Social Media Week – Attacking “Fake News” Countless Ways…

Social Media Week Resources

On November 01, a great webinar by the American libraries live aired, tackling something that has been in the social media a lot, fake news. What I took away was not that term, used so frequently lately, which not new in concept, but the use of the phrase replacing others through the years.   I think many fail to realize that when it comes to hearing a new buzzword to a concept. This hit me with the news of Russia meddling and impacting social media and helping push forward the advent of fake news. Many other takeaways were given, and the webinar, represented by Nicole Cook, MS/LIS Program Director at the University of Illinois, Joanna M. Burkhadt, full librarian at the University of Rhode Island Universities, as well as Donald Barclay, Deputy University Librarian, provided some amazing resources that can be utilized during this Social Media Week.

When I first heard the term Fake news, it was associated with President Donald Trump’s rhetoric, but this webinar made me realize that this could also be referred to in past years, in terms like Yellow journalism, propaganda, information literacy, and basically finding the truth in news and information is at the base of this category. I do see the need to show students how to critically view news and information is vital and I am sure has come up this week during social media week. Another challenge is talking about this issue without making it political and dealing with the situation itself, that of what is fake, what is a credible source, etc. This webinar was stacked FULL with potential resources, so I am going to provide some pf the resources below Dunning-Kruger effect – I am a little unclear how/why this came up – this refers to the fact that individuals think they are better than they are, when their work is subpar at best. individuals think they are better than they are, when their work is subpar at best. 

I believe this could be the belief of knowing what an article is saying, believing it, when the article in reality is not based in truth at all. This does indeed set up a false sense of understanding, or believing, the information presented is legitimate.

This image shows how important an article can seem to be, and yet still have no substance while holding large audiences captive.

Screen Shot 2017-11-17 at 3.45.07 AM

Importance of “fake News”


I do like the fact that the topic of misinformation versus disinformation came up, the difference being, Disinformation versus misinformationMisinformation is accidental, while disinformation is purposely spread.

I do see the next term, click bait, representing how individuals can be tricked into clicking on something they feel is real, to the wealth or income of another – so this also can play with what is real and what is not real. When, in this webinar strategies were discussed to approach this topic, many creative ideas did begin to pour out.

One was being able to compare sources outside of their social media newsfeeds so students became familiar with unfamiliar sites and what they were encountering. It would be a good project to have students from say, Mexico, and the states, representing different classes share what they consider fake news from abroad, then compare to real news in their area. This helps bring actual aspects of news to the forefront of reinforcing what fake news is and discerning what is true and what is not. Another acronym you might be familiar with is CRAAP – which in evaluating sources stands for: Currency, Relevance, Authority, Accuracy, and Purpose.

Another strategy was this “A librarian here at PCT includes a tab in her libguide for because it applies to every subject” – I did like this site as it provides a great overview on how to critically look at and consider news sources. breaks down the process of critically thinking and makes it more physically in nature. This launches off another acronym, BRAIN (bias, reliability, authority, intent and new). I like that this breaks down how to approach various sources analytically.

This source, Stanford History Education Group article, offers free history resources related to fake news and plans to really delve into how to critically analyze information.

Yet another acronym, the CARS (Credibility, Accuracy, Reliability, Supporting references) test, suggests databases over random searches, and you can demo the website here – Factitious – (This game is super cool!)

Screen Shot 2017-11-17 at 3.53.17 AMAnd yet another acronym– ESCAPE – (Evidence, source, Context, Audience, Purpose, Execution) (cool poster here –  An open-source textbook referenced in a story on NPR looks useful: What I LOVE is this open source book provides even MORE sites to show and help detect if a source is valid –


Washington Post Fact Checker,


Truth be Told,

NPR Fact-Check,

Lie Detector (Univision, Spanish language)

Hoax Slayer

I also think open source books are AMAZING for resources for educators. What was mentioned in the webinar was repeated sources for Fact checking – Snopes for checking out validity of information, while Snopes was questioned at times for truly being free from bias. This just made me think of the ease, even with sites recommended free from flaws, similar to Wikipedia. I feel there is no excuse for anything but maintaining skills to discern how you can tell valid, solid facts from those not.

Surreal sites also exist discussing conscious awareness of topics (I am a little skeptical of these, lol) . It seems slightly surreal on this topic as it states the site, “…investigates thoughts and feelings that exist outside of conscious awareness or conscious control.”   I am not sure how I feel about this site yet I often, in a rush, have learned the Facebook posting lesson, when I share something, in a state of “hurriedness”, to find out from others it was old, not true, etc simply from not reading the inside of the post and just seeing the headline. A big learn lesson always follows after such a folly.

