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Fighting fake news one Tweet at a time



Fighting fake news one Tweet at a time


The principle of freedom of speech allows Americans the right to express opinions without censorship or restraint, and social media provides a 24/7 platform for that purpose. According to Pew Research, approximately two-thirds of Americans report that they get at least some of their news from social media outlets. In this lesson, students will review what Twitter is doing — and not doing — to fight fake news. After careful analysis, students will present their opinions in a Socratic Seminar.


  • Students will recognize the pros and cons of people relying on social media as their primary news source.
  • Students will gain an understanding of how Twitter filters news.
  • Students will discuss the level of responsibility social media platforms have in preventing the spread of misinformation.

Common Core State Standards

CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.RI.9-10.8 Delineate and evaluate the argument and specific claims in a text, assessing whether the reasoning is valid and the evidence is relevant and sufficient; identify false statements and fallacious reasoning.
CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.RI.9-10.1 Cite strong and thorough textual evidence to support analysis of what the text says explicitly as well as inferences drawn from the text.
CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.W.9-10.2 Write informative/explanatory texts to examine and convey complex ideas, concepts, and information clearly and accurately through the effective selection, organization, and analysis of content.
CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.SL.9-10.4 Present information, findings, and supporting evidence clearly, concisely, and logically such that listeners can follow the line of reasoning and the organization, development, substance, and style are appropriate to purpose, audience, and task.


1 class period (Easily extended into two class periods. Day 1 – Research, Day 2 – Socratic Seminar)

Materials / resources

Rubric for Socratic Seminar

Teacher Scoresheet (at end of lesson)

Lesson step­-by-­step

Step 1 — Introduction and article reading (15 minutes)

Read this article from Poynter Institute “What’s the matter with Twitter?”

Step 2 – Individual preparation for Socratic Seminar (15 minutes)

Write thoughtful answers to the following questions, citing evidence from the text and other research.

  • What does Twitter do to combat the spread of misinformation on its platform?
  • How do Twitter’s policies and actions compare to Facebook, Google and YouTube?
  • Share your thoughts about freedom of speech vs. spread of misinformation on social media platforms. What do you think companies should do about fake news and hate speech?


Step 3 – Socratic Seminar (30 minutes)

Host a Socratic Seminar in which the classroom is divided into two groups, an inner circle and an outer circle. The inner circle will discuss the first two questions aloud while the outer circle observes and completes the Socratic Seminar participation rubric. Halfway through the time, the inner circle and outer circle will switch places, and the new inner circle will now discuss the final question.


  • Have students interview each other regarding social media’s responsibility to prevent the spread of misinformation. Ask them to recall instances when they have been fooled by fake news. Have students record their interviews and create a podcast to share with the class and/or online.
  • Student can research Twitter, Facebook, and one other social media site such as Snapchat or YouTube to create a comparison/contrast chart regarding their policies when handling misinformation on their platforms.

Additional Resources:

Socratic Seminar Instructions (if you have never hosted one before):


Socratic Seminar Rubric : Teacher Score Sheet

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