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Different types of misinformation and how to identify it

Misinformation often targets deeply held values
Posted: 4:23 AM, Jan 24, 2022
Updated: 2022-01-24 11:20:53-05
Pennsylvania emerges as online misinformation hotspot

TUCSON, Ariz. (KGUN-TV) — Between news about the pandemic, our economy, job situations and even civil and voting rights issues, it can be confusing to know what's true and and what's not.

That includes what you see on social media.

That's why we are raising awareness and helping you learn important skills for National News Literacy Week.

NATIONAL NEWS LITERACY WEEK

News literacy is an essential life skill and is truly the cornerstone of our democracy. - Ebonee Rice

It's all about learning the skills to know what is true and what's not when reading, sharing and commenting on information both virtually and in the real world.

"This year's theme for National News Literacy Week is 'Stop the Flood' because we understand that it takes one drop, one moment, one share for misinformation to flood out into the world," said Ebonee Rice, Senior VP of the Educator Network, News Literacy Project.

WHAT IS MISINFORMATION?

"Misinformation can include anything from satire to hyperbole online, to information that is actually false and you know it's false, and the intention is to spread dissention. Then there's information meant to be funny that sometimes we may not recognize is actually satire or a joke."

While it still can be hard to know, at first glance, if something is true or not, Ebonee Rice says, "one red flag is when it triggers a reaction."

"It's that emotional reaction that can cause misinformation to spread quickly, and many times, it's not on purpose," she adds.

"Something that I always share when we are talking about misinformation is that often times it plays to things we value. so it plays to our emotions. It plays to our morals."
- Ebonee Rice

Ebony says their research has found that misinformation is often-times spread by people on accident. "Sometimes you click on the share button but you didn't read the article."

Experts are using this week to raise awareness and show the importance of knowing the facts as you are scrolling, tapping and clicking through websites and social media.

RED FLAG PHRASES

These phrases should cause you to pause when you come across them and do a little more digging. Investigate the information you are seeing or reading before sharing it with others.

  • "Let that sink in."
  • "The media won't report this."
  • "Make this go viral."
  • "Do your own research."
  • "There are no coincidences."

Checking out unfamiliar people and sources, plus glancing through comments that question a claim, can strengthen your skills and help 'Stop the Flood' of misinformation.

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