Featured Resource: Most Students Cannot Distinguish Fake and Real News (Wall Street Journal) 
A Stanford University study found that 82% of middle school students could not distinguish between an advertisement labeled “sponsored content” and a real news story on a news homepage, highlighting the challenge of distinguishing between fact and fiction.


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What are potential consequences when fake news goes viral? #DoNowFakeNews


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Do Now by posting a video response in this week’s Flipgrid. Join the conversation here.

You can also post your response on Twitter or in the comment section below. Be sure to include #DoNowFakeNews in your tweet.

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Digital Deception

It comes as little surprise that the web is chock full of commercial click-bait hoaxes: get-rich-quick schemes, free Caribbean cruises, erectile dysfunction treatments … you name it.

But as it turns out, the internet is also teeming with bogus information sites that masquerade as real news. And in the run-up to the 2016 election, many of these hoax news posts spread like wildfire. [Snopes, a fact-checking site, maintains a comprehensive and growing list of fake news outlets.]

President-elect Donald Trump’s contempt for “the mainstream media,” an industry he uniformly dismisses as a corrupt, lying “bunch of phony lowlifes,” has further obscured the boundaries between fact and fiction. So, too, has his use of Twitter to widely disseminate unsubstantiated allegations and, on numerous occasions, downright falsehoods.

One recent notably viral fake news headline espoused an utterly baseless conspiracy theory that a Washington, D.C. family-friendly pizza place was actually a front for a child sex ring run by Hillary Clinton’s campaign manager. Michael Flynn, Jr., son of retired U.S. Army Lt. Gen. Michael Flynn — Trump’s pick for national security adviser, and a Clinton-related conspiracy theorist himself — further promoted the story, while serving on Trump’s transition team, by sharing it with his thousands of Twitter followers. The younger Flynn has since been removed from the transition team due to his aggressive trolling habit.

But the bogus rumor, which became known as Pizzagate, had some serious ramifications when a man armed with an assault rifle entered the restaurant on Sunday, Dec. 4 and fired several shots in what he later told police was an attempt to “self-investigate” the claim (there were no reported injuries).

To what degree the overall proliferation of fake news affected the election results remains unclear. But it almost certainly did have some impact, particularly on undecided voters.

What are potential consequences when fake news goes viral? Do you think you could spot fake news or would you be fooled? Why or why not?


More Resources

ARTICLE: The Honest Truth About Fake News (The Lowdown/KQED)
Fake news is nothing new. Read more about how it’s recent impact on the 2016 election, its roots in yellow journalism, and more research examining student

AUDIO: Hearing From a Fake News Creator (NPR/Listenwise)
Fake news stories with clickable headlines that millions of people read and share have become a focus during the U.S. Presidential Election. People who run fake news sites make a lot of money from advertising. The identities of these fake news creators can be hard to track. In this story a reporter pursued one story to its creator to learn about why he started writing fake news. Listen to hear more about how untrue news goes viral, and who creates these stories.

AUDIO: Breaking News Consumer’s Handbook: Fake News Edition (On the Media/WNYC)
Melissa Zimdars, assistant professor of communications and media and Merrimack College, created a guide to help identify fake news websites and stories. Hear more about how it was developed.

ARTICLE: Facebook Is Turning to Fact-Checkers To Fight Fake News (Buzzfeed)
Fake news often spreads on social media through algorithmic curation and an accumulation of likes and shares. Read more about Facebook’s efforts to combat the phenomenon.


Find best practices for using Do Now, using Twitter for teaching, and using other digital tools.

What Happens When Fake News Spreads? 8 March,2017Matthew Green
  • alejandra

    Some of the consequences that can happen when fake news goes viral is that people are educated incorrectly. Many rumors can go around with these fake news stories. It can go as far as a person possibly being harmed. These news stories can have negative false information toward a person and many people believe it and go as far as harming the person mentally and physically.

  • Aileen Carranza

    Consequences that occur when fake news go viral is there could be an unnecessary uproar that could cause violence or something worse. It could also cause panic or unnecessary embarrassment towards a group of people.

