KNOW YOUR SOURCE - Media Bias Ratings

Further Reading: for Students

True or False: A CIA Analyst’s Guide to Spotting Fake News by Cindy L. Otis. A former CIA analyst unveils the true history of fake news and gives readers tips on how to avoid falling victim to it in this informative YA nonfiction title.


Clearing the Confusion: AI vs. Machine Learning vs. Deep Learning This is an easy-to-understand explanation of the difference between these terms. 

Using AI Networks to create avatars of fake people Is that account you’re following on social media a real person?

Right Wing Media Outlets duped by Middle East Propaganda Campaign  (Daily Beast) Some of the accounts in this propaganda network used AI generated avatars.

Deep Voice Software can clone anyone’s voice with just 3.7 seconds of audio This is faster than similar programs such as Lyrebird and Adobe VoCo. 

Simple out-of-context photos can spread misinformation (Neiman Labs) We don’t need deepfakes to create confusion. 

Deepfaking photos of the Earth has the potential for serious military consequences

Deepfakes and the New AI-Generated Fake Media Creation-Detection Arms Race  Manipulated videos are getting more sophisticated all the time—but so are the techniques that can identify them


NEWS LITERACY PROJECT a nonpartisan national education nonprofit, empowers educators to teach students the skills they need to be smart, active consumers of news and other information and engaged, informed participants in civic life.

MEDIA MANIPULATION.ORG from the Shorenstein Center at Harvard. The Media Manipulation Casebook is a research platform that advances knowledge of misinformation and disinformation and their threats to democracy, public health, and security. The Casebook is a new resource for building the field of Critical Internet Studies by equipping researchers with case studies, theory, methods, and frameworks to analyze the interplay of media ecosystems, technology, politics, and society.

NAMLE: National Association of Media Literacy Educators non-profit organization dedicated to advancing media literacy education

CENTER FOR MEDIA LITERACY an educational organization that provides leadership, public education, professional development and evidence-based educational resources nationally and internationally. 

CLOSE READING THE MEDIA by Frank Baker offers great material on the MiddleWeb site. 

MEDIA LITERACY NOW   Advocacy organization for Media Literacy legislation on the state level.

FACT vs. FICTION - Teaching Critical Thinking Skills in the Age of Fake News Jennifer LaGarde and Darren Hudgens is a great resource for educators

SPOT THE TROLL - Test your ability to spot fake profiles


Students’ Civic Online Reasoning: A National Portrait: A disturbing study from Stanford that shows how much work we have to do. 

From the abstract: 

Students displayed a troubling tendency to accept websites at face value. Ninety-six percent failed to consider why ties between a climate change website and the fossil fuel industry might lessen that website’s credibility. Instead of investigating who was behind the site, students focused on superficial markers of credibility: the site’s aesthetics, its top-level domain, or how it portrayed itself on the About page.

Nearly all students floundered. Ninety percent received no credit on four of six tasks.

Reliable information is to civic health what proper sanitation and potable water are to public health. A polluted information supply imperils our nation’s civic health. We need high-quality digital literacy curricula, validated by rigorous research, to guarantee the vitality of American democracy.

Education moves slowly. Technology doesn’t. If we don’t act with urgency, our students’ ability to engage in civic life will be the casualty. 

The spread of true and false news online   A study that backs up Jonathan Swift’s observation in 1710: "Falsehood flies, and the Truth comes limping after it.”  With social media, falsehoods fly even faster, to a wider audience.

From the abstract: 

False news reached more people than the truth; the top 1% of false news cascades diffused to between 1000 and 100,000 people, whereas the truth rarely diffused to more than 1000 people. Falsehood also diffused faster than the truth. The degree of novelty and the emotional reactions of recipients may be responsible for the differences observed.

Designing and Testing News Literacy Messages for Social Media

From the abstract: 

This study examines the effectiveness of deploying news literacy (NL) messages on social media by testing whether NL tweets are able to affect perceptions of information credibility and NL beliefs. Using two experiments, this study tests NL tweets designed to (a) mitigate the impact of exposure to misinformation about two health issues (genetically modified foods and the flu vaccine) and (b) boost people's perceptions of their own media literacy and media literacy's value to society broadly. Findings suggest that NL messages are able to alter misinformation perceptions and NL beliefs, but not with a single message, suggesting the need to develop tailored and targeted NL campaigns that feature multiple messages and calls to action

Millennials at the back gates: how young adults’ digital news practices present a new media logic for news gathering and gatekeeping as user-oriented activities in a participatory news ecosystem. See extremely disturbing quote from study below.

From the study: (my bolding)

A surprising majority of informants (96%) also indicate that when they see a news item on social media they almost invariably refer it to a Google search to see if other items appear, which seems to confirm and authenticate news information to this study’s cohort, even without checking to see if the other links or articles found come from credible or reliable news sources. To them, the simple fact that other articles are being shown on a Google search result list provides a certain level of confirmation and legitimacy, making Google’s search engine itself a primary news authenticator.

Conferring Resistance to DigitalDisinformation: The Inoculating Influence of Procedural News Knowledge 

From the abstract:

Despite the pervasiveness of digital disinformation in society, little is known about the individual characteristics that make some users more susceptible to erroneous information uptake than others, effectively dividing the media audience into prone and resistant groups. This study identifies and tests procedural news knowledge as a consequential civic resource with the capacity to inoculate audiences from disinformation and close this“resistancegap.”

Can middle schoolers learn to read the web like experts?Possibilities and limits of a strategy-based intervention

From the abstract:

Findings  reveal  that  students  were  more likely  to  leave  the  presented  webpages  and  investigate  the  sources  before making a credibility judgment after the curricular intervention. Furthermore, after  the  intervention  students  were  more  likely  to  prefer  a  more  credible source of information over a less credible source when the two sources were presented. However, few students improved in their ability to assess a single deceptive  website,  despite  applying  several  of  the  strategies  taught  in  the intervention. We conclude that strategy-and skills-based information literacy instruction  holds  promise  but  must  be  paired  with  foundational  knowledge about how the internet is structured and the kinds of online source

Copyright 2020 Sarah Darer Littman
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