The Challenges of Disinformation: Perceptions of Social Communication graduates in the face of the threat of fake news
The challenges of misinformation remain at the top of current concerns, both in terms of the need to understand the phenomenon and in terms of the challenges that fake news represents for the generations more connected to digital media. As part of the project “Media Literacy in Higher Education: an exploratory study with Social Communication students”, this article seeks to understand how senior students of a Media Studies course position themselves in the face of the disinformation scenario. The results of the focus group show that these young people have a clear capacity to understand the phenomenon of disinformation, know how to identify its origins, and even how to fight it. Still, the fact that we are talking about a generation whose digital presence is both a characteristic and a representation of changes in their information consumption habits has implications for the reading of the fake news phenomenon. The students' distancing from the media and the polysemy of the term fake news seems to be indicators of some difficulties in the clear distinction between the intentional creation and sharing of false information on social networks and the unintentional diffusion of error by the media outlets. Thus, the polysemy of the term fake news is, from the outset, one of the challenges that urgently needs to be included in media literacy programs, along with strengthening the role, function, and social space that the media occupy in the information sector.