  • Linda miller

    Potential consequences are people actually believing it and then reacting in a bad way that can harm others and themselves.

  • Craig

    The consequences that could occur from fake news is it evolving to something its not. It could possibly get the publicity it doesn’t need

  • Marissa Diaz

    Some consequences of fake news going viral is unnecessary drama. Fake news creates many rumors and causes conflict between groups and individuals, causing issues to rise that aren’t actually issues to be concerned about.

  • Jordan Whalum

    The consequences that are people are not getting the right information and are believing in something that is false education. With all of this false information being spread around could lead to dangerous things. Majority of these fake news stories bring out negativity to people around the world that are clicking on these sites. Giving money to false authors for their work that could be harming someone’s life.

  • Freddy Ortiz

    Possible consequences when fake news go viral can cause pandemonium in the public. When truth is overshadowed by fiction, the seeds of hate, violence, and confusion blossom bringing about unpredictable courses of action in reaction to false information perceived to be true. In worse cases lives could be ruined and taken. Anyone could be misled, we all must keep in mind the the internet is like a playground, there are bullies, bystanders, and victims. Don’t be either, be the person who defends and adheres too the truth.

  • Cali Smith

    When fake news is shared rumors are spread and unnecessary conflict can arise. The rumors that are continuously spread by fake news sites can become bigger and blown out of proportion.

  • Ben LI

    When fake new go viral it create a atmosphere where people are gossiping which can cause conflict. When fake new spread it can start as a small issue then blow to to being a huge thing. Some people might be affected and it can cause people problem. Some people suicide because there was fake information about them that lead them to depression. People need to stop spreading rumor to prevent future consequence.

  • Julian Kirk

    Idlely fake news should not exist but since it does I believe that it is the job of more educated people to share their knowledge and NOT their opinions unless they are asked for them, with others. If other people educate other people about fake news, less of it may cause problems. Fake news being spread around by less educated people can cause a lot of problems including unneeded arguments or violence or both. The more educated people need to try and teach and reason with the less educated people about what is and isn’t fake news and how to tell them apart in the future so they know what news not to spread because it is fake news.

  • Madyson Emory

    Just some of the potential consequences of fake news being spread can be things like various forms of hate (if the article is making it out to seem if one or more people are doing something morally wrong or downright illegal), possibly some kind of legal action or person to be involved in a case that isn’t there, or just generally ruin a person’s reputation. Many actions can come out of fake news being spread – it’s hard to be able to pin them all down.

  • Sergio Guzman

    Potential consequences of fake news can lead viewers to panic or take action on something quick without thinking clearly. It can persuade their viewers t feel a certain way about a certain topic. Fake news hurts young education by giving them falsed information and can hurt people by doing this.

  • Alita Stukel

    Fake and misleading news gong viral could cause public outrages and issues, and unneeded arguments. it could make small issues blow up and could ruin the reputation of others. It could also cause issues at public events and even make the situation, if there is one, worse

  • Julia Haro

    Most of the times when people make fake news they talk about of what people want to hear, since they are writing interesting stuff like rumors, etc. people keep looking at them, they even share them because they think it is true and nothing can make those news disappear from social media. Fake news may cause several problems because all of it are lies and people believe they are true.

  • Daniela Jimenez

    Some potential consequences of viral misleading and fake news can lead readers to believe that they are indeed real stories and share them and now you have thousands if not millions of people believing that misleading/fake news. it could lead to some one if not groups of people getting harmed or harassed.

  • Foster Dennin

    I think that fake news is really a problem, and it cannot be ignored. Knowledge is power, and while yes it is an everyday saying, it is the key to success in life. Having more knowledge, being proficient at analyzing situations and using information is important to every aspect of society. I’ve been following some stories about Facebook and other media giants trying to fight against it, but it is a difficult task. There is so much fake news know, and it is hard to distinguish what is real and what is not. http://www.marketwatch.com/story/why-technology-cant-win-the-fight-against-fake-news-on-its-own-2017-01-10 In an even harsher realization, a great deal of news is not full truths. For example, Ryan Locate’s “assault” that occurred in the Rio Olympics was spread everywhere. Sympathy poured in and investigators were on it. But as things unravelled it was revealed that Locate was not honest and it was a bad situation for everyone. This reality is hard to accept, but I think we must all take it upon ourselves to search out news stories and clarify if what we’re reading is fact…or fiction.

