Have fun and learn: the best games for spotting hoaxes

Who said that playing and learning should be separate worlds? That’s silly! Playing games is one of the best ways to remember new information. Why is that? Well, when we are having fun, new information becomes etched in our minds. That is why we have prepared a list of the best games and activities to help you learn how to verify what you read and become more aware of the nature of disinformation. We suggest that you put yourself in the shoes of a journalist, or a fake news creator. Learn how to train your eye to identify fake photos and how to figure out where you are if you get lost with Google Street View… Play and find out if you are ready to be good fake hunters!

Posted by Guillem Raich | 19.08.2021

Bad News

In Bad News you play the role of a fake news creator. Drop your ethics and take the path that will get you the most followers on your social media. How do you play? The game offers you a series of choices and you have to walk a fine line. If your lies are too obvious, you lose credibility, but if you are too truthful, you lose followers. The goal is to bend the truth without breaking it as you watch the number of your followers go through the roof. Be careful! It is addictive to see the number of followers going up and it seems so simple…

Which face is real

The rules are simple: you click on the person you think is real. The game Which face is real? shows you two faces and you decide which one is computer-generated. Easy right? Well, it isn’t. The game has been developed at the University of Washington as part of the Calling Bullshit project. The aim is to “make you aware of the ease with which digital identities can be faked, and to help you spot these fakes at a single glance.” Try it out. It’s much harder than you might think.

EUvsDisinfo Quiz

Can disinformation fool you?” This is the question that welcomes you to the EUvsDisinfo Quiz. The quiz takes you through a series of tweets and news stories and asks you to identify which of them are real, fake, or satire. It’s a chance to play at being a real journalist and learn to dig deeper by consulting the sources and rooting out deception. The project is part of the European External Action Service, which is dedicated to identifying and exposing disinformation narratives originating in pro-Kremlin media.

First Draft Geolocation Challenge

A vehicle exploded and you are told that it was in Turkey. How can you know if it really happened? Geolocation is one of the best ways to verify images by taking advantage of the observable clues in a photograph and identifying its real position on the map. This is what the First Draft Geolocation Challenge offers. Perhaps you can see a sign, the name of a street, a store, or a license plate on a car; all these clues will help you pass the First Draft test. First Draft News is the premier anti-disinformation site leading the fight against misinformation by proving people with the necessary knowledge and tools.

GeoGuessr

This is probably the best-known application on this list. GeoGuessr has become a live-streaming phenomenon on Twitch. Your job is simple, figure out where in the world the game has dropped you in the shortest time possible. You use Google StreetView, like in the previous game, and have to collect information from your surroundings such as traffic signs, landmarks, and shop signs to discover where you’ve been randomly dropped. The more precise you are, the higher your score.

BBC iReporter

Congratulations! You have been chosen to join the BBC’s team of journalists! What is your assignment? Cover a breaking news story and report it on the BBC. This is the challenge in the BBC iReporter game. You will be assessed based on your accuracy, speed and impact. Be careful not to fall for hoaxes and remember that your sources are your best allies. But relax; you will be provided with tips on how to detect misinformation. The BBC released this game in 2018 to help 11 to 18-year-olds identify misinformation online.

Fact-check it!

Now we would like to share another option, Fact-check it! This one is not an online game, but a card game to play in class, which will be great for teachers. It all happens in the fictional country of Agritania, where a debate on an upcoming referendum to ban GMOs has come under attack by fake news mongers. The students work in Agritania Today newsroom and will have to verify 25 different news stories that will be reported on the day of the vote. The game is designed for a class of 25 students, aged 15 and older, divided into five working groups. The game kit consists of 25 cards, a fact-checking tip sheet, and a teacher’s guide, all free to download.

Harmony Square

Hello and congratulations! You’re hired!

Hired? As what?

As our new Chief Disinformation Officer!

That’s how you are introduced to Harmony Square where your mission is to trample the peace and quiet of Harmony Square, a neighborhood obsessed with democracy. The strategies are well known; polarize citizens, spread fake news, and set social media on fire. The aim of the game is to show the techniques used to deceive people and demonstrate just how easy it is to spread hate. The initiative was created at the University of Cambridge and is funded by the U.S. State Department’s Global Engagement Center (GEC) and the U.S. Department of Homeland Security’s Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA).

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