Misinformation is something we are all increasingly having to deal with. Lots of us feel concerned about being able to identify what is real and what is false or misleading online. It can affect our wellbeing, or our mental health, leaving us feeling overwhelmed or not knowing who or what information to trust.
The more we understand about misinformation and the motivations behind creating it and spreading it around, the better we can protect ourselves, our families, and our friends by identifying it more quickly and choosing not to amplify it by sharing it.
What is misinformation?
Misinformation is false (not true) or inaccurate (not correct) information that is spread around to fool or deceive people. There are different types of misinformation, and some types are more harmful than others. While jokes and satire could fool some people, false and misleading news stories are designed with the intention of deceiving people and manipulating or influencing how we feel or think.
What are the signs that a news story might be misinformation?
The people who create false or misleading news stories want people to share and like their content as much as possible. They use certain tricks when creating stories to help them achieve this. One of these tricks is to use shocking headlines and alarming statements to create strong emotional responses, like anger or fear. Fake news stories often aren’t credited to an author and provide no evidence to back up the claims being made in the article.
If you read a story online that you suspect might not be true, trust your instincts. You can visit the website that published it to find out more about who they are, question their motivation for publishing it, and decide if it is information you can trust. You can also search online to see if news outlets that you do trust are reporting on the story.
Digital Facts Workshops
Haringey Adult Learning Services offer a Digital Facts workshop, available to community groups in Haringey. The workshop supports residents to access information and to search for answers to questions on common misconceptions, community myths and fake news.
The Digital Facts workshop helps people to critically assess the source of information and to check accuracy and veracity. A particular focus of these sessions will be on promoting vaccination and countering ‘antivax’ material.
If you or your community group would like to book a digital facts session please contact firstname.lastname@example.org