Teachers play a vital role in promoting critical thinking among students as the spread of disinformation or fake news has become more rampant in social media, an educator said.
"Educators and teachers at any level, from basic, secondary, to tertiary level of education, we all play a very important role not just in shaping the values of our students but more importantly how we equip them to think critically," University of the Philippines (UP) Manila Professor Carl Marc Ramota said during the launching of Akademiya at Bayan Kontra Disimpormasyon at Dayaan (ABKD).
"Yung pinakamahalaga talaga dun is yung critical thinking (The most important thing is to teach critical thinking). Because teachers and students, we may have different views on a number of things, but the most important thing that a teacher can provide to his or her students is yung (the) ability to discern, ability to examine things critically," Ramota stressed.
The UP professor said fake news on politics "became more widespread" in the time of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Citing a study conducted by Vosoughi et al. in 2018, Ramota said fake news is 70 percent more likely to be shared or retweeted compared to real news.
He also underscored that disinformation is political.
"The issue of disseminating information is political. Especially the deliberate dissemination of misinformation that usually comes from groups or individuals that are well-funded, well-oiled, well organized. It's also political." Ramota added in Filipino.
A study conducted by VERA Files in 2018, it found that eight in 10 deceptive posts are about political issues or figures.
Meanwhile, the study also found that 60 pages that shared disinformation have "Duterte" in their names, at least 13 pages that shared fake news bear "Marcos," and at least 19 pages that shared fake news claim to be legitimate sources of news.
ABKD is a network of professors, teachers, researchers, educators, and academic institutions that aims to fact-check the claims of candidates and their supporters countering disinformation in social media and other platforms ahead of the May 2022 elections.