Although the Cambridge Analytica scandal is grabbing the headlines right now, Facebook and social networks, in general, have been in the grips of a more extensive crisis for a long time.
Fake news has been a buzzword for a while now. Fake news played a major part in the election of Donald Trump to the White House and it is now used as a weapon by the president himself to discredit any news stories that are critical of him. No doubt the latest polls showing him to have the lowest approval rating of any president at this point of his presidency will be called out as fake news despite them being entirely accurate.
The fact is that recent events prove that we can’t rely on the big, like Facebook, to take action. The ultimate responsibility falls to the individual user. It is on us to spot a fake news story, ignore it and ensure that it isn’t shared with others. The question remains, however, just how are we supposed to do this?
Well, Factitious is here to help us. Factitious is a simple game designed by a team at American University. All you have to do is look at the news story it shows you and decide whether you think the story is real or fake. As if you were on Tinder, you merely swipe right if you think the story is real and left if you think it is fake news.
The Factitious team offers you tips on how to get better at the game. These include checking out the source of the supposed news item and looking on sites like Snopes, factcheck.org and the Washington Post Fact Checker. As you get better at the game, you’ll get better at spotting fake news when you encounter them in your various news feeds.
Unfortunately, Fake News is a real problem but with initiatives like this and a bit of effort from all of us, hopefully, it is a problem we’ll solve sooner rather than later.
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