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Critical thinking in an age of fake news

After the school shooting in Florida fake news reports flooded the internet saying two survivors who spoke out after the tragedy were actors and not real students.

The reasons given for the supposed elaborate deception range from CNN paying actors, to the far-fetched claim that actors were employed by the government to pretend they witnessed an event which never happened. Supposedly, as part of an attempt to build political will to ban guns.

This claim crumples in the face of reason after US President Donald Trump suggested teachers should be armed. Despite this and the fact the identities of the students being confirmed as students, the claim –  along with many other fake news claims persist on conspiracy sites.

In a post-truth era of alternative facts and fake news, the ability to discern what is true is an increasingly important skill.

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