Updated: March 17, 2022
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You will learn

The MediaWise Teen Fact-Checking Network (TFCN) combats online misinformation by using social media to fact-check viral posts and teach digital media literacy tips to their peers. Below are three claims that have been fact-checked by the TFCN. Try to verify them on your own, then watch as a TFCN member walks you through how they debunked it.

Activity #1: Will eating a burnt orange with sugar help you regain your senses after getting COVID-19?

After so many people lost their ability to taste and smell due to COVID-19, the internet was overloaded with tricks, hacks and home remedies for how to get your senses back. One supposed “solution” that’s continued to make the rounds on YouTube involves burning an orange and mashing it up with sugar. But is this remedy proven to work?

Activity: Try fact-checking the YouTube video on your own. (Time estimate: 10 min)

Watch the TFCN fact-check:

Activity #2: Will melting glaciers caused by climate change release frozen zombie viruses?

The internet has been buzzing about a consequence of climate change that, while isn’t as visible as stranded polar bears and wildfires, is just as alarming. Zombie viruses. Bacteria and viruses — preserved for centuries in glaciers — coming back to life as the Arctic’s permafrost starts to thaw. A TikTok went viral, hitting 1.4 million likes and 6.3 million views. In the video, the creator states that melting ice caps could expose humans to ancient viruses still able to infect their targets. But is that true?

Activity: Watch the TikTok and try to fact-check this claim on your own. (Time estimate: 10 min)

Watch the TFCN fact-check:

Activity #3: Did this 1950s PSA predict a pandemic in the year 2020?

This YouTube video claiming to be a public service announcement from the 1950s went viral, and warns of a virus that will break out by the year 2020.

Activity: Watch the video and then try fact-checking it on your own. (Time estimate: 10 min)

Watch the TFCN fact-check:

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Summary

As proven by these teenaged fact-checkers, debunking viral misinformation doesn’t have to be difficult. By incorporating some of these media literacy skills into your own social media usage, you can help combat the spread of misinformation online.