Sharing articles on social media leads to overconfidence in the content: Empower your students to spot misinformation
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In a world where we can find information at our fingertips and share it just as fast, social media continues to play an essential role in how we stay up to date on current events, trending topics, and more. It’s a powerful resource, as long as we are aware of how accurate the content we consume is. A recent study from The University of Texas at Austin found that sharing news articles on social media leads to people believing that they know more about an article’s content than they actually do.
Misinformation is more likely to spread
Did you know that misinformation is 70% more likely to be retweeted than the truth? With students spending 8.3 hours a day on screen media, it is easy to see how quickly misinformation can spread.
From skimming an article or reading a caption that describes an event, it’s easy to believe that we know the whole story. The study found that when we share content, we can become overconfident in the knowledge surrounding the topic.
Susan M. Broniarczyk, professor of marketing, shared that, “If people feel more knowledgeable on a topic, they also feel they maybe don’t need to read or learn additional information on that topic.”
Recent data from the Reuters Institute for the Study of Journalism discovered that only 51% of consumers who “read” an article or news source actually read the whole piece. It also found that 26% read only a part of it, and 22% only look at either the headline or a couple of lines of the article.
What educators can do to stop the spread of misinformation
Every day, students navigate a media-saturated world, where it can be easy to misconstrue a 280-character tweet or a 1-minute TikTok video. Meanwhile, research shows that misinformation spreads six times faster than factual, credible information.
You can empower students today by coaching them to do the following when they read something online:
- Check the facts by finding the same information from another credible source
- Assess media bias with a tool like the Media Bias Chart
- Recognize sponsored content by looking for the #ad hashtag on sponsored social media posts
- Avoid emotionally charged and divisive headlines
From scrolling on TikTok, to seeing Instagram posts, students today are consumed with information. But, when used positively, together we can squash misinformation and empower our students to feel confident when it comes to navigating and consuming information online.
Download the Huddle Discussion Questions to have real conversations about this trending news and more!
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The Social Institute (TSI) is the leader in understanding student experiences and creator of #WinAtSocial, a gamified, online learning platform that equips students, educators, and families to navigate social experiences — online and offline — in healthy ways. Our unique, student-respected approach incorporates topics like social media, technology use, and current events that have a significant impact on student well-being. Lessons teach life skills for the modern day to inspire high-character decisions that support the health, happiness, and future success of students, while capturing data that provides insights to school leaders to inform school policy and communications, and enable high-impact teaching and a healthy learning environment. For schools, our turnkey technology allows for easy implementation and a comprehensive game plan to support the well-being of school communities. For schools, our turnkey technology allows for easy implementation and a comprehensive game plan to support the well-being of school communities.