Over the last two years, a new phrase has entered the common lexicon: fake news. It was even the 2017 “word of the year”.
It all started around the time of Donald Trump’s election as US president in November 2016. When trying to understand what had happened, some blamed the sudden growth of false, pro-Trump news stories which had spread on Facebook.
The term quickly took on a life of its own — Trump has accused countless reputable journalists and news organisations of pushing fake news, and governments are investigating the social media companies which help it to spread.
Meanwhile, schools have begun teaching their students media literacy; earlier this year, a National Literacy Trust survey found that only 2% of students in the UK had the skills they need to spot fake news.
The Day is a great place to start. Every news story is thoroughly researched using multiple sources, and includes a simple Q&A which separates what we know from we do not know. There are several more reliable sources linked under the Become An Expert section. And the debate at the end of each story encourages clear-eyed, fact-based discussions between young people.
Read more about fake news in this special report.
Read Our Stories
True or false? Only 2% get the answers right
Educate readers or clamp down on sources? A new report found that half of students worry about fake news. MPs say this is harming their “wellbeing, trust in journalism and democracy itself”.
Six years in prison for sharing fake news
Should passing on fake news be a crime? In Malaysia anyone convicted can now face a lengthy jail sentence or a huge fine. Some Western nations are planning their own anti-fake news laws.
Fake news spreads ‘faster, deeper’ than truth
Is human nature to blame? A new study tracked the spread of falsehoods on Twitter and found that they are 70% more likely to be retweeted than truth. Why? Because lies are more surprising…
Watch this video on how fake news can spread.
- As a class, discuss whether you have seen any fake news stories on social media recently. Did you fall for them? If you didn’t, how did you know they were not true?
- Learn how fake news can spread with iReporter, a game developed by BBC News.
- Create your own poster or video which gives tips on how to spot fake news.