  • Sean Hemmersmeier

    Fake news is troublesome because it results in the public being misinformed. If public is misinformed about major stories they will not react in appropriate ways. Instead they will act in ways that can be harmful like the way the person used an assault rifle in a pizza place because of the false story that was Pizzagate. Fake News works against what major journalists work for. Fake News can cloud real news by putting in a sea of obscurity.

  • cschaf

    The potential consequences of fake news include the spread of irrational and untrue ‘facts’ to those unaware, it also teaches youths to use any source, rather than finding the credible sources. Most recently, fake news has been spread through social media, through the ‘sharing’, ‘retweeting, ‘ posting’ and ‘dm-ing’ false reports. Some of these are due to the lack of fact checking provided by the site, the other issue is people’s inability to read the full story before sharing with others. We are the generation of skimming and speed reading in order so we can get the general idea, but not all of the details. In the long run we need to be more aware and cautious when reading and sharing stories.
    For the future we should all try to follow the points provided on: https://ww2.kqed.org/lowdown/2016/12/06/the-honest-truth-about-fake-news-with-lesson-plan/ whenever we are questioning the authenticity and factual realities of a story.

  • Joey Mancini

    Fake news is a large problem that has taken over nearly every social media site. Fake news sites share links to other fake news stories, and they are visited by more and more people each day. The more times the fakes news stories are viewed, the higher up they appear in Google searches when people are looking for serious, legitimate information. This amount of fake news can seriously affect the opinions of our generations because they will be ill-informed. The information presented in fake news stories do not come from reliable sources or trusted journalist, they come from people who want people to have the wrong facts. We cannot let the age of fake news continue.

  • Jack Boomer

    I think that the media is corrupt. They are just out for a quick buck and will do and say anything to get more viewers and subsequently more money. Just look at Brian Williams, an anchor who was revered as one of the best journalists of his time. He was embellishing his stories to make them more exciting just to get more viewers. Also, big news corporations are putting their political bias in their news broadcasting, manipulating the public from forming their own opinions. Most news companies lean toward the liberal side like CNN, but their are other news companies like FOX News that inserts their conservative viewpoints into their stories. We need good, honest, unbiased news to help the public be informed. We need more Walter Kronkites and Katie Courics to provide the news we need to hear.

  • M Oliver

    Fake news is poisoning society. The problem is that people don’t know what’s real and what’s fake anymore. This leads people to believe and form opinions off of unreliable, inaccurate, or blatantly false news. On top of that, the media that does exist has become fairly biased, towards one side or the other. People need to see direct sources and form their own opinions off of them. When people are force-fed information, we begin to accept it without question, which is a dangerous thing to do whenever we are presented with information. People have stopped questioning things. In order for the next generation to be more informed, we must learn to be critical of any information we receive.

    • KatieScott

      I agree with Mary, fake news is poisoning society, but I think that there is an extent to where we should be able to distinguish fake and credible. We have become so lazy when it comes to checking our sources, researching the topic, or even reading any comments that may inform you about misleading or false information. If we just put the effort into distinguishing our news, checking our sources then we wouldn’t have this problem. As a result from our laziness, journalists now know they can falsify stories, make ridiculous claims, or exaggerate stories and get away with it. Obama made a great statement about fake news. “If we are not serious about facts and what’s true and what’s not — and particularly in an age of social media where so many people are getting their information in soundbites and snippets off their phones — if we can’t discriminate between serious arguments and propaganda, then we have problems,” he said. “If everything seems to be the same and no distinctions are made, then we won’t know what to protect. We won’t know what to fight for. And we can lose so much of what we’ve gained in terms of the kind of democratic freedoms and market-based economies and prosperity that we’ve come to take for granted.”

