• Andrea Grignolio


In the United States, according to a study by the University of Stanford, 82% of North American high school students are incapable of correctly evaluating the credibility of the information found on the Internet, i.e. they are unable to distinguish the authenticity of an image or understand whether a text is sponsored and base their trust not on the origin and authority of the sources but on how much the news is shared and on the “likes” it receives. This is a result which the authors themselves define “dismaying”, “bleak” and “[a] threat to democracy” (Stanford 2016). In Europe, a recent French survey reports that 51% of French citizens are interested in conspiracy topics, and 36% of young people between the ages of 15 and 24 believe that there really exists an occult society which governs the world, a figure which pushed the government, represented by the former French Minister of Education Najat Vallaud-Belkacem, to inaugurate in 2016 a campaign for schools entitled “You’re being manipulated!” (On te manipule!), conceived to raise the awareness of pupils and teachers in schools, with ad hoc educational material (media literacy). Western society and the most advanced democracies have to face a great challenge over the next three decades, which is to find a way to handle the information overload, learning to manage the perception of risk and manipulated news.


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© Springer International Publishing AG, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Andrea Grignolio
    • 1
  1. 1.Unit and Museum of History of Medicine, Department of Experimental MedicineSapienza University of RomeRomeItaly

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