Journalism, 'Fake News' and Disinformation: A Handbook for Journalism Education and Training

This new publication by UNESCO is a timely resource and highly topical subject for all those who practice or teach journalism in this Digital Age.


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Module Six: Social Media Verification


Social Media Verification: Assessing Sources and Visual Content

By Tom Trewinnard and Fergus Bell 

This module is designed to help participants identify and verify the original source of digital information online. It will introduce different strategies for determining the authenticity of sources, photos and videos, especially User Generated Content (UGC) shared via social networks. By the end of this module, participants should be aware of different types of false and misleading content often shared during breaking news events on platforms such as Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and YouTube.

Such content is periodically picked up and carried by otherwise reliable news organisations, serving to discredit them. It is also inadvertently redistributed and amplified on social networks by journalists, who are sometimes targeted by malicious actors with a view to influencing public debate and leveraging reporters’ credibility as trusted sources. Participants will be asked to test their instincts with real-world scenarios and examples, before putting into practice basic investigative techniques and strategies for verifying content.

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