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The Italian government has launched a program that helps students spot fake news on the Internet.
Launched in October 2017 as a response to the proliferation of fake news related to the 2018 Italian elections, the course aims to teach students in 8,000 high schools in Italy how to identify conspiracies and false information online. As a result, the government has collaborated with Italian journalists to create lessons and worksheets on how to avoid dissemination of fake news and take action when encountering news from dubious sources.
The project is also a collaboration with social media platform Facebook and technology giant Google. Facebook, in particular, is raising awareness by promoting the program in its ads catered to high school users.
Laura Boldrini, head of Italy’s lower parliament, is leading the program along with the Ministry Of Education in hopes of protecting students from fabricated information. She also wishes that the program will serve as a model to other European countries in combatting fake news.
Several other countries in Europe have started their fight against fake news. The United Kingdom has launched an investigation on fake news and looked into the responsibilities of social media platforms such as Facebook and Twitter, which usually feature articles containing false information. In addition, Germany, France, and Switzerland have all developed campaigns and projects comparable to the Italian government’s initiative.
Similarly, a professor in Israel’s Haifa University developed the course “Fake News”, which looks into current propagandas and effects of social media on people’s realities. The course also aims to enhance students’ critical thinking skills in understanding social media messages.