Can You Find the Truth?

by Demetrios.C.Orton.Hatzis on February 5, 2017 - 10:48pm

A summary of “Students Have 'Dismaying' Inability To Tell Fake News From Real, Study Finds”

By: Camila Domonoske


In an article about students and their ability to recognise fake news, Camila Domonoske relays a sobering discovery made by a research team from Stanford. The study asked “middle school, high school and college students in 12 states [..] to evaluate the information presented in tweets, comments and articles.” The researchers even mentioned “they weren't looking for high-level analysis of data but just a ‘reasonable bar’ of, for instance, telling fake accounts from real ones, activist groups from neutral sources and ads from articles”. While none of this seems terribly difficult, the results gleaned from this study are abysmal. Just a few of the highlights include, “Most middle school students can't tell native ads from articles”, “Most high school students accept photographs as presented, without verifying them” and “Most college students didn't suspect potential bias in a tweet from an activist group.”

At first, being college student myself I was slightly put off, but then I realized that very rarely do I actually double-check the random facts that I am bombarded with on a daily basis. Its only when I do research for a school paper that I pay attention to sourcing and biases and before looking it up today, I had no idea that Native advertisements existed, that is an advertisement that is written to look like an editorial, comment piece or even news piece on big media cites. After reading this article I realised the researchers were right when they said, “many assume that because young people are fluent in social media they are equally savvy about what they find there. Our work shows the opposite.”
            So now I must raise the question. Can you find the truth?

About the author

I am a CEGEP (kinda like Quebec's College) student, 4th semester, was born and raised in and around Montreal, am very opinionated and raring to start any kind of ideological back and forth, could probably argue my way out of a metal box, and have at least a few years experience skeptically eyeing