When I came across the article on mybroadband, entitled If you shared any of these stories on Facebook, you are an idiot, I did a little dance of joy. It's so great when I can use examples that someone else is putting out there because it makes what I'm trying to teach my students so much more real for them.
I've also been using some of the sites that they gave examples of in my classes - getting the students to evaluate them. The problem for them is that many of these sites fulfill some of the criteria for a reliable website - there's an author, a recent date, a well-laid out site, and references to where the information comes from. In fact, many of them look like reliable news sites, probably because they've been design to replicate them. So how do our students know what to look for?
One of the things I find my students gloss over is who OWNS the site. Who runs it? What is its purpose? I get them to find an 'About Us' section, and to really examine this. Often it's at that point that they make the connection that something is dodgy about the site. I'm teaching them how to use Whois and other domain name sites so they can find out who bought the domain name. I'm also making them study the articles on the sites, then getting them to do searches for similar topics to compare them and analyse them.
They're not happy with this. They're not happy with the fact that they have to scrutinise these sites to the nth degree. So I'm working on them - showing them that it's not just about finding information for projects, but finding information about life, about politics, about health, etc. So articles like this one are awesome to use to convince them that they need to be sure about the information they read.