Can you tell whether an online news article is fake or real? Play the digital game "Factitious" and learn more about the precautions you can take to identify fake news.
Every day about two million articles are posted online. These texts come in all shapes and sizes and may be written for a variety of purposes. Sometimes to inform, other times to deceive. Separating fact-based journalism from fiction requires an attentive reader. It is not always easy to be aware of what to look for before taking a seemingly trustworthy news story at face value. Factitious is a game that tests users’ ability to detect fake news from real. It was developed by Maggie Farley/The AU Game Lab in 2017.
A note for teachers about playing the game in class
The game can be played with either easy, medium or high difficulty settings. A recommended approach is to first play the game on the easy setting. Follow up with group/class discussion about their experiences and let the students repeat the game on a higher difficulty setting. The option to “sign in to save your scores” is not required to play the game.
Expected game time for two games is 20-30 minutes.
You can use the game as part of a unit on fake news or source awareness.
Questions to discuss in groups before playing the game:
- What are your main sources for news online? Specific news sites? Blogs? Social Media? Search engines?
- Do you feel confident in your ability to assess whether a news story is true or false?
- What do you look for when deciding if a news story is reliable?
- Have you ever “liked” or shared a news article without reading it properly first?
Play the Game:
Factitious lets you put your skills of identifying fake news to the test. The game will require you to read a series of short news stories. Your task is to decide whether you believe the news stories to be true or false (swipe right for true, swipe left for false). Make sure to read the in-game tips between the articles. They contain information that might allow you to improve your score.
Click here to play: Factitious
Complete these tasks after playing the game:
Discuss with a partner or in a group:
- Which articles were particularly challenging. Why were they challenging?
- Did you approach the texts in this game differently than news stories that you come across in social media?
- What were your main strategies for deciding whether a story was fake?
- Make a list of the five things you believe are most important when deciding whether an article is reliable.
- Make an infographic or poster where the goal is to inform people about how to identify fake news.