Combating Disinformation 2020

The following is from the Democratic National Committee. The DNC is rolling out a series of recommendations on how each can do its part to confront online disinformation in 2020.  More information can be found at https://democrats.org/who-we-are/what-we-do/disinfo/

DNC RECOMMENDATIONS FOR COMBATING ONLINE DISINFORMATION

1. Actively seek out information online from multiple authoritative sources.  Information you seek out directly will usually be of higher quality than what you absorb passively on social media. Notice what percentage of your time you spend on authoritative news sites as opposed to news you get from social media. NewsGuard and MediaBiasFactCheck.com have a comprehensive set of ratings of news outlets for partisanship and fact-based reporting. Install the NewsGuard browser plugin to help you navigate news sources online.

2. Ask yourself who the author of online content is, why they posted the information, and what they are hoping you will do with it. Scrutinize the information you read before you share, especially if it confirms what you already believe to be true. Social media transparency features may be able to help you establish context.

3. Avoid being manipulated by divisive or dishonest content. Often times, social media tends to reward the most outrageous and often false take on any event. When you share, make sure you are sharing content that is true and helpful to others, not as a knee-jerk reaction to content that angers or scares you.

4. If you see something untrue on social media, try to inject truth into the debate without attacking the sharer (they may be a victim of false content themselves). Fact-checkers like SnopesAP FactCheckPolitiFactFactcheck.org, and Lead Stories may be able to help.

5. Educate yourself on the tactics of online manipulators.

  • Get news from reputable sources and support quality journalism – especially local journalism.
  • Learn about the sources and flow of right-wing disinformation like:
  • Don’t let yourself be manipulated. Be aware of Russian propaganda outlets like RT & Sputnik and educate yourself on Russian propaganda lines.
  • Read longer works documenting disinformation and propaganda:
    • Messing with the Enemy: Surviving in a Social Media World of Hackers, Terrorists, Russians, and Fake News – Clint Watts
    • The Plot to Destroy Democracy: How Putin and His Spies Are Undermining America and Dismantling the West – Malcolm Nance
    • Twitter and Tear Gas – Zeynep Tufekci
    • LikeWar: The Weaponization of Social Media – P.W. Singer
    • 1984 – George Orwell
    • Republic of Lies – Anna Merlan
    • Report On The Investigation Into Russian Interference In The 2016 Presidential Election – US Department of Justice