Canadian Publishing Industry News
20 December 2017,     TORONTO
Real vs Sponsored Content - 80% of middle school students can’t tell the difference

Digital perceptions of online content by students of what is real, sponsored and fake were surveyed by Stanford’s Graduate School of Education. Students (7,800) were asked to complete an online survey of Slate magazine’s website and to evaluate three different sections - a traditional advertisement, a news story, and native advertisement. The study also looked at social media postings to see if students could determine it was authentic or fake.




The results showed that 75% students were able to identify traditional news stories and traditional advertisements and 80% believe that the native advertisement, identified by the words sponsored content was a real news story. See the full results of the survey at this link. The Stanford researchers who evaluated students' ability to assess information sources described the results as "dismaying," "bleak" and "a threat to democracy."

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