Stop the spread of misinformation: clean up before you share

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If there’s anything we’ve learned since the COVID-19 pandemic turned our lives upside down almost 2 years ago, it’s how to disinfect hands, homes, workplaces and just about anything we come across to stop the spread of the virus. It turns out that we also need to keep that vigilance when we come across information about COVID-19 in our social media feeds. As the pandemic lasted, dangerous misinformation about treatments, cures, and vaccines flourished. This environment emphasized the importance of carefully consuming and sharing online content. And that approach applies not only to the public health crisis, but to all the information we encounter. We must take steps to ensure that the post, photo or meme is “disinfected” before we trust, like, forward or promote it in any way.

The News literacy project, a non-partisan national educational nonprofit, has created steps you can follow to ensure you practice good information hygiene. NLP, a leader in computer literacy education since 2008, offers programs and resources to help you gain the skills, knowledge and mindset to be smart consumers of news and other information. If we fix the process around our information habits, we can prevent deceptive and bogus content – which can be dangerous to our health and society – from being widely shared and potentially harmed.

You don’t need any special talents or technology to learn this. NLP provides you with important guidelines in its infographics, “Repair before you share: 4 quick steps to stop the spread of misinformation. ” It only takes four steps to prevent yourself or others from becoming “super-spreaders” of misinformation. And if you find credible evidence that the post on social media is not true or that the source is unreliable, warn others in response to the post and, if necessary, report it to the platform administrators.

This article is part of WebMD’s collaborator program that allows people and organizations outside of WebMD to submit articles for consideration on our website. Do you have an idea to apply? Send us an email at [email protected]

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