June 26, 2019

Let's Teach Kids to Identify Fake News

“Here’s a New Year’s resolution — let’s teach 1 million teenagers how to spot fake news online by 2020.

Achieving this objective is vital in keeping our republic the strongest in the world. 2019 must be the year that we stop ignoring that our democracy, while still the standard, is becoming ill and requires our attention.

That’s why this year MediaWise, which is funded by Google.org, will be teaching a new generation of kids to become skilled evaluators of digital content.

And it’s truly needed — the data and anecdotal evidence reads like a poor medical screening.

How bad is it?

Manipulated photos and videos flood social media, hoaxers are able to compete with legitimate news sources, and foreign countries are attacking our country with disinformation. It’s no wonder teens are so confused as to what to believe online.

It has reached a chronic level, too. In a 2016 study from Stanford University, researchers evaluated students’ ability to assess information sources. The researchers described the results as “dismaying,” “bleak” and “[a] threat to democracy.”

MediaWise wants to change this, though. As part of the Google News Initiative, it aims to teach 1 million teenagers how to spot fake news on the internet by 2020, with at least half of them coming from underserved or low-income communities.

“If misinformation on the internet is a disease,” says Katy Byron, editor and program manager of MediaWise, “then MediaWise is like the Red Cross.””

Read more

JJ Editor's Daily Picks

"President Trump’s Iran policy over the weekend was both erratic and masterful. Doves and isolationists, panicked by what they see as the administration’s inexorable drift toward war, rejoiced when Mr. Trump announced that a military strike had..."

"This is the photo that encapsulates the cruelty of the Trump era: a father and daughter lying dead on the banks of the Rio Grande river, her tiny arm draped around his neck, drowned after an attempt to cross onto American soil and seek asylum..."

"Several months ago, a Palestine Liberation Organization body published an official document on the conflict. In its 37 pages, the organization put forth its views, with some readers seeing this as a clear endorsement of the two-state solution..."

"The first season of Big Little Lies was a clever trap. The show took what would have otherwise been an easily satirized narrative about affluent women and complicated it with their trauma; The Week's Lili Loofbourow succinctly called it "a kind..."

"There’s a story we like to tell about American capitalism. Ours is a country that prizes merit, rewards risk and stands apart in its commitment to the collective success of open markets and the free flow of capital. We are a nation of strivers..."

""IN THESE DAYS of anti-tech ire, it’s a popular cocktail hour topic: How much is Facebook making off my data? Last year, I spent a month trying to find out, hawking my personal data on blockchain-based marketplaces. I came away with $0.003. On..."

""At the end of May, TIAA, the financial services and investing giant, rolled out new gender-identity awareness guidelines for its client-facing consultants. The guidance included: “Never assume someone’s gender identity” and “Be aware that a..."

"An old saying goes that people become more conservative as they age. George Will’s new book, “The Conservative Sensibility,” shows that the opposite can be true. This book is not so much a brief for conservatism as it is a learned and lengthy..."

"Imagine if the dishes stopped getting done. Imagine if no one did the laundry, and it piled up, stained and mildewing in hampers and in piles on the floor. Imagine if no one fed the baby, or changed her, and imagine if no one made dinner..."

"In Japanese culture, kintsugi is the labor-intensive method of repairing broken pottery by reattaching pieces using a lacquer mixed with gold. The reconstructed item, glistening with golden “seams,” is in many ways more beautiful than it was..."

"The U.S. is currently experiencing the largest outbreak of measles since 1992. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, there have been more than 1,000 confirmed cases since January. Scientific research overwhelmingly support..."

"Among those participating was Jason Greenblatt, Washington’s Mideast mediator and one of the architects of the “Peace to Prosperity” workshop taking place here. Aryeh Lightsone, a top aid to US Ambassador to Israel David Friedman, gave a brief..."