  • Chad Thach

    What are potential consequences when fake news goes viral? People would be scared of what is going to happen. Like if someone posted something that is fake that looks very real something like, “We are going to be Attacked.” There would be people believing their claim. Since most kids around our age get our information from social media, more people that see about it and talk about it. They would think it is true. People would be scared for something that is fake. The danger is highly at risk.

  • James Cordy

    If fake news is being spread and it becomes viral it could be consequential because some may believe it and continues spreading it could be thought of as real and cause people to act on it which wouldn’t be good because that could be something like “Russia plans attack on US!” and then we attack Russia even though they did nothing. It could cause massive fights.

  • Christine Nguyen

    A potential consequence when fake news goes viral is making people fearful of the fake news. There are big, real problems in the world, and adding fake news to the mix seems a little too much for a person to take. Also, maybe if you post something threatening the government, you might face jail time. The country would be conflicted with all the different fears and may result in a war with other enemy nations, who will take advantage of our fear.

  • Annie Tran

    Spreading fake news has dire consequences. For example, if a person was to post something that is not true under the benefit of receiving money for themselves, the readers would believe false things, and would react very harshly. If it were fake news about a social celebrity or organization, such as the 2016 election where there were fake news articles sprouting lies about the candidates, people would get angry and have their opinions and attitudes swayed toward the targets, even though the news is fake. This is similar to gossip and spreading rumors in schools or areas of education – it isn’t healthy. People will also be fearful if the news headline were to read, for example, “US MARINE CORPS HEADED TO ATTACK RUSSIA”. The citizens of both Russia and the US will be scared and frightened over the fake news. It might also spark war between different nations, causing chaos for the countries. Having fake news passed around from screen to screen or from ear to ear is highly dangerous. #DoNowFakeNews #FreshFakeNews

  • Valentina Valverde

    Rumors and misinformation have always existed. However, with the internet becoming our main information source, fake news articles are becoming a big problem. I believe people fall for this articles because they are published in the same platform as legitimate news, making it hard for people to distinguishing between the two. This confusion has already caused a dangerous situation when, as the article above states, a man felt it was his duty to investigate a pizza place after reading a fake news article accusing the restaurant of conducting illegal activities. The best way to prevent these things from happening is to educate the public on how to identify fake headlines, how to check sources, and to think twice before sharing a news article.

  • Alex Truong

    Some potential consequences when fake news go viral are misleading information(which also spreads the fake news even faster), anxiety, and panic. This is because about 88% of young adults use social media as their main information source, which makes it highly reliable and trustworthy for them. For example, many people have believed that Hillary Clinton has been supporting ISIS, which is not the truth. Fake news could be used as a potential threat because a fake Barack Obama on Twitter could say,”ISIS is invading the USA! Please evacuate immediately!” which could make people frightened, and panicked. In the end, a way to prevent fake news from fooling many people is to educate the public on how to verify sources and double check the information in the source.

  • Ryan La

    These days, you just can’t trust anything you see on the internet. Now if fake news goes viral, there are some pretty major consequences. If people believe the news, the fake info goes everywhere until you can’t tell whether the news are real or fake. If government officials also get tricked, the fake news goes from a joke, to a crisis in a matter of days. Fake news that go viral are a serious problem, it takes a lot of effort to convince the public that the news is fake. If you come across some potential fake news, make sure you spread the news that the article is fake. You might not get recognized for it but in the end, you’ll know that you stopped a catastrophe.

  • Michael Van Gelder

    if it goes viral the wrong information can get out and it can lead to many people believing the wrong thing and potentially get someone in trouble. I could easily be fooled by fake news if enough thought was put into, if its easily distinguishable then i wouldnt be fooled.

