Technical note Open Access
In the context of the massive use of social media and considering the EU Youth Strategy 2019-2027 with regards to democracy, there is a strong need for skills to deal with misinformation, disinformation and fake news. A consortium of five organisations from Romania (Asociatia TEAM4Excellence), Spain (Solidaridad Sin Fronteras), Poland (Instytut Badan i Innowacji w Edukacji), Italy (The social promotion association Petit Pas) and France (CEMEA Rhone-Alpes) reviewed the international studies about youth behaviour on social media. It revealed that social media makes them feel included rather than excluded: 71% vs. 25% (PEW research centre, 2018).
In order to acquire new skills or sharpen the existing ones, continuously learning is beneficial, because that specific outcome becomes a lifestyle, so hardly it can be forgotten. In addition, training is not only about feeding the brain, but the person as a whole. Consequently, training people on a common interest topic needs to be done by organisations with a holistic approach, rather than one-off activities, at three different levels: strategic, tactical and operational.
The current paper helps youth organisations to develop and deploy strategies of intervention to fight against fake news. It does so at the strategic planning level, but also at the tactical intervention level. Moreover, the paper sets out a methodology to operationalise the strategy at the activity level, through non-formal education activities and tools, with examples of good practices across Europe.
At the strategic planning level, the paper provides support to analyse the external and internal environment of the organisation, define its purpose in terms of mission, vision and values, set up strategic objectives with the associated indicators and targets and, finally, generate strategic options to approach the fight against fake news.
In terms of tactical interventions, the paper identifies and expands on acting upon a range of strategic options, including training the trainers, gamification, regulating social media, financing activities through EU projects, involving local and international volunteers, developing course materials and online platforms, partnering with schools and universities, developing internal training schemes and joining membership organisations.
At the activity level, the consortium sets out a methodology to search for, adapt or create activities which may be used to operationalise the tactical interventions, in line with the strategy of the organisation. The methodology walks readers through a series of steps, from preparatory activities to design and development of activities, testing and completion of these activities.
Moreover, good practices are given to serve as an activity backpack for organisations which aim to help fight against fake news. Each good practice includes relevant information and references for its implementation, such as a general description, who implemented the good practice, where it could be retrieved from, what is the target audience, what are the objectives and learning outcomes, and how to implement it, what are the success factors and the expected impact.
Finally, based on the above strategic elements, the consortium members implemented a selection of tactics and activities, which are also included in this guide. For example, project partners created an online course on fake news, initiated a topical #NoFakeNews social media group, issued a Magazine with non-formal activities, designed a toolbox to spot fake news and published a research on skillsets for limiting the spread of fake news.