For years, teacher librarians have been teaching students not just how to run online searches but how important it is to authenticate information found.
But over the last 12-18 months with the preponderance of ‘fake news’ popping up not just on the internet but in usually reliable print publications such as newspapers and journals, the impact ‘fake news’ has had on our world has been the subject of much discussion around the globe.
So it is refreshing to see that the conversation has now started to shift from how dangerous fake news is to how to spot and combat fake news.
Perhaps under threat from mega million law suits, Facebook has been one of the first to take a lead by informing users of some basic tips on how to spot false news.
For a few brief days in mid April this year, Facebook users in just 14 countries got to see this alert:
from where they could read through the following concise and useful tips on how to spot false news:
Why only 14 countries were included in this roll out and why the alert was only live for a few days is a complete mystery. Given the value this kind of shared information can have in the fight against the spread of misleading and false information, one can only hope that Facebook was testing the ground and will come back to making this a permanent alert available to global Facebook users.
As reported by engadget recently, Google also is attempting to stamp out the spread of fake news by inserting a ‘Fact check by’ tag on searches on contentious issues.
Another interesting development this week is the announcement by Wikipedia founder Jimmy Wales.
WikiTRIBUNE is being developed as a new kind of news platform. By calling on the community to work hand-in-hand with journalists, the aim is to verify and edit facts before they appear online. Using crowdfunding to hire 14 journalists, it is intended that WikiTRIBUNE, like Wikipedia, will be free to access.
WikiTRIBUNE is set to differ from other news outlets in four specific ways:
- the news source will be clearly stated
- access to WikiTRIBUNE will be free and ad free
- contributors from both the community and journalists will be equals
- to achieve full transparency donors will be informed where money goes
Read more about the purpose and nature of WikiTRIBUNE in this excellent engadget article Wikipedia co-founder launches Wikitribune to fight fake news or listen to Jimmy Wales himself as he invites the world to come on board.