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MediaWise program teaches teens to spot fake content on social media

Posted at 1:01 PM, Mar 26, 2019

A tidal wave of information hits us daily from the moment we open our phone and computer, and when it comes to social media, spotting "fake" from "fact" before you share news and photos takes some work!

"More people are getting their information through social media,” says Katy Byron, program director of MediaWise with the Poynter Institute.

Byron points to a Stanford University study, explaining just how widespread the issue of deciphering fiction from non-fiction is among teens.

"More than 80 percent of teenagers don't know the difference between a real news story and a native advertisement online," says Byron.

This is why Poynter’s MediaWise program was created.

"We want to reach 1 million teens by 2020," says Byron.

The program uses teen fact checkers that post social media videos to help others to determine what is real and what’s not.

The crusade of teens across the country are also helping others determine how to debunk misinformation.

“I think this is something anyone can do right now,” Byron says.

Byron says before sharing pictures and articles online, ask yourself these three questions:

1. Who's behind the information?

2. What is the evidence?

3. What do other sources say?

"I hope that we reach as many kids as we can with the curriculum and what we are teaching on our social media channels, so that they'll take these skills with them throughout their lives," Byron says.