Instituto Politécnico de Viseu - Escola Superior de Educação (PORTUGAL)
About this paper:
Appears in: ICERI2019 Proceedings
Publication year: 2019
Pages: 365-373
ISBN: 978-84-09-14755-7
ISSN: 2340-1095
doi: 10.21125/iceri.2019.0130
Conference name: 12th annual International Conference of Education, Research and Innovation
Dates: 11-13 November, 2019
Location: Seville, Spain
It is a fact that digital platforms such as Facebook, Instagram or Twitter aim to capture our attention, maximizing the time we spend using them. However, this objective has serious consequences since to keep users’ attention, social media tend to suggest content of the interest of digital consumers just to maintain them online. People become informed about events mostly through opinioned digital media rather than objective news on traditional broadcasting. Fake news emerges and the massive spread of it has been identified as an enormous global danger.

So, the nature of online news publication has changed. Fake news spreads all over the world and this is a relevant issue to be study within academy today, especially regarding the curricular plans on communication studies. Young people, who spend a lot of time in the Internet, are especially vulnerable to the manipulation of digital misinformation and the academy is engaging in efforts to investigate the phenomenon. What do they know about fake news? And Where do young people get their news?

This paper reports some of the results obtained in a case study in a Portuguese Public Higher Education Institution that aimed to identify the student’s perceptions about fake news. Within this study, information was gathered through an online questionnaire and a focus group. In this paper, we present some of the results gathered through the questionnaire, that cover several issues related to student’s perceptions about fake news and disinformation online. The sample was made up of 90 students who were attending the Multimedia Workshop course unit (Degree in Social Communication 1st Cycle, 2nd year) in the academic year 2018/2019.

The data analysis indicates that students trust mostly on news and information from television, printed media and radio. Messaging apps, social networks, websites and podcasts are less reliable for the participants. Concerning areas where they consider that there is a greater diffusion of false or manipulated news, the majority of the students believe it is in the politics area. Most of the students showed some concerns when sharing news, normally they:
- confirm the authors of the news and if there is mention to the sources;
- confirm where the news was originally published;
- confirm the date of the news release and verify the way it is written.

The results of this study have the potential to contribute for a better understanding of fake news related issues in a context where, according to literature review and in the case of Portuguese Higher Education, this matter is rarely looked into.
Fake news, disinformation, students, higher education, Portugal.