5 Media Literacy Tips to Avoid Election Misinformation, by Carl Azuz and Hasley Pitman
Media Literacy Week begins on Monday. Follow @MediaWise on TikTok, Twitter, Instagram and YouTube for resources to ensure you go to the polls with the facts on November 8. Check out the MediaWise Media Literacy Week schedule at the bottom of this article.
Carl Azuz is not dead. That’s a fact.
Despite some tweet on the deadly status of the beloved former CNN 10 host, Azuz is alive and focused on countering misinformation ahead of the midterm elections. As one of two new MediaWise Ambassadors, he will tap into his passion for truth and influence with teens, and amplify the work done by the Teen Fact-Checking Network and PBS NewsHour Student Reporting Labs.
“I hope to use this ambassadorship to help students identify fake news and gather multiple perspectives on controversies, as it leads to better understanding,” Azuz said.
While veteran Azuz will focus on reaching middle and high school students with MediaWise’s digital media education resources, the TikTok influencer Hasley Pitman – of the Pitman Sisters — will promote the work of the MediaWise Campus Correspondents. This diverse group of college students delivers fact-checking training sessions in college classrooms across the country.
“It’s very important that you take the time to research, educate yourself, and form your own opinion when voting,” Pitman said. “Voting is such a crucial part of our democracy and the younger generations are paving the way for the future of our country!”
As the midterm elections approach, Azuz and Pitman are launching their MediaWise Ambassadors to bring you pro tips for navigating the misinformation you’ll see as the election approaches.
Tip #1: Check Their Biography
It’s a simple but extremely effective tip: check out the bio behind this viral TikTok video. A quick scan will tell you if the user who shared a video, photo, or post is actually a cryptocurrency trader providing “news” about the COVID-19 vaccine. Or a spiritual medium giving therapeutic advice to anxious students.
“When you see something suspicious online, ask yourself, ‘Where did this information come from? ‘” Pitman said. “Is there any evidence to support this information” and “Is this person an expert?” » ”
Put the user’s name into a search engine – surrounded by quotes – along with some keywords about what their videos are about.
RELATED TRAINING: Register for Free 7 Day Text Messaging Course from MediaWise to start receiving daily lessons on key topics proven to help people quickly discover reliable information and trustworthy sources on the Internet.
Tip #2: Beware of screenshots: find the original source if it exists
“There have been posts on social media that are actually “fake” news from credible mediasaid Azuz, who spent two decades at CNN including 15 years as the face of CNN 10 (formerly CNN Student News). “Search the news website and find the original story to determine if a story is true.”
Screenshots or videos from one platform, like Twitter or TikTok, posted on another, like Facebook or Instagram, are a common form of misinformation. Cross-posting content makes it easier to launder false messages or conceal the original source.
If you see a screenshot of a social post purportedly from the Associated Press or the BBC, check the news account posts to see if it actually exists. Or, plug the screenshot into Google Images to see if any fact checkers have debunked the viral post.
RELATED: Navigate Digital News with Bestselling Author and MediaWise Ambassador John Green in this youtube series produced in partnership with Complexly.
Tip #3: Check Multiple Sources to Demystify “Cheap Counterfeits”
Deepfakes are scary. But “cheap counterfeits” are scarier.
Cheap fakes are deceptive videos that have been edited using simple software and techniques – like slowing down a video or cutting out certain parts to distort what a politician, celebrity or influencer is saying. (PolitiFact offers a great explainer here.) And you don’t need fancy tools to avoid sharing those out-of-context videos.
“It’s so important to verify information using multiple credible sources of information,” Azuz said. “We have always aimed for a minimum of two different and reliable reports when we cover news stories.”
But think before you click on the first thing you see in search engine results.
“If the first thing people see is from a credible outlet — think major cable or network news outlets — that’s not necessarily a bad result,” Azuz said. However, irrelevant advertisements or results may infiltrate this list of sources. Therefore, always analyze the results before clicking.
RELATED TRAINING: Step up your digital media education game by this free self-directed course correspondents from the MediaWise campus.
Tip #4: When it comes to political polls – or any news – get out of your echo chamber
You’re going to see a lot of buzzing political polls coming out over the next few weeks. And depending on the news source or the company behind the numbers, you might not get the whole story.
Candidate A may be leading in the Senate XYZ poll, while Candidate B appears to be falling behind in the Senate ABC poll. MediaWise partnered with Complexly during the last election to help you understand how to digest political polls. But the most important thing you can do when evaluating this type of information is to read the media, polls and platforms.
When you consume a narrow range of news and media, it is possible to close your mind to other perspectives or fall victim to confirmation bias, making you vulnerable to misinformation being shared.
“You can break out of your echo chamber by looking at a variety of information sources,” Azuz said. “Your social media feed will prioritize what you’re likely to click on, but not necessarily the breadth of news. Different organizations will prioritize different events and often give you different perspectives on them.”
RELATED: MediaWise Campus Correspondents Produce fact-checking and media literacy short videos to help voters learn how to find reliable information about the election.
Tip #5: Keep your emotions in check and watch your loved ones
You are more likely to share misinformation when you are upset or angry. The disinformants who want to influence how you vote or spend money know this – and they will release inflammatory videos, posts and photos ahead of the midterm elections.
Another simple tip to avoid interacting with misinformation: stop and breathe. If you see a video that freaks you out, close TikTok or Instagram and text a friend. The endless scrolling of social media feeds has made us passive internet users.
Stay active. And think before you commit to anything you see. Now is a great time to learn from the lessons you’ve learned from MediaWise and help your community fight misinformation.
“If you spot a friend or family member who is sharing misinformation, reach out and discuss it with them in a private and friendly way,” Pitman said. “They may have no idea about misinformation and you want to be helpful – without detracting from their learning experience. Consider sharing trusted sources you’ve found on the topic that they might be interested in!”
Voters must have access to reliable and accurate information before the midterm elections. MediaWise’s digital media literacy programs are designed to equip voters of all ages and backgrounds with the skills and techniques needed to uncover online lies, find factual information, and sort fact from fiction online.
“It’s very easy to be swayed by what you scroll online, but there’s no guarantee what you see online is true,” Pitman said. “It’s very important that you take the time to research, educate yourself and form your own opinion before you vote.”
Media Literacy Week – a celebration dedicated to “amplifying the importance of media literacy across the United States”. begins Monday, October 24. MediaWise is teaming up with the Rainbow Push Coalition to kick off the celebration Monday at a town hall public event designed to equip voters with digital media skills training ahead of the midterm elections.
Later this week, MediaWise and AARP will host some of our Florida neighbors at the Poynter Institute for a in-person interactive event designed to help people aged 50 and over prepare for the polls. You can register to attend the live training session here. MediaWise will also host an exciting Twitter Spaces chat with special guests. Follow MediaWise Twitter account and stay tuned for more details.
To stay up to date on MediaWise media literacy resources, content and programs, follow @MediaWise on ICT Tac, Twitter, instagram and Youtube.