The rise of fake news in the COVID-19 era has had terrible consequences already and looks likely to continue to do so. In response, a group of postgraduate students at Rhodes University have developed an educational video that outlines the responsibility of higher education staff and students to address this practice.
In the video, these students argue that fake news has as many causes as it does consequences. People who want five-minutes of fame in a celebrity-obsessed world may simply make up stories, those with an agenda of hate may use such stories to sow division, and various outlets use fake news as the kind of click-bait that generates advertising revenue.
The problem is that such stories quickly gain momentum and can drown out fact-based communication. They also contribute to the general anti-science movement which makes it a challenge to address catastrophes such as the pandemic.
Their video calls for those who are privileged to participate in higher education to play a particular role in monitoring fake news stories. Students and staff are challenged to bring to their social media engagement the kind of intellectual criticality they have developed for their research endeavours.
Watch the video here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lnRWp3QHWfI