The Future of Education

Edition 14

Accepted Abstracts

Who shares fake news?Consumption, verification and dissemination of information among adolescents

María Riberas-Gutiérrez, Universidad Pontificia Comillas (Spain)

María Reneses, Universidad Pontificia Comillas (Spain)

Nereida Bueno-Guerra, Universidad Pontificia Comillas (Spain)


Fake news is a widespread phenomenon in society, especially among the younger population, as they are more vulnerable to fall into this type of content due to the fact that their main source of information is social networks [1]. In addition, fake news often contains hate speeches that encourage discrimination of minority groups [2]. With the aim of delving deeper into the phenomenon, the main objective of this study is to find out how adolescents access and share online information, in particular fake news. To achieve this goal, eight focus groups were conducted in five European countries (Portugal, Spain, Greece, Slovakia and Estonia) with adolescents aged 12-17 years, and a regional survey (in Spain) with a representative sample of 682 students. The paper presents the results of part of the research conducted for the European H2020 Rayuela project on cybercrime and minors

The results firstly show that for most participants their main source of information is social media, although they reported greater credibility on traditional media. The main issues that participants look at to assess the credibility of the content when sharing were: the sender (whether trusted or untrusted), the source of the information, the style, the comments on the post, the date of publication and the inclusion of a video [3].The topics that young people found more frequently related to fake news were health [4], celebrities´ lifes, and moral panics. Finally, we describe the differences between teenagers who share fake news on purpose and unintentionally. In terms of the reach of fake news, 8.9% of participants reported having shared fake news on purpose while 27.9% did so unintentionally. The former ones admit to having also been perpetrators of online hate speech (sexism, racism and LGTBIphobia) while the later ones tend to use handy devices (e.g., smartphone, tablet). Therefore, these results provide valuable information for prevention programmes to teach young people how to check the veracity of sources,to prioritize the importance of consuming truthful information and to warn about the dangers of trusting false information.

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