Here’s One Thing You Can Do

July 14, 2020

When it seems like a problem is just too big and you feel there is no way you can make a difference, it is easy to give up and do nothing at all. Take online disinformation, for instance. Alone we can’t all do everything – but we can all do one thing. So, consider doing one thing. You might realize it wasn’t so hard to make a small difference and perhaps you could then do another thing.

With everything going on in our country today, most people have seen disinformation on social media posted by an internet troll looking to harass or provoke. We know we shouldn’t “feed” a troll, but now more than ever, we need to be aware and not retweet, share or follow one either.

A post doesn’t have to be false to be dangerous – a happy meme featuring a photo of a puppy can be created by disinformers who are interested in getting you to improve their standing. When you share or follow a source on social media, you’re actually endorsing it. It might not be your intent, but that is how social media software functions – every extra follower gives a source more of a voice and helps it rank higher in the algorithms that decide what people see.

This is where you come in. Before you share a post, check the source by looking at their profile page. Ask yourself what puts them in a position to know about the topic. Glance at the account’s most recent posts – as well as ones from a few weeks ago to see if they are consistent.

Who are you supporting when you share, like or retweet? It’s best to find out, so you don’t inadvertently help spread misinformation by feeding the trolls.