MediaSmarts and Facebook launched a new video designed to help Canadians stop the spread of false news and misinformation. This resource is the first to be produced by MediaSmarts as part of its two-year digital news literacy partnership with Facebook, a component of Facebook’s Canadian Election Integrity Initiative.

“Our research shows that Canadians are more likely to trust news shared by their family and friends on social media,” said Matthew Johnson, Director of Education for MediaSmarts, Canada’s centre for digital and media literacy. “That’s why it’s so important we take a minute to make sure a story is true before we pass it on.”

The short, animated video outlines three easy strategies for Canadians to determine whether news stories in their social media feed are responsible journalism or misinformation:
Check out the original source – see if the author actually exists and has a good track record for accuracy.
Check fact-checking sites – use a professional fact-checking site or add the words “hoax” or “scam” to an Internet search.
Think before you share – help stop false news in its tracks.
A tip sheet accompanies the video and also includes strategies for detecting fake photos and videos.

“Facebook plays an important role in facilitating public dialogue, which is why we’re committed to making it a safe and secure environment for authentic civic engagement,” said Kevin Chan, Head of Public Policy at Facebook Canada. “We’ve partnered with MediaSmarts to help Canadians make more informed decisions in the lead-up to the next election, as digital literacy is critical to preventing the spread of false news.”
The video will be launched in Vancouver during a fireside chat with Johnson and Marcy Lynn Scott, Director of Social Good Policy Programs at Facebook, hosted by Mike De Souza, Managing Editor at the National Observer. The discussion will focus on the role public news literacy plays in helping support democracy in the digital age.

MediaSmarts has been producing materials on authentication of information for Canadian classrooms, libraries and homes for over 20 years. These include research studies, lesson plans, professional development workshops and tip sheets for parents.