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The Debate

What's your source? How to tell right from wrong in the age of social media

It's what "www" stands for: the World Wide Web. When the Internet truly went global nearly a quarter of a century ago, there was much rejoicing at the prospect of news at the speed of light and a global conversation where informed citizens could share news. Never has humanity had access to so much news, often in real time, and never have traditional media outlets like newspapers, radio, and even television felt such a decline.

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Here in France, it's the annual "Press and Media Week" in French schools, a chance for FRANCE 24's "Truth or Fake" unit to go over some simple tenets of fact-checking that we can all follow in a world where lies and misinformation seem to spread much faster than the truth. How to sort fact from fiction in the era of unfiltered access to information?

Friday's tragic events in Christchurch, New Zealand, remind us that yes, the world is a smaller place, but with sometimes sinister consequences. It's not just the 17 minutes of live streaming on Facebook that are chilling. It's the fact that an echo chamber of half-truths, conspiracy theories and outright lies enabled a white supremacist to carry out the terror attack against two mosques.

It's about more than just checking our own facts. How to expose the misinformation that comforts convenient conspiracy theories that can break down trust in the public space and trigger everything from measles outbreaks to terror attacks?

Produced by Alessandro XENOS, Ingri BERGO and James VASINA.

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