Poynter launches Teen Fact-Checking Network in Canada

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POYNTER Institute’s media literacy initiative, MediaWise, has launched a new project called the Teen Fact-Checking Network (TFCN) in Canada in partnership with MediaSmarts, a Canadian non-profit.

Supported by the Google News Initiative, this initiative aims to equip teenagers with the skills needed to navigate the flood of misinformation on the internet.

The TFCN in Canada will consist of two teams—one for English speakers and one for French speakers. These teams will debunk false information and guide how to discern truth from fiction, particularly on social media platforms.

Brittani Kollar, the deputy director of MediaWise, emphasized the importance of collaboration with MediaSmarts to address the growing need for media literacy, regardless of geographical boundaries.

“What we consume online does not adhere to geographical boundaries, and as neighbors, I am very excited to join efforts with MediaSmarts in media literacy education,” she said.

The primary focus of the TFCN is to empower teenagers to combat misinformation, especially on social media platforms. The teenagers will be able to create engaging videos to teach practical skills such as reverse image searches, enabling the Canadian teens to confidently discuss news and information with their peers and family members.

Kathryn Hill from MediaSmarts, a longstanding advocate for digital literacy in Canada, also believes that despite being strong social media users, Gen Z frequently encounters misinformation in our rapidly changing digital world.

“We feel that the best method to teach Canadian youth fact-checking abilities is to reach them through the social media channels they use and have them learn from their friends. This application allows us to accomplish exactly that,” Hill stated.

Also in an interview with the CTV, Hill reiterated the importance of helping Gen Z develop the instincts and skills to double-check, corroborate, and verify information which is essential in empowering them and the society in combating the proliferation of misinformation effectively.

MediaSmarts will also publish the teens’ videos on its TikTok, Instagram, and YouTube channels. Applications for the French-speaking newsroom are accepted on a rolling basis.

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Amala is a tactical Fact-Checker, who is passionate about using Fact-checking to curb the spread of Misinformation and Disinformation which has become prevalent in the media space. She can be reached on X at muonweblessing and LinkedIn on Amala Blessing Muonwe

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