The site, reminds me of the opposing viewpoints books that often help readers think, contemplate, and consider both sides of an argument or social issue.

Karen Storz, a librarian specializing in topics of international nature, seems to be a great resource for resources that are of a primary documents nature to keep realistic information close by.

Having used Google all this time, I still was not a frequent visitor of, but also realize it is an important tool for discussion on discerning information and see that allows info to be valid. I did notice at this point, some references to having students realize they needed to “Put some elbow grease into it” and felt there was no real way of having this being interesting, it was just something that had to be done.

I of course disagreed as an educator because I felt my job was to turn all topics into something students did not think about, in order to draw them in. To me, that is the art of education, finding the spaces no one knows about to get points, educations, and concepts across. While everyone agreed that teaching critical thinking skills was necessary, it seemed to me a spin on how we participate the knowing of a culture, DEFINITELY takes longer working in a community of values. Especially with so much conversation dealing with politics, I like how this site breaks down these factions with information that can be organized much more clearly in my mind showing how different perspectives affect the news that we read and receive.

This article on fake news in a post fact world is a great read and source for discussion based on how much “rubble” we find ourselves having to wade through in a complicated news world today.

Also, this glossary of terms is essential for a thorough until that could be come discerning the role of fake news and the individual in today’s society.

When specific books were being mentioned, I listened. ESPECIALLY with the tax bill in the government now passing or not passing right now, Dark Money by Jane Sayer, never seemed more appropriate to this topic. Then there were the following books as well:

Metaliteracy Thomas Mackey and Jacobson

The Influencing Machine (Graphic Novel) . – Brooke Gladstone on the Media 

Social Problems -Joel Best

Deadly Decisions 

Amusing Ourselves to Death: Public Discourse in the Age of Show Business -Neil Postman 

The Organized Mind 

Don’t Think of an Elephant! Know Your Values and Frame the Debate- George Lakoff 

Thinking Fast and Slow

Taking on the stance when examining information such as, Who benefits from the info?, is a great way to discover an approach to analyze information for truth. In the chat for this webinar, someone posted, “I wish we would be more deliberate about actually teaching the “political economy of information. I presented yesterday to a group of school librarians and a significant number of them actually asked me why the Gilded Age editors did not just publish unbiased news. “

Wow. To me, that was a deep point and question and one worthy of a research topic, though, could it be that articles and information was biased and we just did not realize it? This toolkit for consumers and journalists also is a GREAT resource, including topics such as conflicts of interest and analyzing informational broadcasts and look below for,

if you can believe it,

even more resources to assist in the Detecting Fake News skills:

Journalism Code of Ethics

Web Literacy for Student Fact Checkers:

Campaign for Accountability 

One year on, we’re still not recognizing the complexity of information disorder online 

Melissa Harris Perry’s The Syllabus 

Facebook and Fake News



The Chicago Guide to Fact Checking is actually a really nice source of fact-checking method.

Tree Octopus and Velcro crop

Consequences of Reading Inaccurate Information

If you connect a public library with a school library, establish a scavenger hunt, and dead ends from fake clues versus real clues, it emphasizes that point

Politics & Current Affairs program

Pew Research Center in the Las Vegas Shooting

The Future of Truth and Misinformation Online 

Journalism Code of Ethics

I watched Eli Pariser’s TedTalks, on filter bubbles – how links were being chosen for individuals by editing out links that did not seem to match searches individuals do. Wow. That freaks me out a lot! 

In discussing movies and other materials that portray “what is real and what is not,” The Truman Show and the book A Million Little Pieces came to the front of the discussion as examples. I found myself also not familiar with the phrase, “Follow the Money” and found it was this – “Follow the money” is a catchphrase popularized by the 1976 drama-documentary motion picture All The President’s Men, which suggests a money trail or corruption scheme within high (often political) office. (Wikipedia).

In seeing that definition, I see how so much news and information can be a maze even with the basic skills to seek through the mixed signals of what is true, what might be true, etc.. Whoa. All this from ONE webinar. But after sifting through all this information, you also get the idea of how complicated, how intense the sifting and knowing what is correct, what is a myth, what is a story, what is not, etc…and the magic of having information and lessons to guide us towards a more further method of HOW to get better in sifting the mystery and complications news can provide today.

About Harry Brake

Employee of Woodbridge High School, Library Media Specialist, Media crazy! :)
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