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每日跟讀#483 : In Italian Schools, Reading, Writing and Recognizing Fake News

數位時代的新十誡 義大利教導學生辨認假新聞

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每日跟讀#483 : In Italian Schools, Reading, Writing and Recognizing Fake News

Italian students will soon tackle work sheets with a list of what amounts to a new set of Ten Commandments for the digital age.

Among them: Thou shalt not share unverified news; thou shall ask for sources and evidence; thou shall remember that the internet and social networks can be manipulated.



The lessons, prepared by reporters from the national broadcaster RAI, are part of an extraordinary experiment by the Italian government, in cooperation with leading digital companies including Facebook, to train a generation of students steeped in social media how to recognize fake news and conspiracy theories online.

“Fake news drips drops of poison into our daily web diet and we end up infected without even realizing it,” said Laura Boldrini, the president of the Italian lower house of Parliament, who has spearheaded the project with the Italian Ministry of Education.



“It's only right to give these kids the possibility to defend themselves from lies,” said Boldrini, who is left-leaning but not affiliated with any political party. The initiative will be rolled out in 8,000 high schools across the country starting on Oct. 31.

Italy, of course, is not alone in trying to find a way to grapple with the global proliferation of propaganda that has sown public confusion and undermined the credibility of powerful institutions.



Pope Francis recently announced that he would dedicate his 2018 World Communications Day address to the topic of fake news, and the U.S. Congress is investigating how Russian agents manipulated Facebook and Twitter to spread false stories and stoke conspiracy theories to sway the 2016 presidential election.

But before crucial Italian elections early next year, the country has become an especially fertile ground for digital deceit. Frustrated by economic woes, upset by a migrant crisis and fed a steady diet of partisan media, many Italians subscribe to all kinds of conspiracy theories.

Boldrini, sponsor of the new student curriculum, asserts the government must teach the next generation of Italian voters how to defend themselves against falsehoods and conspiracy theories.





文/Jason Horowitz譯/李京倫
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