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How to Spot Disinformation

Watch this video and blog to identify 5 common ways to spot disinformation.

Recognizing Disinformation Video by ShareAmerica

9 MINUTE READ
September 22, 2022

The following is adapted from the ShareAmerica, How to spot disinformation

Disinformation tactics that spread misleading data, false claims, and lies have been used for centuries, but what separates disinformation tactics today from those of the past?

Today, disinformation spreads quickly and in much higher quantities. Both new and old technology are used to amplify disinformation to wide audiences through:

  • Social media
  • Radio
  • Television
  • Newspapers

Recognizing disinformation is not always as easy as one might think. Often, the more realistic the information seems, the quicker the false information can spread. It is important to recognize disinformation and its impact. Follow these five steps to analyze disinformation tactics used in the news or on social media: 

1. Identify the source. 
2. Look beyond the headline. 
  • Do you recognize incorrect grammar or other inconsistencies? 
  • Fake names and inflammatory claims may be signs of news that has not been validated.
3. Recognize satire.
  • Look for disclaimers that the content is meant to be humorous instead of factual.
4. Check the story for references. 
  • Does the content acknowledge credible sources? An article or social media post that states “research says” without disclosing a source is a red flag, and you should review the content more closely.
5. Consider your own biases and opinions.
  • You may believe a false headline or news story because it confirms your own bias or opinion. Do your best to consider the facts objectively.

Disinformation can decrease public trust in a community, country, organization, or endanger democracy. Do your part to spot and stop the spread of disinformation by being vigilant on social media, doing your research, and following the five steps above.

For more information about disinformation by ShareAmerica, visit share.america.gov.  To learn more about disinformation and media literacy, visit the YALIChecks page.