Spotting ‘fake news’ campaign launched

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Today, more than ever, Canadians are hearing the words “fake news”.

With the federal election looming and social media platforms being plentiful, it’s important to be able to distinguish between what’s real and what’s, well, fake.

News Media Canada has launched a new media literacy tool to help Canadians identify “fake news” on-line.

The new tool is called SPOT, and it provides four key questions Canadians can ask when they see questionable news and information online: is this a credible Source, is the Perspective biased, are Other sources reporting the same story and is the story Timely.

In an interview with The Advocate, John Hinds, president of News Media Canada says, “Fake news is becoming a real problem. We’ve seen it in the last U.S. presidential election, with the Brexit vote in Great Britain, and in Canada to a certain extent. We know that so-called fake news, and the spread of disinformation online, are very real concerns for Canadians.”

He says, “According to an Ipsos-Reid study, 63 per cent of Canadians have trouble distinguishing between legitimate news websites and fake news stories. We developed ‘SPOT’ to provide Canadians with a simple, easy-to-remember tool they can use anytime they’re consuming news online.”

Hinds says there are “varying degrees of sophistication” with regards to fake news and used, as examples, stories being reposted from previous years or pictures being Photoshopped and then re-purposed.

“Be aware of where your news is coming from,” Hinds suggested, “and trust credible news sources.” With online posts it’s difficult to determine authenticity, country or origin or date of publication.

Hinds said News Media Canada — which is the voice of the print and digital news media industry in Canada — worked on this program with the Government of Canada. It’s now up to traditional media to drive the point home with its production of credible, fact-based news.

SPOT Fake News Online is a multi-faced and bilingual campaign that will be communicated to Canadians through an educational video, a new program microsite: www.spotfakenews.ca, and a comprehensive national advertising campaign in News Media Canada members’ print newspapers and news sites. The campaign will conclude in March. For more information, visit the News Media Canada Web site at: www.newsmediacanada.ca or follow them on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and YouTube.