Stackup joins fight against misleading news & information with new feature
At Stackup, we cherish the vast amount of knowledge the Web provides. Students can explore and read about things that truly interest them. Their learning is limited only by the pace of their own passion and inquiry. However, with access to the greatest information trove ever, comes great responsibility. While there are no gatekeepers standing between students and quality information, there is also nothing to partition untrustworthy information. Starting today, Stackup users will see a notification if they visit a website that has been known to post misleading, fabricated, deceptive, or grossly distorted news & information. Since we are already indexing the web by category and grade level, we feel this new Misleading Info Notification feature fits well into the Stackup toolbox.
Stackup is not a censoring tool, and will not block websites. Instead, we will foster students’ Digital Literacy Skills and arm them with what they need to evaluate anything they read online. Rather than tell students what to think, the Misleading Info Notification encourages our users to be critical thinkers (screen shot below):
(Thanks to the many educators in the Stackup community who helped us with these questions, as well as to Common Sense and Project Look Sharp for inspiring us with their early leadership on this topic.)
How it works – The Misleading Info Notification inserts itself at the top of a potentially misleading website or article (without overlapping or interfering with the original), and the notification can be easily closed. You can test the feature out by signing up for Stackup on Google Chrome, installing the extension, and visiting a satire news article like: iPhone 8 will have Siri physically coming out of the phone and doing all the household chores: Tim Cook or check out a website that is posing as somebody else: nbc.com.co
Why it’s a problem – It can be fun and entertaining to knowingly read something fake. Actually knowing that the information is not reliable is the key however, and it is all-too-common for readers to lack this important awareness. For example, according to a Common Sense Report, less than half of students reported being able to tell whether a story is fake or not. And while students are more likely to trust information coming from family and adults, only 43% of adults “often determine the validity of a suspicious News Story.” Some websites included in our list have fabricated articles with really enticing titles. As you may know, the goal is to simply get people to click them, visit their website, so they can make money by selling advertisements. This is a real problem.
Websites on the list – We sourced the website list from the leading organizations tackling this problem. The list includes websites that have been confirmed to have posts that fall under our requirements (misleading, fabricated, deceptive, or grossly distorted). The list is not perfect. We are eager to see it change, grow, and become even more useful in teaching Digital Literacy and Citizenship. You can email us at Team@stackup.net with any questions, comments, or concerns.