Students and teachers are effected by fake news epidemic


Claire Smout

ABC News claims that Obama signed an executive order banning the pledge of allegiance in school. This fake news article got over 150,000 views.

With 2016 being a presidential election year and 2.3 billion active social media users increasing, fake news has never been more prominent.

“I have only encountered fake news on social media. I typically see people sharing and posting things that are clearly not true and asserting them as fact,” English teacher Casey Holland said.“The articles that I encountered were mostly centered around the election. It got so bad I deleted my Facebook account.”

According to Buzzfeed data,  the total number of shares, likes and comments on fake news articles is 1.4 million higher than traditional news articles on Facebook.

“When browsing the internet or reading or watching the news, I have never directly seen fake news and been able to point it out, and that’s a reason why it’s so problematic,” sophomore Peyton Gaskill said.

Often we don’t know if what we are hearing is fake,”

— Peyton Gaskill

Gaskill along with other English II students are in the process of writing a research paper in which they must gather their own sources. Teachers actively warn students to evaluate whether their articles are from trustworthy sources.

“I think when students are doing research, particularly with the databases and print sources in the library, they use high-quality sources.  They are also told to evaluate their sources with caution,” English teacher Erin Fluchel said.

English Academic Support Center teacher Kristen Witt agrees that students reading and using information from non reputable sources is an issue.

Students and teachers alike are becoming aware of the serious consequences of fake news.

“Fake news and misinformation can affect the beliefs of groups of people. If a person in power said a lie, but it supported the world view of their followers, most of those followers would take it as the truth,” Gaskill said. “People don’t challenge their own worldviews, and I think that’s dangerous.”