Magazine article Times Educational Supplement

We Must Stop Pupils Getting Tangled Up in a Web of Lies

Magazine article Times Educational Supplement

We Must Stop Pupils Getting Tangled Up in a Web of Lies

Article excerpt

The troubling trend of fake news online is threatening to leave pupils misinformed about the world they live in - but teachers can help them to filter out the unreal, says TES' ed tech columnist

For me, the best and worst things about the internet are two sides of the same coin: anyone can post and share almost anything online, which is great, but then again this means anyone can post and share almost anything - potentially troublesome, to say the least.

Facebook has recently made headlines following the "fake news" fiasco in the aftermath of the US election. Once it was just a place where you could keep in touch with that mate from uni who now lives in Sydney and like each other's selfies, but over the years our timelines have moved on and the increasing presence of news is clear.

Yes, Facebook has now transformed into an important source of news, putting it up there with newspapers and broadcasters in terms of consumption. People share news with their "friends" and "followers" now at levels that they didn't before.

Perhaps this, coupled with the advertising platforms that now exist on Facebook and its competitors, is why completely made-up stories like "Barack Obama admits he was born in Kenya" have become more common.

It begs the question: is the internet leaving us more misinformed?

Fake headlines can perhaps be somewhat amusing, but behind them lies a pretty big problem: a lot of us are vulnerable to such stories, even if we might like to believe we're not. …

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