1. Fact or fiction – recognising false information
Objective: media literacy, source criticism
Method: identifying disinformation through visual examples
Materials: find two visual examples about the same topic: one of a medium that is committed to the journalistic ethics and standards, and another of a medium that relies heavily on opinions or disinformation and deals with the same topic. Social media is a good place to find examples of false information related to topics such as climate change or health claims, and news channels, ministries and other official bodies use visual material on their social media channels.
Time: 1–2 hours
Have a look at EU’s Spot and fight disinformation. You can use examples from it in your workshop.
Explore visual examples of different media. If the examples contain any text, read it aloud and give the participants enough time to think about it.
Discuss in what ways the examples are different. How do you know who is telling the truth? What are the typical features of fake news or lies circulating on social media? What is the purpose of disinformation? Use the sample news and go through the characteristics of disinformation listed below.
Seven tips for identifying disinformation and lies:
- Conflicting content: when the title or an image does not match the actual content.
- Wrong context: correct information is spread in the wrong context on social media.
- Manipulated content: correct information, such as an image, has been intentionally edited to mislead.
- Satire and parody: when people might believe in a lie even if it has not been done with the intent to harm.
- Misleading content: misleading information is intentionally used against a person or something else.
- Scam content: when sources are fake or misquoted.
- Fake content: the content is nothing but lies. Its purpose is to mislead and cause harm.
Discuss how the real media work and self-correct. What rules do trusted media follow (see Finnish Guidelines for Journalists)? Ask if the young people have come across any misinformation on social media. What was the subject and how did they find out that the story was not true? Does a heartrending story make it easier to share a lie?
Draw an imaginary line in the air. You have opinions/lies at one end of the line and factual information/truth at the other. Where on the line would you place the sample stories and why?