You Might Be Smart, But Fake News Might Be Smarter

Recent survey shows even educated millennials struggle to spot bogus articles

Fake News
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PITTSBURGH (NewsRadio 1020 KDKA) – Fake news! In recent years it’s become a big topic – and a big problem. But can you spot it to stop it?

Plenty of college students and recent graduates think they’re smarter than the trolls, but a recent critical thinking survey by MindEagle Learning suggests that’s false confidence.

59 percent of the 1,000 young adults ages 18 to 31-years-old were confident in their critical thinking and digital literacy skills, but 52 percent of respondents failed the 9-question survey.

Only 19 percent got all questions right, down from 24 percent last year.

Andrew Conte is the director of Point Park University’s Center for Media Innovation. He told the KDKA Radio Afternoon News Tuesday even he struggled with some stories in the study, scoring 80 percent.

“It’s incredible when you look at some of the data that’s coming out,” Conte said. “In some cases the fake stories do so much better than the real stories.”

Conte and others blame the growing reliance on online media by millennials, set to be America’s largest voting group in the next year.

“We have so many options now online that people are able to choose what news they get and most people choose not to get the news that doesn’t agree with what they already believe.”

The study’s troubling report comes amidst this year’s realizations of Russian troll farms tried to influence the 2016 U.S. presidential election.

Conte suggests using common sense when consuming and disseminating news, and to check the sources on “facts.”

“Take a beat before you share something.”

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