Challenges of misinformation and fake news

a case study with higher education students

  • Nídia Salomé Morais Instituto Politécnico de Viseu, Escola Superior de Educação, Viseu, Portugal
  • Filomena Sobral Instituto Politécnico de Viseu, Escola Superior de Educação, Viseu, Portugal
Keywords: fake news, misinformation, students, higher education, Portugal

Abstract

Introduction: In the digital age, society, the scientific community and future media professionals meet challenges in the face of the globalized phenomenon of fake news. How to recognize them, deal with misinformation and combat the phenomenon?

Objectives: The main objective of the research described in this paper was to understand the perception that a group of higher education students have about fake news and online misinformation.

Methods: This is a case study that used an online questionnaire and a focus group to collect information. The sample consisted of 49 students of the 2nd year of Media and Communication in the 2018/2019 school year and for the focus group 8 students were selected.

Results: The results emphasize that students are familiar with the notion of fake news and what seems to motivate people to create and disseminate it. They also know some specific features of this kind of news and can identify websites that usually publish fake stories. Participants reveal that most of the manipulated news they find is disseminated on social media and suggests that the news and information they trust the most can be found in the press, radio and television.

Conclusions: The study concluded that students are aware of the negative impact of the phenomenon and that education is the best way to mitigate the impact of fake news.

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Published
2020-06-01
Section
Education and Social Development Sciences