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This week we will take a look at fake news: how to spot it, how it goes viral, how to monetize it.

“Fake news” is a term for a false news story: the story itself is fabricated, with no verifiable facts, sources or quotes, or it is intentional misinformation or disinformation.

So why do people create fake news? Sometimes these stories may be propaganda efforts to smear a political opponent, or the article may be written as “clickbait” written for monetization.

How misinformation and disinformation is produced is directly related to who the author(s) is and the different reasons why it is created. 

Who are the authors?  They may be:

  • Someone wanting to make money, regardless of the content of the article (for example, Macedonian teenagers)
  • Satirists who want to either make a point or entertain you, or both
  • Poor or untrained journalists – the pressure of the 24 hour news cycle as well as the explosion of news sites may contribute to poor writing that doesn’t follow professional journalistic ethics.
  • Politicians who want to influence political beliefs and policy makers.

Some fake news even goes viral. Below is an example of a classic fake news story.

Snake Story

 

Lab Assignments Week Eight:

  1. First, take this brief quiz to test your ability to spot fake news. Please verbally tell me your score when you finish (I scored a 2 out of 7).
  2. Create your own fake news story.
    1. Begin by creating a new page and adding the page to your drop down menu of Lab Work.
    2. The topic is your choosing. I suggest you begin with locating pictures you may wish to use using Google Images. For example, if I wanted to create a story about how a local, thrifty, millionaire family lives in a makeshift tree house to save money, I would search Google Images for “dilapidated tree house” and another search for “indigent family,” and use these pictures to create the narrative about this family’s fictional story.
    3. then fictionalizing a story based on the pictures.
    4. Include pictures in your story and caption each picture.
    5. Make it sensational — one that people will want to read more about — and this begins with an engaging headline followed by a fantastic story.
  3. Create an “about me” page. First, on your dashboard, add a new page; don’t forget to add it to your main menu (not part of a drop down menu). Please take a look at 5 tips for writing an effective “about me” page. I hope when I look at your page, it reflects that you read and incorporated these tips into your page.