The social media business model: Personalisation and Engagement Rate

How they are collected and stored


Opinion manipulation and propaganda are not new phenomena, they have existed long before the rise of social media and before the term ‘fake news’ made its way into everyday language. In fact, propaganda has existed through all centuries and has involved all kinds of communication channels, from billboards, newspapers and radio to television and the internet. This module, therefore, begins with an overview about propaganda – what it is and its effects on individuals and societies – and outlines propaganda techniques and strategies that were already used before the event of the digital age. The second part of this module then delves into new methods propagandists use in the digital age, such as social bots and trolls. Exercises complement and add to the Train-the-Trainers handbook and include class discussions, group work and a memory game.

Exercise 5

Fake News - From the Imperial Era to the Social Empire

In this exercise students approach the term fake news from different angles. First, they exchange their experiences with fake news and how they dealt with them. Second, they take a step back and work on two texts by the ancient historian Procopius of Caesarea to realise that it is hard to differentiate between strong opinions and false information and that it is always advisable to check the background of any news in the media.

Exercise 6

P-Eyer for a day

This exercise introduces the students to the subject of debunking and fact-checking. They approach this subject by discussing psychological phenomena that fact checkers are frequently experiencing: that people continue to believe fake news despite them having been falsified. The students also slip into the role of a fact checker themselves. They are presented fake news by the educator and have the possibility to analyse them in their tempo.

Exercise 9

See, Think, Wonder

This exercise is intended to increase the critical thinking capacities of youngsters by decomposing thought processes. They are first asked to describe an abstract image. Then they are asked to think its meaning and finally to question their own thinking. Youngsters should understand how judgements form in a human mind and how different the individual interpretation of the same realities can be.

Exercise 10

The Lawyer's game

This exercise is an introductory activity to the topic of the module, that will help students understand the importance being able to communicate properly one’s own ideas, how to be assertive and use critical thinking. Furthermore, the students will practice how to properly discuss about the topic of critical thinking, analyzing its characteristics, the meaning of it and the reasons why it is important to develop such a skill.