The Disinformation Games

Your safe space for games and challenges related to misinformation and disinformation!

Case study: Chemtrails: just a sci-fi stuff or a real danger?

This case study is aimed at making the learner aware of the different issues related the construction and spreading of disinformation. The learner has to devise if one of the most famous conspiracy theories, chemtrails, is true or not. While searching for materials and opinions in favour or against chemtrails as a real aerial danger for people, the learner will face with both the history and the scientific foundations of the chemtrails theory, its diffusion trough social media, the ways in which it is possible to dismantle the theory itself, and the business opportunities of spreading false theories through the believers.


sci-fi or

real danger?

Recommended for: university students (especially in science/technology courses) highschool students

Available building blocks: 3

Tags: environment, pollution, conspiracy theories

Tips for educators

Building block 2. Chemtrails and disinformation

There are lots of different Facebook pages with a single common maximum divider: they are aimed at spreading the idea of a conspiracy, conveing false content or unverified news, and end up creating a real large network of disinformation inside the social. This building block presents not only both Facebook and Twitter accounts related to chemtrails, but also some web pages on how the hoax of chemical trails is created and dismantled.

Suggested resources

1. Hoaxes on Twitter per argument [Open from webarchive if link broken/inactive]

2. How to Debunk Chemtrails [Open from webarchive if link broken/inactive]

Social media

1. Pilots explain Contrails - and the Chemtrail Hoax

2. #chemtrails on Twitter


Learning outcomes

The learning outcomes represent the competences which learners are expected to develop as a result of the training intervention:

1. The learner will be able to increase his/her own digital literacy
2. The learner will be able to explain the relationship between a particular kind of disinformation, and the use of a particular social media
3. The learner will be able to identify the different disinformation features related to chemtrails
4. The learner will acquire a method for fact checking and verification

Suggested teaching methods

> Form opinions and formulate arguments (Systemic causality, Motivated Cognition, Frames and framing)
> Discuss (Frames and framing)
> Apply source and fact checking to a set of resources (Systemic causality)
> Re-evaluate (Frames and framing)
> Brainstorming, mindmapping (Systemic causality, Motivated Cognition)

Suggested learning activities

Duration: 40 min

> Be persuasive in your introduction.

> Select materials with a possibly plain and objective style: start the building block using source no. 2,and 3; then you can use source no. 1 to address also the existence of groups that try to dismantle the conspiracy theory. Students will use sources no. 4 and 5 as a little framework for their motivated cognition to start their own search over the Internet.

> The instructions about groups given in the building block 1 still hold.

> A brief wrap-up discussion will close the building block, where the teacher will summarize the learned lesson.


De Facto pillars

Introduce the building block (Systemic causality, Equivalence and Emphasis frame) Teamwork and group discussion (Systemic causality, Motivated Cognition, Frames and framing) Searching for information, and diversify information sources (Systemic causality) Debate (Systemic causality, Motivated Cognition, Frames and framing) Wrap-up discussion (Systemic causality)

Additional online tools

HOAXY: A Platform for tracking online misinformation


You have selected a topic from the Disinformation Games area. Please be advised that this area hosts, or links to, resources that contain misinformation or disinformation. The presence of such materials is to assist in developing and sustaining skills for navigating and detecting disinformation. To achieve this goal – and with clear intent – none of the materials are explicitly marked as true or not true.