Case Study 6 (Conspiracy Theories)

Overview

As a class, we are tasked with exploring the growth, spread, and impact of internet conspiracies. This case study puts you in the shoes of one of three characters: a firm believer in the falsehood of a traumatic event, a social media platform executive, or the parent of a child who had been lost in the tragedy. In this activity, your job is to advance policies about social media which advance your own interest.

Procedure
  1. Introduce the topic and divide into six groups. (5 min)
  2. Open the Conspiracy Theory Simulator. You will be prompted to enter your group number, and the simulator will proceed to tell you any information you need to know about your role and background. (5 min)
  3. In groups, play through the simulation. Stay true to the decisions your character would choose, and discuss as a group how such policies would impact you and the people you know. (10 min)
  4. Debrief the simulation with the full class. What happened to your group at the end of the simulation? How do these proposed policies compare to Twitter’s actual policies? (10 min)
  5. As a class, try your best to identify which popular conspiracies have been confirmed and which have been disproven. (10 min)
  6. Debrief the guessing activity with the full class. What strategies do we have to navigate our media landscape and to identify “fake news”? (10 min)
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