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Teens Think They're Really Good At Spotting Fake News

They think they're a lot better at spotting it than they actually are.

Posted on May 25, 2017, at 9:01 a.m. ET

BuzzFeed partnered with After School to ask 39,000 high school students about their opinions on fake news.

83% of US teens are familiar with the term "fake news".

We wanted to poll some actual high schoolers, and the social app After School verifies its users are actually in high school through their Facebook and other factors. Teens from all 50 states answered poll questions run in the app – just over 39,000 teens in total.

A study from Stanford last year showed that middle and high school students aren't very good at determining fake news – especially more nuanced things like noticing bias in a source, or understanding the difference between sponsored content and a regular article. (If you want to test your own ability to sniff out fake news, try one of our quizzes to see if you're actually as good as you think.)

After the 2016 election brought the scourge of fake news into the national conversation, some schools started teaching kids media literacy and how to spot false stories on social media.

The polling standards here are not exactly scientifically rigorous, considering this survey's results came from a bunch of kids on an app answering a poll. So take this with a grain of salt.

Teens said that if they see something they think is a fake news story on social media, most of them will just ignore it.

But 31% actually will go ahead and call it out to the person who posted it. Bold!

Among those who had NOT heard of "fake news," the majority doesn't believe that most news stories are true.

So they may have not heard the term fake news, but they believe there's plenty of it out there.

And among teens who had never heard of "fake news", they're pretty split about if they think they can spot an untrue new story.

The majority still believe they can spot a fake news story.

Teens don't differ from adults too much.

A Pew survey showed that about 85% percent of adults believe they are very confident or somewhat confident about their ability to spot a fake news story. But large-scale, post-election survey conducted by Ipsos Public Affairs for BuzzFeed News found that fake news headlines fool American adults about 75% of the time.

Here's access to the polling data through if you're so inclined!

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    Katie Notopoulos is a senior reporter for BuzzFeed News and is based in New York. Notopoulos writes about tech and internet culture and is cohost of the Internet Explorer podcast.

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A BuzzFeed News investigation, in partnership with the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists, based on thousands of documents the government didn't want you to see.