To Test Your Fake News Judgment, Play This Game

Tennessee Watson, NPR, Jul 03, 2017
Commentary by Stephen Downes

The premise of this article is that you can learn how to distinguish between real news and fake news by playing this game. Try it here. With games and simulations, however, the assumptions matter a lot. A case in point: the first article I read was titled "Humans have shorter attention span than goldfish, thanks to smartphones." Now I know that this is not true, so I clicked "fake" and was corrected. Here's the justification: "That was actually a news article. [View it here] The Telegraph is a major British newspaper, generally regarded as reliable. It cites a Microsoft study, which can be verified." But newspapers, even the Telegraph, often run fake news stories. And the 'study' mentioned here (not 'cited': there is no link or reference) is dubious; as this criticism points out, "no definition of attention span is given, and it’s not at all clear how these numbers were developed." You can't just depend on the source to distinguish between fake news and real news. That should be the first lesson in the game, not the first error.

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