Last week, Paul Horner — a creator of fake news sites who is convinced that his work helped to turn the tide in Trump’s favor in America’s presidential election — sat for an interview with the Washington Post. In that interview, Horner explained why he thought that fake news stories gain so much traction in social spaces.
Here’s what he wrote:
Stew in that for a minute, would you?
Here’s a guy who earns a living peddling lies — about world leaders, about important events, about controversial issues — who recognizes just how easy it can be to manipulate thinking in a world where no one questions the content that they come across in their online lives. That IS scary, isn’t it. After all, Horner ain’t the only guy with motivation to manipulate thinking. He’s just the only one willing to talk about it publicly.
Acting responsibly in a world with no filters between publishers and consumers means recognizing that anyone with an agenda can push their ideas — no matter how intentionally flawed they may be — out to huge audiences with nothing more than an Internet connection. If we are going to develop “global, critical citizens ready to change the world for the better” — a goal that I certainly believe in — our students MUST learn to consume content with a critical eye.
So what are YOU doing to teach those skills?
Blogger’s Note: If teaching students to judge the reliability of online sources is important to you, check out this lesson on my Teachers Pay Teachers website. It introduces students to three simple questions that kids can ask to spot fake news sources.
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