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Report from the CILIPS East Fake News Workshop with Ferret Fact Service

Branch: East Branch | Category: Blog, Branches and Groups

On Monday 22nd October Librarians and Information Professionals from around Scotland gathered in the beautiful library at Stewart’s Melville College to attend the East Branch Fake News workshop with Alastair Brian of ‘The Ferret Fact Service’

Alastair introduced ‘Fake News’ and quickly focussed how it is reported in social media, with lots of examples such as photo-shopped images and news items. He explained that the top 2 news stories of last year were both fake news items concerning Donald Trump and Barack Obama. He then explained the role of the Ferret Fact Service ‘Scotland’s first non-partisan fact checking service’:

“We rate our fact checks on a six-point scale which is explained below:

True – The claim is accurate, and has not left out mitigating factors or important context

Mostly True – The claim is still true, but requires further information or clarification to create a full picture

Half True – The claim is somewhat or partially accurate, but leaves out crucial information or is selectively taken out of context

Mostly False – The claim may contain a kernel of truth but leaves out facts which lead one to a different impression.

False – The claim is incorrect, not accurate.

FFS! (For Facts’ Sake) – The claim is baseless, ridiculous and/or logically impossible!”

Taken from FFS website 31/10/2018

Alastair showed us how easy it is to check images using the Google Image search option, taking us through the steps using these two examples: “Sharks on the highway” and “Jay Z with Barry Chuckle”!

The rest of the afternoon was spent discussing information literacy courses that we already run in our establishments (School, College and University) and how we anticipate incorporating Fake News into them (or in my case, starting completely from scratch!). Time was given for folk to start working on their ideas and everyone took the opportunity to discuss these with Alastair. We shared some of our favourite websites and fake images, my favourites being Australian Drop Bears and the classic 1957 Spaghetti Tree, an April Fool from the BBC.

Everyone went away with an East Branch branded USB stick stuffed with goodies including examples of Fake News stories and images for us to use in the library with our students.

I learned so much and can’t wait to start creating an activity for my students.

Julie Sutherland

Forrester High School Librarian