Know Peace Online: Know Your Facts

So what can we do?

Access Now, https://www.accessnow.org/disinfo-defense-us-election/
  1. KnowPeace. The first step is to check in with yourself, stop, stay calm and give yourself a moment to think.
  2. Check your facts. Check the accuracy of what you’re about to send. Use a trusted source like Politifact.com, Snopes.com, or Factcheck.org. Or, PEN America suggests googling a headline with “true or false” to see what you find.
  3. Do not amplify. Do not spread disinformation even to explain that it is wrong. Share your own positive messages instead. Social media algorithms feed on engagement, whether negative or positive.

What if my friends and family share misinformation?

PEN America offers incredibly helpful advice about engaging with friends or family who you think are sharing misinformation.

  • Fact check the information first.
  • Message them privately and politely in a constructive tone. For example say, “I was wondering about that post and after I did some research I found it is not true.”
  • Don’t get into a rabbit hole with them arguing, let them know and then let them alone.
  • Don’t comment on the post unless it is getting a lot of attention. If it is, simply post once with a link to show it isn’t true.

What else can I do?

You can report misinformation to the social media platform or to the Common Cause disinformation tip line. You can educate yourself further: FirstDraft has a great resource on verifying videos and a text message based course in English and Spanish. The New York Times is tracking misinformation. Duke University’s Reporters’ Lab also has more resources. And PEN America explains more about COVID-19 disinformation.

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UCC Media Justice

UCC Media Justice

The United Church of Christ's media justice ministry founded in 1959. Faithful advocacy for communication rights.