Resources for Teachers - Authenticating Information

Break the Fake: Spotting hate propaganda

What do we mean by propaganda?

  • Propaganda tries to get you to believe in an idea or to feel a certain way.
  • Propaganda convinces you by provoking your emotions instead of making a logical argument.

Not all propaganda is bad! It can inspire positive emotions like love, pride and empathy. It can persuade us to do things like putting on seatbelts or brushing our teeth.

Hate propaganda is different: it tries to make us fear and distrust another group of people.

We are all broadcasters

Here are three tips to make sure you share good information and stop the spread of hoaxes, rumours and scams.

1. Watch for your own bias

One of the hardest things about being a responsible sharer is to be aware of the reasons why you might be more likely to believe something without evidence. Before you share a story, take a few minutes to see whether you’ve fallen into one of these common biases:

Break the Fake: Correcting disinformation

Here are three ways to respond to false info online:

1. Ask a question

If the false info is coming from a friend or a family member, or you’re worried that your reply might help spread the false info, you can just ask a question like “Are you sure that’s true?” or “Is that source reliable?”.  

That nudges them to think more about whether what they're sharing is true, and shows other people that you don't agree with the bad info.

Research has found this works almost as well as correcting or debunking false information!

Reality Check: Authentication 101

Level: Grades 9 to 12
About the Author: Matthew Johnson, Director of Education, MediaSmarts
Duration: 1 ½ to 2 hours, plus time for the assessment/evaluation activity

Stay on the Path Lesson Four: Scavenger Hunt

In this lesson, students apply their searching and critical thinking skills to learn how to find legitimate online sources for downloading and streaming movies, music and videos.