Fake news

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.

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Assembly

Watch this video on how fake news can spread.

Activities

  1. 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?
  2. Learn how fake news can spread with iReporter, a game developed by BBC News.
  3. Create your own poster or video which gives tips on how to spot fake news.