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Saturday, October 19, 2019

Studies test ways to slow the spread of fake news | Science & Society - Science News for Students

Learning how to tell truth from fabrications can slow the spread of bogus claims, Kathiann Kowalski, Science Journalist explains. 
The difference between fact and fiction isn’t always obvious in online news and information. Careful fact-checking can help you find out what’s real and what’s not.
Photo: Fokusiert/iStock/Getty Images Plus
On June 26, an article at a website that writes about politics wrongly claimed three migrants were being held at the United States’ southern border with “an unknown disease.” The only quotes about the claim came from an unnamed “medical professional.” Daniel Funke decided to dig deeper. Government border officials had no record of the supposed disease outbreak, this PolitiFact fact-checker found. Nor did the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta, Ga.

With no evidence to back up the claim, PolitiFact rated this story false. By then, however, other websites had repeated the bogus charge. Many people also shared it on social media.

It was a lie. And spreading it would likely fuel fear of refugees who hope to escape violence in their home countries.

New research sheds light on who shares made-up — or “fake” — news. Another study shows how hard it can be to spot made-up news. Additional projects explore how we can all be better fact-checkers...

Make it a habit  
“You can apply fact-checking in whatever you are reading,” Salo says. He thinks of it as “a simplified approach to scientific thinking.” In both cases, you want to use logic and rely on sound data or research. You want to arrive at the truth.

“I think of it almost as a detective search,” says Reyes at the News Literacy Project. “I’m trying to see what’s real and what’s not. I know there are people out there who are out to fool me. I’m trying not to get fooled.”
Read more... 

Source: Science News for Students