DNC RECOMMENDATIONS FOR COMBATING ONLINE DISINFORMATION
For General Public
Countries that are resilient to disinformation and foreign influence rely on whole-of-society approaches focused on digital literacy and awareness of disinformation tactics. Here are some tips and additional resources to protect yourself and your networks from disinformation.
1. Actively seek out information online from multiple authoritative sources. Information you seek out directly will usually be of higher quality than what you absorb passively on social media. Notice what percentage of your time you spend on authoritative news sites as opposed to news you get from social media. NewsGuard and MediaBiasFactCheck.com have a comprehensive set of ratings of news outlets for partisanship and fact-based reporting. Install the NewsGuard browser plugin to help you navigate news sources online.
2. Ask yourself who the author of online content is, why they posted the information, and what they are hoping you will do with it. Scrutinize the information you read before you share, especially if it confirms what you already believe to be true. Social media transparency features may be able to help you establish context.
3. Avoid being manipulated by divisive or dishonest content. Often times, social media tends to reward the most outrageous and often false take on any event. When you share, make sure you are sharing content that is true and helpful to others, not as a knee-jerk reaction to content that angers or scares you.
4. If you see something untrue on social media, try to inject truth into the debate without attacking the sharer (they may be a victim of false content themselves). Fact-checkers like Snopes, AP FactCheck, PolitiFact, Factcheck.org, and Lead Stories may be able to help.
5. Educate yourself on the tactics of online manipulators.
- New York Times’ Operation Infektion on Cold War Soviet disinformation
- NBC’s Factory of Lies on 2016 Russian election interference
- SmarterEveryDay’s YouTube series on social media manipulation.
- Listen to The Daily’s account of the business of Internet outrage.
- Read the Senate Intelligence Committee, New Knowledge, Knight Foundation, Harvard and Oxford reports on disinformation.
- Get news from reputable sources and support quality journalism – especially local journalism.
- Learn about the sources and flow of right-wing disinformation like:
- “Pizzagate” on how online conspiracy theories fuel real-world violence.
- #JobsNotMobs on how false online memes become Republican slogans.
- “Fake Protests” in Austin on how false news goes viral online.
- Follow smart civil society leaders and groups like @DisinfoPortal, @MMFA @Graphika_NYC, & @FSIStanford on Twitter.
- Don’t let yourself be manipulated. Be aware of Russian propaganda outlets like RT & Sputnik and educate yourself on Russian propaganda lines.
- Read longer works documenting disinformation and propaganda:
- Messing with the Enemy: Surviving in a Social Media World of Hackers, Terrorists, Russians, and Fake News – Clint Watts
- The Plot to Destroy Democracy: How Putin and His Spies Are Undermining America and Dismantling the West – Malcolm Nance
- Twitter and Tear Gas – Zeynep Tufekci
LikeWar: The Weaponization of Social Media – P.W. Singer
- 1984 – George Orwell
- Republic of Lies – Anna Merlan
- Report On The Investigation Into Russian Interference In The 2016 Presidential Election – US Department of Justice