How to avoid sharing bad information about Russia’s invasion of Ukraine

How to avoid sharing bad information about Russia’s invasion of Ukraine

Bad information about the Russian invasion has already found a large audience on platforms that are basically designed to promote engaging content.

On TikTok, video from 2016 the training exercises were redesigned to give the false impression that Russian soldiers were parachuting into Ukraine; it has been viewed a million times. A mistranslation of a statement circulating on Twitter shared by journalists falsely states that the fighting near Chernobyl disrupted the location of nuclear waste (the original statement was in fact warned that fight power harass nuclear waste).

Harmful propaganda and misinformation are often inadvertently intensified as people are confronted with the fire hoses of the latest news and communicate with viral announcements about the horrific event. This guide is for those who want to avoid helping bad actors.

We’ve posted some of these tips before Protests Black Lives Matter 2020and again before U.S. elections later that year. The information below has been updated and expanded to include some special considerations for news coming from Ukraine.

Your attention is important…

First, realize that what you do online makes a difference. “People often think that because they are not influencers, they are not politicians, they are not journalists, they do what they do [online] it doesn’t matter, ”Whitney Phillips, an assistant professor of communications and rhetorical studies at the University of Syracuse, told me in 2020. But it is important. Sharing suspicious information even with a small circle of friends and family can lead to their wider spread.

… As well as your angry quotes tweets and duets.

As breaking news develops, well-meaning people can quote, tweet, share, or duet with a post on social media to challenge and condemn it. Twitter and Facebook have introduced new rules, moderation tactics and fact-checking provisions to try to combat misinformation. But interaction with misinformation in general it risks increasing the content you are trying to minimize, because it signals the platform that it is interesting to you. Instead of dealing with a post that you know is wrong, try tagging it for review on the platform where you saw it.


Mike Caulfield, a digital literacy expert, has developed a method for assessing online information called SIFT: “Stop, research the source, find better coverage and follow claims, quotes and media in the original context.” he says, the emphasis should be on “Stop” —that is, stop before you react or share what you see.

“There’s just a human impulse to be the first person in your group to share the story and become known as the person who reported this thing,” he says. And while this impulse is a daily danger for journalists, it applies to everyone, especially in moments of information overload.

Shireen Mitchell, a disinformation researcher and digital analyst, says that if you are consuming news about Ukraine and want to do something to help, “what you should do is follow people from Ukraine who tell their stories about what is happening to them.” ”

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