  • Emma

    When fake news goes viral, a lot of bad things can happen. In the example of Pizzagate, an armed man came and ¨self-investigated¨a fake story. Someone could have gotten really hurt. This has become a bigger issue than in the past, because it is easier to come across in today’s society. In the past, there was simply yellow journalism, but now it is a flourishing career. Most fake news stories come from the Macedonia area, and are really successful. The top 20 fake news elections stories got more revenue than the top 20 real news stories. People even say that the amount of fake news on Facebook during the election affected the results. Now, Facebook is trying to make things better. They are allowing multiple third party sites to oversee their stories. They will place warnings and analyze the links to see if they are credential or not. Other safe guards would be to spread awareness of this issue. If people do not know about it, then we defiantly can not fix it. This also ties to my point of education. Educating people on how to spot fake news and use their resources can be game changing.

  • Keandra

    Fake news can cause many problems. People are unaware that news is fake and they share it, so it will quickly spread among their friends. One example of this was when denverguardian.com posted a story that included the death of an FBI agent who had knowledge of Hillary Clinton’s email scandal. This fake article got over half a million reactions. This story was released shortly before election day, and may have swayed many Americans’ votes. In the Pizzagate incident a man shot up a pizza place to self-investigate the place. He did this because of a fake article he had read. Fake news can change the view people have towards certain things. To prevent the spread of fake news people should think about an article before sharing it. Always fact-check an article that you’re not 100% sure is legit. Google and Facebook are making an attempt to get rid of all fake news that shows up on their sites.

  • Avery

    When and if fake news goes viral a lot of things can go wrong. I looked up ways on how to spot fake news and keep it from spreading, and eaglenews.org really helped me out. First consider your source, “Real news will always have a credible publisher, and it will be on a site with a posted mission statement and physical address.” Second check the author. “The site should state the credibility of the author. Most author pages will include a picture and biography along with the author’s name.” Third read beyond the headline. “The headline may draw you in, but what is the article really about? Does it contain real information or is it all just opinion?” Then think what’s the support. “The “real information” may seem to come from serious-sounding sources, but the source often doesn’t back up the claim. Sometimes, the source doesn’t even exist at all.” Fifth check the date. “Some stories aren’t false, but they are being re-posted with a new date in order to give legitimacy to some new event.” Then you can ask yourself is it satire? “Satirical sites like The Onion have specialized in combining news and comedy for years. Their mission statements clearly admit that the site is satirical.” Then check your bias. “Put yourself in the shoes of someone who doesn’t agree with the article. Does the information still seem as convincing or have your biases interfered with what you deem as truth?” Lastly consult the experts. ‘There are people who make a living determining what is true news. Between FactCheck.org, Snopes.com, the Washington Post Fact Checker and PolitiFact.com, it’s likely at least one has already fact-checked the latest viral claim to pop up in your news feed”

    Website: http://eaglenews.org/opinion/fake-news-leads-to-real-problems/

  • Heidi R

    When fake news is spread, it can get people angry over something that isn’t even true. When people see a fake news story, they tend to share it and by doing that it will continue to spread. This spread of fake news to even affected the election, why don’t know to what degree, but according toww2.kqed.org it, “almost certainly did have some impact, particularly on undecided voters.” Now even since all the spread of this fake new Facebook is partnering with organizations signed on to the International Fact- Checking Network. Their efforts will try to stop the spread of fake new; but it’s really up to us to stop it. We need to really think about what we are spreading and what kind of impact it will do if it’s actually fake. What I can do to stop the spread of fake news is to do more research on the articles that I’m reading. Also I can teach my younger siblings, and even my parents that just because you read on Facebook or somewhere else online doesn’t mean that it’s always true.

