Last week, another news story about fidget spinners appeared on my Facebook feed. Not only were my friends sharing it, but it was also shared within teacher groups that I belong to as well. You might be familiar with the story already:
The article was posted on a website called FocusTimes. When I first read the article, I thought it horrible, but knew that accidents happen. I didn’t share it, but I did watch the posts I had seen online. I kept thinking about the article, especially after so many immediately felt validated by it because of their general dislike for the toy as it is. Something seemed off.
Then, other teachers started questioning it as well. We came up with some common read flags for potential fake news:
- Only one source had it. No internet searches yielded any other sites with the news
- It immediately provoked a strong feeling of anger in those who disliked the toy
- It validated a feeling that the dislike side had right off
- Nowhere was there any identifier to place the school or to further look into
With that in hand, I saw fit to submit it to Snopes.com to have them take a look further into the story. The very next day, I received a response. Apparently, enough people had submitted the story, and Snopes had verified that it was indeed a false news story.
I returned to the teacher forum where I had originally seen the post and created my own stating that the original story was indeed fake, and that it had been verified with Snopes. Some teachers knew it was fake, others not so much, but they were glad that it was. Even teachers aren’t above being fooled by internet articles.
If you were fooled, it’s best to be humble and accept that you have been fooled. It does make for a good story for students so that they can see that no one is perfect, and that we all fall for journalistic tricks from time to time. Please do not let your students keep believing that it is a true story, even if it does seem to quell the use of fidget spinners in your classroom.
Oddly enough, the same website that posted this false fidget spinner toy story also posted this false one as well.