons that fake news is created and spread, occasionally parody articles are taken as serious journalism (we love parody news, it's a shame the real news comes so close sometimes they can be confused,) miscommunications happen, some journalism is sloppy but there are also people that intentionally troll or create fake statistics and articles for their own agendas and profit.
As Teachers, we encourage our students to think critically and evaluate information. Whether you're a Teacher, Student or not, we are all now more than consumers of information, we all create profiles, curate articles and information to share on social media. Everyone now curates content and all of us also can produce content if we wish to do so. The amount of information on the internet is staggering and still growing. All of us have content filtered out, whether Google ranks it low, Facebook leaves it out of your news feed, Twitter becomes too cluttered to read and we also filter and scan out things on our own, often without thinking. Even when false stories are not believed, they take up space where important content could be.
How should people spot fake news? First, check the source. If the source is unknown to you, see if a trusted source also has the same story. If the news is breaking and on Twitter, be aware that many rumors circulate there and look at the reputation of those tweeting and retweeting the story and if you share the story, do so informing people it's unconfirmed. Some viral stories are created because they will be shared, and snopes.com often will try to verify those stories.
In addition to not sharing fake stories, you can also keep them from being spread by others. Fake stories are such a widespread problem, most social media now have report functions especially for fake stories. If a friend shares a fake story, you can politely point out it's fake or send them a message. Some social media pages try to post as many stories as possible with the truthfulness of the stories being a non-issue, and you can point out their strategy and unfollow or unsubscribe from those pages. Pages and people you follow that do care about the truthfulness and value of their stories can also be followed and shared with others, as the good information can help to drown out the bad.
Happy New Year to all and Share Smartly!