online education

Day of November 16: battle in opposition to pretend information and conspiracy theories

France Télévisions is mobilizing on a special day this Wednesday, November 16, to raise public awareness in the fight against misinformation and “fake news”. On the program: testimonials, decryptions, advice and tips on tracking down and spotting misinformation in the news.

More than 85% of 18-24 year olds in France say so Information obtained only through social networks. For many they will the main source of information. In France, according to the 2017 Media Barometer, 83% of social media users are exposed to rumours, and a third of respondents believe it is safe fake news are true.

fake news


©France 3

Fake news is one “False reports knowingly spread in the media”. Fake news can be produced ideological reasons (disinformation campaign), guidelines (destabilize an opponent during an election) or even financially (e.g. scamming on the internet to steal personal information). Fake news has an annoying tendency to look exactly like authentic information. Some Hints however, allow them to be identified.

Here are some questions to ask yourself to gauge that Quality and relevance of the information:

  • Who is the author ? Is the item signed? Check the actual existence of the author, his legitimacy, his other writings.
  • What is the author’s goal? Does it describe facts or express an opinion?
  • What is the nature of the site? Information site, entertainment site, parody site… when that information is on a site whose purpose is to create hoaxes. The information will be wrong. The URL can also be an indicator: a .gouv file makes it possible to identify an official site (but beware of “fake friends”, a reversed letter in the URL can indicate a fake).
  • How does the site look? The look, the language, the way of advertising… the presentation of a website is sometimes an indication of the credibility of the information found there.
  • Where does the information come from? The sources of information determine its truthfulness. It’s important to meet her.
  • What is the release date? It is important to know when the situation in question occurred. Information taken out of context can mislead the reader.
  • Does the information contain any inconsistencies? Mismatched details, an image that doesn’t match the caption, or irrelevant comments can raise suspicions.

L’media education and in a critical sense, it is essential to fight against fake news and its consequences: risk of recruitment, manipulation and conspiracy theory, radicalization… Digital is not the origin of fake news, but the virality of social networks greatly contributes to its dissemination .

New competences are entrusted to the Superior council of audio-visual (CSA), which becomes the guarantor of the platforms’ obligation to cooperate. Equipped with a Power of recommendation to facilitate platform self-regulationsets out in its annual report the results of the actions carried out by the platforms.

Other provisions concern the Strengthening media and information skills enable the acquisition of true digital citizenship, particularly in the context of moral and political education.

The permanent and sustainable solution to combating misinformation is going through Educating young and old about responsible use of mass media and social media. Media and Information Literacy (MIL), through teaching mastery of media and digital codes, languages ​​and practices, is the best way to learn to distinguish and identify quality information fake news.

Visual Territorial Fake News 2018

In French law, there are many texts to punish the senders of fake news with intent to harm and also set rules for digital platforms.

Article 27 of the Freedom of the Press Act of July 29, 1881 punishes the dissemination of false news if it is likely to disturb the “public peace”.

The Criminal Code punishes a year’s imprisonment and a fine of 45,000 euros for intentionally violating the privacy of another person by any means. It is punishable by one year’s imprisonment and a fine of 15,000 euros if by any means the montage made with a person’s words or image is published without their consent, if it is not obvious to them that it is a montage or if not expressly mentioned.

Beyond these specific texts, general accusations can be used: in particular defamation crimedefined by the Freedom of the Press Act (“Any statement or insinuation of a fact that undermines the honor or reputation of the person or entity to which the fact is attributed“).

If the forgery relates to an aspect of private life, the victim can appeal to the judge in chambers based on the provisions of the Article 9 of the Civil Code after which “everyone has the right to it privacy“(Protection against any violation of the right to name, image, voice, privacy, honor and reputation, forgetting, one’s own biography).

In addition, since the vote of the Digital Economy Confidence Act (LCEN) of 2004 (new window), the platforms, in their capacity as hosters, are obliged to provide and store the data Allowing identification of individuals using its services. The law provides for a summary procedure (“LCEN-Summary”), which allows the judicial authority to remedy damage caused by the content of a public online communication service by blocking access to online content or by deleting it.

The law of December 22, 2018 on the manipulation of information creates a new summaryin the three months before an election to stop broadcasting”inaccurate or misleading claims or allegations of any fact that could affect the sincerity of the upcoming vote […] intentionally, artificially, or automatically and massively disseminated via any public online communications service“.

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