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Living in the digital era has a lot of pros, although it also comes with some dangerous cons — mostly in the form of online 'trolls' who prey on vulnerable users, ready to attack at any given time. Their chosen weapon of mass destruction? Fake news and manipulation.
When it's becoming harder for people to distinguish the true from the false, how can we help others search for the truth?
Our students had an answer: XS News.
XS News is an initiative started by SJI International alumnus Marco Andono Sie and Grade 11 students Alexander Brown and Kai-Ryn Tan. The project aims to enhance the media literacy of young people worldwide by condensing news on current affairs.
"The idea came to us when we noticed that our peers seemed not so up-to-date with current affairs. We realised that they were deterred from reading the news because of the large amount of jargon, which made articles challenging to understand," said the trio.
As a result, they started an Instagram page (instagram.com/xsnews), where they post condensed and simplified news articles, including definitions of complex terminology. Currently, they have amassed over 1300 followers. They have also grown their team to include students from around the world.
"We feel that this is especially pertinent in the current context of the pandemic, as it is important for people our age to stay informed about the global situation and its wider implications as well as not be influenced by fake news. Our bite-sized content aims to retain people’s attention whilst still allowing people to stay updated," the trio added.
XSNews recently won the Young Founders Summit 2019 in Peking University, Beijing, receiving monetary backing of US$10,000 and mentorship from Founders Bootcamp, the world's largest startup program for teenagers, to help them with this initiative.
"It was a great experience to meet fellow founders across Asia and emerging victorious despite juggling preparation for our IGCSEs at the same time. Currently, we are working towards the launch of an app that is run on AI to condense news quickly, hopefully allowing more teens to be aware of issues with global significance."
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