Due to the #2016 Election, the topic of fake news has come to the attention of many people due to massive amounts of fake news being circulated on social media platforms like Facebook and Twitter. Considering that almost half of the adult population and two-thirds of Facebook users (66%) get their news from Facebook in the United States. Besides the lack of credible news distributors on social media platforms, there are other problems as well.

A Stunning Of 80% Students Believe Fake News

A recent study carried out by researchers at Stanford University revealed that the majority of students – approximately 80% – could not determine whether the news they were reading was fake or true! The study was conducted by Stanford’s History Education Group, in which 7,800 students from middle school through to college were surveyed by having them read real and fake news article and determine whether they were credible or not.

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The findings are based on the students taking part in the study that was asked to read real news articles along with pieces of sponsored content. Additionally, they were also asked to read news story shared through social media, the majority of had difficulty in determining the credibility of the content as well as basing their decisions on irrelevant or biased factors.

An example of the kind of research conducted was asking middle school students that whether they would trust a shared article about financial planning that was sponsored by a bank. The results showed that quite a few students did not question the credibility of the content even though it was sponsored by a bank.

In another example, the students were asked to look at the news page of a site and determine between ads and real content.

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Most of the students had no trouble in determining the real one between the standard advertising banner and real content but as surprising as it may seem 80% believed a native ad which was clearly labeled to be an ad was a real news story.

According to Professor Sam Wineburg, lead author of the report “Many people assume that because young people are fluent in social media they are equally perceptive about what they find there,” In another statement, he also said, “Our work shows the opposite to be true.”

The study brings to the light the fact that students now focus more on the content of social media posts rather than their sources. Even though they are knowledgeable about the use of social media, the majority of users are unaware of how to verify digital information.

Though the most surprising fact came to light when a group of College level students when they were asked to research and identify whether descriptions of the 2016 Presidential Election candidates’ political views were accurate. The study reveals many gaps in the reasoning of the students as a well written about page and high-quality website design was more than enough to pass them as credible. #fakenews