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‘Fake News’ Game ‘Factitious’ Finds Following

Part media literacy trainer, part game, American University’s “Factitious” was a tremendous hit from launch with about 1.6 million articles played in the first three days alone, Lindsay Grace, the director of American University Game Lab, told a gathering at Games for Change in New York City Thursday.

In “Factitious,” players read abbreviated news stories and have to swipe right if they think they’re real or swipe left if they think they’re fake. Once a reader makes their choice, the game tells them if they were right or wrong. A player also has the option to see the source of the story, which can be a big hint.

Released last May, the game has more than 450,000 players with 285,000 of them playing at least 15 articles. And 47,000 of those played 15 more after that.

Grace said the creation, a sort of human computation game, was created by Maggie Farley and Bob Hone, was created at JoLT, a collaboration between American University’s GameLab and School of Communication tasked with exploring the intersection of journalism and game design.

The idea was to create a game that could explore the “fake news” phenomenon while also helping to educate about media literacy.

Hone noted that the group hopes to create a Classroom Edition of the game which would have longer rounds (10 articles for each round instead of the current five) and include categories.

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