So. You’ve seen something you think is misinformation. What do you do?
Here is The Science Social Misinformation Toolkit.
Not sure? Don’t share!
Not sure, don’t share is our mantra.
If you have second thoughts about something you’re reading online, do not continue to share it.
The wrong advice or information can do more harm than good. Sharing because you think it could be useful knowledge without actually checking could result in someone taking potentially harmful action.
Although it is an extreme example, there were reports only weeks ago that ‘drinking bleach could rid you of coronavirus’. Whilst many of us may consider it common sense not to follow this advice, we should be mindful not to share it.
Fake news or misinformation is often propagated because it looks legitimate. Don’t be fooled by a credible name drop!
Often this could be:
“a friend of mine who works at the hospital received this email…” or “this is an NHS letter…”.
If the information is legitimate, it will be easily accessible via the online resources of the named institution, be that NHS, PHE, Gov.uk or University websites.
Check for yourself before taking further action.
There is nothing wrong with questioning the source.
This is what science is all about!
- It is good practice in scientific research to ask what the evidence is where it came from and who produced it before drawing any conclusions.
Once you’ve spotted misinformation you can start asking these questions yourself if you feel comfortable doing so. Most people will engage with you if approached in a diplomatic and considerate way.
It is important to always be respectful of another persons views, even if you don’t agree!
It’s all about you
Even if you can’t find out more information about a source or identify it’s credibility, your questioning alone is the first step towards stopping the spread and uptake of misinformation.
If you’re not sure, don’t share.
The best way to protect yourself and your loved ones is to follow Public Health guidelines and stay up to date with any amendments to the existing advice.
Don’t forget to share The Misinformation Toolkit!