Cyborgs, trolls and bots can fill the internet with lies and half-truths, understanding them is key to learning how disinformation spreads online.
As the 2016 election showed, social media is increasingly used to amplify false claims and divide Americans over hot-button issues including race and immigration. Researchers who study misinformation predict it will get worse leading up to this year’s presidential vote.
First, check this guide to understanding the problem.
1.1 Which details do you remember most about the video?
1.2 What is online misinformation
1.3 How is disinformation different than disinformation?
1.4 What are three ways to share disinformation?
1.5 Define the following terms: deepfake; shallowfakes; cheapfakes; dumbfakes.
1.6 What are the objectives of trolls?
1.7 What are the characteristics of a bot?
1.8 What is a cyborg?
1.9 How can you avoid being duped by “fake news”?
1.10 What is satire?
2.1 Why do you think false claims spread more easily than accurate ones online?
2.2 Since cyborgs are harder to spot, how can we defend ourselves against them?
2.3 How can you validate the source of information?
2.4 Do you trust the sources of this articles to be objective and factual?
2.5 What resources could you use to research news articles
2.6 How can the population learn to appreciate satire without confusing it for disinformation?
3.1 What happens when people distrust the news?
3.2 How could you keep your posts real?
3.3 Predict the future: What is going to happen to society when nobody trusts anything they read (unless they agree with it)?
3.4 How could you help stop the spread of disinformation?
3.5FactBeing able to know whether something is fact or opinion, is very important when reading news or watching an advert for example. • A fact is something that can be proved to be correct. • A… check the posts in your online media accounts, what did you find?
Core assignments for students
Recommended by teachers
Brainstorming | Group activity
A clear problem definition marks the starting point.
In each group, one student will note down the reactions, ideas, views, etc. of the others. The various opinions are not dealt with in any depth.
After a while, the group discusses the proposed solutions and picks out the best of these.
The various ideas are grouped conventionally in an easy-to-understand web diagram.
Case method | Cooperative learning
Concrete, realistic situations are individually analysed; afterwards, the resulting vision is presented and discussed in the group.
The individual’s vision is reappraised after seeking additional information. The different visions are selected and appraised.
Group discussion (or problem-solving discussion) | Dialogue
Reflective discussion as part of a group, pooling knowledge/ideas/opinions with the aim of learning from this. A stimulus to creative, problem-solving and evaluative thinking.
Someone (teacher or student in a smaller group) is appointed as moderator. Without impinging on the subject matter, this person guides the discussion through the different phases (defining the problem, defining the scope of the subject, dissecting the problem, seeking solutions, discussing propositions, formulating the conclusion).
Pitfall: students must have sufficient background knowledge.
Variants: one empty chair, carousel discussion, triangular discussion, forum discussion/panel, debate, with or without a role.