  • Kendra Jensen

    People tend to only hear what they want to hear, even if other things are staring them in the face. That is somewhat the concept of fake news. It is created to give people the information they want to hear, even if it’s not true. Why is that? Because it sells. People make money off of telling others false information. In the audio story “Hearing From A Fake News Creator” from NPR, a real fake news creator comes forward about his experience on creating fake news. He said he wanted to find how fake news spread, and he did find that when you tell the people what they want, they will listen.
    The consequences of fake news include spreading wrong information to large groups. If incorrect information is spread, people may act on being uninformed of the truth. This fake information may bury their previous beliefs, and cause them to change their perspective into something else that they don’t necessarily believe.
    So, how can we prevent this growing issue in our society. First and foremost we can check to make sure stories have factual information to back them up before we share them with the world. We can do that ourselves with some easy searches on the internet using trusted sites. Facebook has already taken the first step to stopping fake news. In the article “Facebook Is Turning To Fact-Checkers To Fight Fake News” from Buzzfeed News, it explains how Facebook has fact checkers that will check stories that could potentially be false. Then those stories would be stated unreliable on Facebook. That is all it takes to make sure the correct information is available to the public.

  • TJ the DJ

    People that post or only like to hear fake news will most often have it go viral by people sharing the fake news on Facebook like in the debate between Trump and Hilary a lot of fake news was used to make the people vote for them or agents them. When fake news goes viral it will have a big impact on who it affects and it can have more people reading fake news than real news people will think it fake or boring but some ways to see that is by fact check it or check the were the information came from.

  • Brady Wielenga

    People are mostly attracted to gossip and fake news is the same exact thing. They make it more and more complex though which makes people crave it more. When people talk about something they saw on Instagram or Snap chat or even Facebook they should really check up on how true it is. A while back a there was a lot of fake news about Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton. Nobody knew what was happening because one post would say one thing and another would say something completely different. The truth about fake news is that it hurts more people than it helps and it should just stop.

  • Callie Waite

    I think the way this article gets in depth on fake news is great. Some
    articles on this topic just give you an example of fake news but they
    don’t tell you why or how to tell its fake. Potential consequences of
    fake news going viral depends on the situation. If the fake news is
    about a person it can make their reputation better or worse depending on
    the content of the fake news. On the other hand if we are talking about
    important things like a new bill being passed, politics, war or medical
    issues it can cause a lot of harm to companies, people and etc. To
    prevent the spread of a fake news story you can simply not share it.

  • Connor

    People are very cruel and the article, “The Honest Truth about Fake News…And how not to Fall for it,” proves that people are cruel. People create fake news because it is what the audience wants to hear, that is the reason why it is so viral, because they put fake news that other people want. Sometimes people who put fake news out there benefit from it and make money. From the article, “The honest truth about fake news… and how not to fall for it,” it says that if we don’t stop this now we are going to have serious problems. Problems like this that the article told, “a recent Buzz Feed News analysis of election-related web articles published in the three months before Election Day found that the 20 most popular fake news stories generated significantly more engagement on Facebook (shares, reactions, comments) than did the top 20 real news stories from major news outlets like the Washington Post and New York Times.” Fake news is generating more then real new, and people are getting fast bucks off of these things. Even though the article says that fake news has been around for a while it is still causing problems like this one from the article, “But the bogus rumor, which became known as Pizza gate, had some serious ramifications when a man armed with an assault rifle entered the restaurant on Sunday, Dec. 4 and fired several shots in what he later told police was an attempt to “self-investigate” the claim (there were no reported injuries).” From these points the article points out the consequences of fake news go viral is bad. The reason why is because bad people are making money off of it while other people are getting their beliefs changed from a fake news. It might possibly change their lives forever.
    We need to stop this from happening, and good thing Facebook is doing the same as the article,”Facebook is turning to fact checkers To fight fake news.” It says that Facebook is teaming up with other organizations to fight this. They say they are, ” taking several initiatives to help reduce the spread of fake news, and a major element involves giving fact-checking organizations unprecedented prominence in the News Feed.” I feel like more social media should be doing this too, the reason why is because the article even said the urgency of fake new has increased. So we the people need to come together and fight this. From reading these two articles I feel more confident that I would be able to notice fake news, I am not 100% positive but I am pretty sure I could.

