Questions for ‘Studies test ways to slow the spread of fake news’


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.

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To accompany feature “Studies test ways to slow the spread of fake news


Before Reading

1.  Fake news is all around us. While presented as real, this “news” actually is made up or deliberately false or misleading. Do you think it’s harmful? Why or why not?

2.  When you see news online, how often do you think about whether you should trust the “facts” being presented? What kinds of steps do you take to judge whether the material is trustworthy?           

During Reading:

1.  What was potentially damaging about the false claim that three migrants were being held at the southern border of the United States with “an unknown disease”?

2.  What are three other examples of ways that fake news can be harmful or dangerous?  

3.  What are three key findings of the study by the Pew Research Center cited in the story?    

4.  In the Pew study, what reasons did people give for sharing false information even when they knew it was false? According to Damaso Reyes, why is that a problem?

5.  What did Sam Wineburg and Sarah McGrew learn when they studied how college students, historians and professional fact-checkers evaluated information online?

6.  What are three sneaky tactics that fake news sites might use to fool people into thinking the claims they’re presenting are trustworthy? How do professional fact checkers detect such tricks?

7.  What is the purpose of the online game Bad News, created by social psychologists Sander van der Linden and Jon Roozenbeek? What did these researchers learn about people who played the game?  

8.  What does “click restraint” mean, and why is it important?

9.  How does Faktabaari’s system for rating online claims work? 

10. According to the story, fact-checking gets easier and faster the more you do it. But what should you do if you read something you’re uncertain about and you don’t have time to check the facts right away?

After Reading

1.  What are three clues that an online article might be presenting fake news? How could a sneaky website fool people into believing their false “facts”?   

2.  Speaking up when friends or family members are sharing fake news can be uncomfortable. Can you think of two ways of doing so that you feel able to do the next time you encounter someone you know sharing false information?