Straits Times Has a $648 Course That Teaches You How to Spot Fake News

Image: Georgejmclittle / Shutterstock.com

But, why?

This article is going to be quite opinionated, but from what I can see I cannot encourage anybody to attend this course.

Especially at the price tag of S$648, or to even have a price tag in the first place.

Image: STSkills

Lest you’re unable to see the picture, here’s the full description:

Be equipped with the skills to spot fake news and analyse arguments in the media

Who should attend

  • Professionals who deal with or disseminate information at work
  • Those who wish to use social media for their benefit

In this course, participants will learn

Fighting Fake News

  • Impact of the new fake news law
  • Common examples in social media
  • How to spot fake news

Critical Eye on Reports

  • Common Fallacies
  • Misleading Headlines
  • Navigating Complex Debates

IMPORTANT NOTE: Registrations will close 10 working days prior to the course date, as lead time is required for logistics preparation.

*CANCELLATION POLICY
Please note that there will be NO refunds & cancellations.

  • Provider: The Straits Times
  • Venue: Level 8 Tower Block, SPH News Centre 1000 Toa Payoh North
  • Duration: 10am to 6pm
  • Upcoming Dates: 31 Jul 2019
  • Course Fee: $648

It costs as much as a Google Pixel 3A with a no refund policies

Wow, that’s an oddly specific thing to say S$648.

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Because that is exactly the thing I would buy with S$648 spare to replace my 3-year-old, nearly 4-year-old, phone on a dying battery.

But at the price of S$648, it not only costs as much as a phone replacement, but you also don’t get a refund should you decide to canc –

Oh yeah, no cancellations too.

At S$648, it’s even more than the S$500 SkillsFuture credit – except, oh wait, it’s not even claimable.

Here’s a quote from our Minister for Communications and Information, taken from a Straits Times article:

“If each and every citizen understands that not all online information is authentic, and has the capacity and confidence to discern fact from falsehood, then, and only then, would Singapore truly be able to withstand this global threat.”

I would like to highlight the words each and every citizen.

If a course meant to teach fake news is done in good faith, it would be free. Not S$10. Not even S$1. Certainly not the price of a full work week or nearly the entire month for the less well-to-do.

So where are the sources for learning how to spot fake news?

Good news for the cheapos.

Fake news played a pretty significant role (go search “fake news 2016 election” and read a few sources and university reports) in the 2016 Presidential Election for the land of free speech – America. It even caused a Washington Pizzeria shooting to happen.

Needless to say, a democracy with a hard-on for free speech will feel very incentivised to tell people how to spot fake news.

So, here’s a few resources made by the land of freedom:

I’m sure there are other countless articles out there, but those are already three sources completely free of charge.

But you have to understand that learning how to spot fake news is like learning to read – it won’t happen over the span of 8 hours. It’s a critical skill you have to practice, practice, practice.

Or maybe I should have taken all those resources up there and turn it into a course charged at the low low price of S$648, I don’t know.