  • Augustine LaFramboise

    When going through social media, we all see something that catches our eyes immediately, not really thinking about if it’s real or not. Many effects on opening up a unreal news story can lead to a scam, getting hacked or in fact just a worried mind. News reporters are guilty for putting on a fake story or mixing up the truth just so that they get more views or even someone to buy their magazine because they use a “Click-bate” to catch your eye.The more people buy it or view it, the more they get money off it. Fake news gets around like rumors, either true or not, the stories get added on or spread making a situation untrue and scattered because we share it. Preventing a fake news story can be solved in many ways such as being careful for what you allow your eye to catch, don’t share it allowing others to spread it more, and never allow yourself to believe the view of a “Click-bate”.

  • Callie Waite

    As we scroll through commonly used apps like Instagram, Facebook and Twitter we see these bold and attention grabbing ads or news articles that make us want to click, click, click. Little do our teenage brains know we are just feeding into a lie most of the time. No matter how credible you think the source is, its probably not. We see ridiculous things like “Girl Nearly DIES From Getting Her Eyebrows Tinted” plastered on several people’s pages on several different social media sites we will start to believe it and possibly share it ourselves. If you see something even the slightest bit fishy DON’T SHARE IT! Try out Facebook’s new fact checking program but still be cautious.

  • Claudia Phillips

    There are so many appealing “news” articles everywhere we turn. Whether you’re checking your Facebook, browsing the web or snapchatting a friend, you’re likely to come across many tempting clickable headlines throughout your day. The question is, is this incredibly interesting “news” real, or was it just created for that very reason- that it is incredibly interesting? There are so many fake news stories out there, generated to snag your interest and pull you in. It is important to use good judgement when reading news stories, especially on the internet, and on social media. If you see a news story that seems just too weird to be true, it probably is. If you really feel like sharing it, do some research first, and make sure it’s true! If you don’t, you will just enable the cycle so detrimental to our society to continue. You may share a story, resulting in a third of your friends reading, believing and sharing the story. Obviously, it is a waste of time, effort and mental storage at best, and depending on the gravity and significance of the particular story, harmful and dangerous at worst. So, think before you believe and research before you share!

  • Jordyn R Huber

    There can be a lot of consequences to fake news going viral. For example, when the guy in the first article took a gun to a pizza place because of one of the fake news stories that were going around. It can potentially life threatening to be spreading stories like these around. Another consequence is that we don’t know what to believe sometimes because they can make some articles look so believable and real. You can prevent it by letting others know that it is a fake news story. You can out them and state your reasonings as to why it is a fake news story. So then, the hope would be that instead of them spreading it because they believe it, they are spreading it because they want to raise awareness that it’s a fake story.

  • Layne Miller

    What are potential consequences when fake news goes viral?
    When fake news spreads well all hell can break loose. If you see a story on line that says something like “deadly methane hydrate from the dead sea has been released, Doctors say you need to stay inside.” now that you have been told to stay inside by a fake news site you share it, email it and spread it around to save your friends. well it eventually gets to big news stations and because it has been passed around so much they cant verify the original source. boom its now aired on television at the truth. you now have a full blown nation wide possibly even world wide panic. Riots and looters are everywhere!
    What are some ways you can prevent the spread of a fake news story?
    Well use GLAD to determine if its real or not and if it is int real then don’t share it. Report it to Facebook/the sites editor. If you just don’t spread it around then that’s what you can do. you could also expose that the article is fake.

  • Sara Kemner

    What are potential consequences when fake news goes viral?
    There are several things that may cause problems if fake news goes viral. People may start believing things that are not true. Potentially you could change someone’s entire view on a person or an issue. Their opinions would be based completely off of fake news instead of facts.
    What are some ways you can prevent the spread of a fake news story?
    Preventing fake news is important and there are a few ways to do so. You can always report or flag the page that has false news on it. You could also comment on the article to warn people that the information is fake. You could even make your own web page with the correct information on it.

Author

Matthew Green

Matthew Green produces and edits The Lowdown, KQED’s multimedia news education blog, an online resource for educators and the general public. He previously taught journalism at Fremont High School in East Oakland, and has written for numerous local publications, including the Oakland Tribune and San Francisco Chronicle. Email: mgreen@kqed.org; Twitter: @KQEDlowdown

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