This Country Is Training High School Students To Be ‘Fake News Hunters’ Ahead of Its Next Election
The Ten Commandments are getting a digital makeover in Italy.
A new government-sponsored program, to begin on October 31, will seek to teach students how to recognize fake news and conspiracy theories online.
The program will be rolled out in 8,000 schools across the country and delivered in cooperation with tech giants like Google and Facebook. According to the New York Times, students will receive a list of instructions, such as, “Thou shalt not share unverified news; thou shall ask for sources and evidence; thou shall remember that the Internet and social networks can be manipulated.”
Laura Boldrini, the president of the Italian lower house of Parliament, is leading the project in conjunction with the Ministry of Education. She explained to the Times that she wants to help young people defend themselves from the “drops of poison” that fake news stealthily drips into their “daily web diet.”
Boldrini said she’s personally skeptical about Facebook’s commitment to fighting fake news and hate speech, but she acknowledged that “many young Italians live” in the virtual space provided by the social network and Google. As such, Facebook is reportedly contributing to the program by showing students how their “likes” on the platform are “monetized and politicized.”
Ultimately, the program seeks to create “fake news hunters” of students, helping them flag fabricated stories and verify facts. With coverage of Italy’s upcoming election already flooded with conspiracy theories and propaganda, Boldrini hopes that people won’t fall for such fake news if they’re educated about it.
If the program is successful, Facebook reportedly hopes to launch other programs throughout Europe.