SO it has come to this? Once a legitimate media practitioner, Communications Secretary Martin Andanar now spins fake news?

The Senate reporters attended the press conference of Davao Death Squad leader Arturo Lascañas. Andanar mentioned a bribe of $ 1,000. The reporters cried foul and demanded an apology.

What makes Andanar’s fib and other fake news dangerous is that these can dupe even high school and college students.

A recent Stanford University study of 8,000 students showed that despite their digital fluency, 82 percent cannot differentiate fake news from real news.

They judged the credibility of the story not by the source, but rather on how much detail was shared or how large the photo was attached.

Thus, social media consumers actually believed such fake stories that the New York Police Department was investigating Bill Clinton for sex with underage girls, that ISIS called for Muslims in America to vote for Hillary Clinton, and that the Trump Tower wrote on its building “Hillary for Prison 2016.”

To help avert this downward spiral, US schools have encouraged parents to teach children skills in research, appreciation for accuracy, and media literacy.

Amid accusations of indifference to cyberbullying in their sites and reinforcing the divisiveness and hatred during the last US presidential campaigns, social media companies Facebook, Google and Twitter have promised to improve their policies against fake news, misinfomation and harassment.

Faculty and student affairs offices have stepped up helping educate students. Some students have even addressed the issues themselves.

Faculty and counselors help students by giving key questions for reading a story online. Where did the information come from? Where are the data? Are there multiple perspectives? How up-to-date is the information? Who is the author? Where does he/she come from? Who funds that site?

Students helping students include four students from Princeton University who joined a hackathon and built an algorithm to identify what was real and what was fake on Facebook.

Calling their creation FiB (how apt!), this Chrome browser extension checks the story source’s credibility and cross-checks the content with other news stories.

If the online story is fake, FiB stamps it “Verified”; if not, it’s stamped “Not verified” or “This Website is Considered Questionable Source.”

Labeled as such was from a NaturalNews.com’s “Find out why the flu shot is more dangerous than the flu.” Or from YourNewsWire.com about the climate change issue. It read “Tens of thousands of scientists declare climate change is a hoax.”

And the coup de grace, supposedly from TheShovel.com.au saying about Facebook’s co-founder, “Mark Zuckerberg – Dead at 32 – Denies Facebook Has Problem with Fake News.”