In a study of 7,804 students from middle school through college, Stanford University researchers found that 82% of middle-schoolers could not distinguish sponsored content—even when explicitly labeled as such—from a news story on the same site. When it came to Facebook, 30% of high school students were duped into thinking a post from a fake Facebook account was more reliable because it offered “key graphic elements,” and 25% of those students did not understand what the blue verified checkmark signaled.
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