As we lead up to the 2024 U.S. Presidential election, disinformation (the intentional spread of false information) will be competing with facts for our attention through the use of AI (Artificial Intelligence) and fake news, images, and videos. By being aware of common disinformation tactics and learning how to counteract them, we can get ahead of these disruptors and avoid falling for disinformation.
Counterintuitive maybe, but taking a step back from articles, videos, or social media posts to really reflect on the information and the source can help you avoid falling for election (and other) disinformation. It is easy to get fired up from an emotionally charged headline or quickly jump to conclusions from a video about a candidate we don't like. Sometimes our own biases don't allow us to see that we are being manipulated or misled. Pause and remind yourself that as a responsible researcher, you are seeking truth with an open and curious mind.
After a thoughtful pause, use the SIFT method to evaluate information and verify if the information in that article or TikTok is actually true.
There are many types of information that are misleading, biased, or otherwise false. Sometimes these types get lumped under the term "Fake News", however, it is important to understand the differences between these types of information so we can be on alert as we scroll our feed. Here are 10 types of misleading information.
There are many reputable fact checking sites that can verify or debunk viral claims, images, and videos. Use these sources to determine if what you are reading and watching is actually true. Additionally, many of these sites will explain how they verified or debunked a story giving you insight into how you can fact check other information that may not be covered on their site. The following are reliable fact checking websites to use:
Often, political claims or stories will come to you in the form of images and media. How do you know if they have been digitally altered (Photoshopped), been created by AI, or if they are being shared out of context (misrepresented)? Watch the video to learn how to Fact Check an image using Google's Fact Check Explorer. Then check out how to do a Reverse Image Search on your desktop, Android, or Apple phone.
Disinformation is not limited to information about candidates and issues. Disinformation is often spread about how, when, and where to vote, so be sure to get voter information from official government sites like The Arizona Secretary of State website and USA.gov.
For more information about voting, political issues, and elections, check out the Election Resource Guide.
It can be tempting to quickly share a wild news story or video to your network, but sharing unverified information only adds to the confusion and sea of disinformation. Resist the urge to share until you know that video is real or that article is factual.