Learning how to spot fake news

Join the discussion at Red Deer Public Library

Learning how to ferret out fake news will be the topic of upcoming discussions at Red Deer Public Library.

One-hour free sessions called Fake News — Critically Reading Internet Media will be held at the downtown branch on the second level on Thursday and Feb. 8, from 1 to 2 p.m. The event will also run in the program room at the Dawe branch on Jan. 19 from 4 to 5 p.m.

Linnea Lawton, the library’s manger of digital literacy, will pass along tricks and tips to become an information detective to detect fake news. Time will also be available for questions.

Adult services manager Briana Ehnes, said fake news can be quite well disguised and staff get asked all sorts of questions from people using the library’s public computers.

“We’re in a whole new territory these days. At one point the news was the news. You could turn onto any major news channel and you would be getting the facts,” Ehnes said on Friday.

Now there’s plenty of ways to get news other than relying on traditional television broadcasts or newspapers, she said.

“People are treating other news sources as equal when perhaps they are not.

“It’s a free country and we want people to be comfortable reading whatever, but we want them to be aware of what is fake and what is real and what are the facts.”

She said fake news is widespread. People can find stories on Facebook and other social media platforms and they should be asking themselves whether it’s legitimate.

“In the last couple of years the rise of fake news has certainly been a topic people have been discussing, especially with what’s gone on with world politics.”

During the session people will learn about more authoritative news sources and what types of information is reliable and what is not quite as reliable, she said.

“Some people these days, for whatever reason, don’t necessarily know how to distinguish between the two and that’s really important. As a citizen you need to know what kind of information you’re getting and perhaps whether it’s biased or not. You have to be okay doing a little bit of fact checking.”


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