Misinformation is nothing new. Propaganda has been used since war began and although the methods actually haven't changed much, the way it is interpreted and develops has.

It may feel as though you are fighting a losing battle when it comes to misinformation, but there can be some simple things you can put in place to at least help mitigate the problem becoming a major risk to your organization.

Understand the type of misinformation you are dealing with

The key to identifying misinformation is understanding the three primary types that exist. The terms ‘propaganda’, ‘misinformation’ and ‘fake news’ often overlap in meaning.

They are used to refer to a range of ways in which sharing information causes harm, intentionally or unintentionally – usually in relation to the promotion of a particular moral or political cause or point of view.

It is possible to separate out three clearly different uses of information which fall into this category:

  • Mis-information - false information shared with no intention of causing harm
  • Dis-information - false information shared intentionally to cause harm
  • Mal-information - true information shared intentionally to cause harm.[4]

Although none of these are new, they have taken on new significance with the widespread availability of sophisticated forms of information and communication technology. The sharing of text, images, videos, or links online allows information to go viral within minutes.

When you first become aware of misinformation, or you suspect it might be, you have to be your own detective who works quickly to establish the facts then filter out anything that isn't relevant. Once you have facts, you are in stronger position to start making corrections or offer rebuttals.

Take a time out before you react

It’s counter-intuitive to slow down during an emergency or crisis. Being told that time is of the essence and that everything is so fast paced makes it harder to give some breathing space to a situation. However, those few extra moments could save you a lot of heartache in the future.

Do your research

Even spending a few moments on looking into the purported information is front of you will stand you in good stead. Ask yourself;

  • Who is behind the information?
  • What is the evidence?
  • What do other sources say?

Use the Google image checker for establishing its source at https://images.google.com/ simply by uploading or providing the URL.

Have one source of truth

It's tempting to go to all your channels to try to update each and every one of them every time you need to correct something. This could cause you trouble when things become unmanageable. Then you'll be dealing with inconsistent messaging and having to play catch up with comments and questions. Establish one place that you'll be updating when you have facts and signpost from all of your channels. This could be one designated web page, just your Facebook page or LinkedIn. Just make sure anywhere else that your audience would go for information has the link to this one place.

Make correct information easy to understand

Make sure any information you provide is as simple as it can be. People are more likely to take in and believe something that is easy to consume and understand. Where possible, use imagery with facts in a few simple steps.

Want to learn more?

Misinformation and rumor may feel overhwhelming but it doesn't need to be. ArchiveSocial is hosting a special webinar to give more support. You can take part in How to Combat the Spread of Misinformation On Social Media on Tuesday, September 14th  @  2 P.M. ET

In this webinar, Georgia’s Department of Natural Resources Wildlife Resources Division Social Media & Communications Specialist Denise Shepherd provides tips and tools on managing fake news and gaining better control over your pages. Join us at 2 p.m. ET / 11 a.m. PT Tuesday, September 14th, to learn the types of disinformation — from accidental to malicious — and the best steps you can take to identify misinformation, reduce confusion, and build trusted transparency.

Register for Free

August 19, 2021

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