There is a lot of fake news on the web and on social media, but now we can learn to get better at deciding what is fake online. It is a research group at Uppsala University that has developed a digital self-test , Nyhetsvärderaren , which will make us better at source criticism.
The test shows a number of news published on the web or on social media. Then you have to indicate how likely it is that the news is true. After a few questions, you will know the answers along with tips on how you can work to discover if the news is genuine or not. After that, you will have to answer further questions where you can test the methods you have just learned.
An important area of use for the News Evaluator is to teach school students to identify fake news. The tool has also been tested among students. 200 students had to decide if a series of news items were genuine or not. The group that had to test the News Evaluator before showed clearly better results than the others.
Many of the tips that the News Evaluator provides are simple actions that anyone can take. It can be about things like opening a new search tab, doing reverse image searches and primarily choosing search results that come from a source you recognize. Nothing complicated, but it's more about knowing that those methods exist and making it a habit to use them.
But even though the measures may be easy to use, it was not as easy to construct a tool that teaches us to be more source-critical.
- As a research leader in the project, I am surprised at how complicated it is to develop this type of tool against misleading information that can be used on a large scale. It's obviously complicated with digital source criticism. We have worked for several years with different designs and tests with large experiments in school environments, and now we finally have a tool that is proven to work. The effect is clearly positive, says Thomas Nygren, senior lecturer in didactics at Uppsala University in a press release.
Then there is also a tip that is easy to follow even for those who find it too difficult to make their own source criticism every time they read a news item online.
- Make sure you stay up to date with information and news from credible sources. For example, the news in SVT or an established daily newspaper. It is difficult and difficult to be critical of sources all the time, says Thomas Nygren.