Voices of Courage: Spotting misinformation in the age of social media

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SHREVEPORT, La. (KTAL/KMSS) – Decades after the civil rights movement, the fight for equality continues. Those images once seen only on the evening news, are now shared around the clock in the digital age.

“Obviously information spreads more quickly. More biased information, more inaccurate information spreads,” said Carolyn Roy, Digital Executive Producer at NBC 6 News.

Roy says the rapid spread of information can lead to confusion and misunderstanding.

“I think social media is more sometimes used as a validation instead of a source for information. It is just so easy to share because it supports what you already believe. Confirmation bias is what we call it,” explained Roy.

There are people willing to bank on your bias.

“There are sites out there whose entire existence is to make money. Which means the more upsetting the headline, the more divisive the headline, the more clicks they get and the more money they make. That’s all they care about,” shared Roy.

To prevent becoming a victim and spreading misinformation, think before you share.

“Don’t just believe something and share it because you think it should be true,” said Roy. “Think critically. Does it make sense? Legitimate news sources have a responsibility and they do have ethics they have to follow and can and should be called out when they don’t so make sure you’re looking at a legitimate news source.”

Deciphering the truth can be as easy as a quick Google search.

“If you can confirm that a story you want to share has been reported by multiple sources there’s a much better chance there is some truth to it. You can also find out if the things they cite as sources actually exist,” said Roy. “In a lot of fake news they don’t. They just sound official.”

And when you do engage on social media, be respectful.

“No one is going to listen if you are treating someone you disagree with as stupid or wrong. No one’s going to have a productive conversation if you’re coming at it from an aggressive point of view.”

Copyright 2020 Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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