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As you have previously learned, there is plenty of inaccurate information on the open web, including about the coronavirus. This activity is designed to teach you how to find reliable resources and how to avoid believing misinformation and/or fake news. 

Scenario - You only have $100 left in your bank account for the month and you need to decide if you should stock up on groceries and medical face masks to prepare for the coronavirus. 

How to make an informed decision:

  • Think about where, in the real world, you would go to get reliable and accurate information about the coronavirus or any other medically-related problems or issues (no technology!).

  • What types of specialists would you reach out to get the information you need? What orgainzations would you visit?

Tips for fact-checking and avoiding fake news:
  1. When you open up a news article in your browser, open a second, empty tab.  Use that second window to look up claims, author credentials, and organizations that you come across in the article.

  2. Fake news spans all kinds of media - printed and online articles, podcasts, YouTube videos, radio shows, even still images. Be prepared to double-check everything.

  3. Beware of confirmation bias.  Just because you might agree with what an article is saying doesn't mean it's true.

  4. Always be ready to fact check.

  5. Even the best researchers will be fooled once in a while.  If you find yourself fooled by a fake news story, use your experience as a learning tool.

  6. Be suspicious of pictures! Not all photographs tell the truth or unfiltered truth. Images are normally edited or processed, but sometimes they are digitally manipulated. Some are born digital. A Google reverse image search can help discover the source of an image and its possible variations.

  7. Use the ABCD Method as a guide to help you think critically about the source of information.

  • Check the source - is it a .com? .org? .edu? or .gov? Is the source from a Google search or did you use an academic database?

  • Use the ABCD Method - Author, Bias, Currency, and Date

  • Check the claims in the article. Can you follow up with them using reputable sources?

  • Question everything. Does the site have ads? Is the source from a think tank or nonprofit that has a stake in the subject of the article? What’s the author’s background?

  • Check any links in the article. Do they actually lead to information that verifies something in the article?

Avoid Fake News

Your task:

As a group, work together to determine the reliability of your website and whether or not you would use it to decide to spend your last $100 on stocking up on groceries and medical face masks.

  • Find one possible bias or questionable claim, if possible.
  • Create a list of facts that you think are accurate in your article, if possible.

  • Find one fact that you can verify​, if possible.

The websites below are fact-checking tools for you to use when you want to get unbiased information about a topic.

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