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Apr 19, 2017 11:55 AM EDT

University of Michigan Offers Online Class to Help Citizens Identify Fake News [Video]

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Fake news
UM is offering an online course to teach the public on how fake news can be spotted.
(Photo : Getty Images/Sion Touhig )

Fake news has been everywhere, constantly confusing and misleading people from the truth. And now, they are even more difficult to spot, for which reason the University of Michigan prepares to offer an online course to help their citizens be equipped on effectively spotting fake news.

The faculty members of University of Michigan is offering a free online course on Friday, April 21 entitled "Fake News, Facts, and Alternative Facts" on the edX website, Michigan Radio reported. This is the website that universities use to offer free online classes to the public.

According to Brian Weeks who teach communication studies, it is good that Google and Facebook are launching new tools to better help the public be informed on how to distinguish what is true and what is not. He believes that one way to do it is through citizen education.

According to Michigan News, the online course is modeled after the historic U-M teach ins of the 1960s, where the participants get the chance to learn based on their own pace at a time they prefer, as soon as the learning materials are available and are posted online.

Weeks said that inaccurate information as well as fake news are a threat to the basic foundations of democracy. He said that one way to have a meaningful dialog, people must agree on the facts.

He also added a lot of fake news that spread especially online are really harder to spot. He advice the public to read beyond the headline and to find out the author of the article and check if there are also other reliable sources or news organization who reported the same story. He said that people should begin to look into their own biases; even their friends' who share and spread stories on Facebook and other social media platforms.

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