Acknowledge Misinformation on the Web
Older persons are susceptible to misinformation on-line even below regular circumstances. However the coronavirus has made the issue particularly pressing. Older persons are extra inclined to the virus, making discerning dependable well being data essential now.
“Misinformation is all the time heightened when there’s larger confusion. Significantly round Covid, there might be devastating influence in case you get the flawed data,” stated Jean Setzfand, senior vice chairman of packages at AARP, the advocacy group for older folks.
Nevertheless, on-line webinars, lessons and movies to show older adults about misinformation are popping up, from “MediaWise for Seniors,” a program designed by AARP and the media nonprofit Poynter Institute, to “The way to Spot Pretend Information,” a free class from Senior Planet, a part of the nonprofit Older Adults Know-how Providers. Right here’s an outline of every.
Senior Planet’s ‘The way to Spot Pretend Information’
Senior Planet’s one-hour on-line session provides an summary of various sorts of misinformation circulating on the web, together with manipulated “deep faux” movies, false promoting and fabricated information. Out there on Zoom, the workshop additionally discusses affirmation bias, recognizing satire and the idea that opinions that differ from your personal don’t routinely represent “faux information.” The schedule of lessons is posted a few week forward of time on Senior Planet’s web site. Registration just isn’t required.
Senior Planet lessons are sufficiently small to ask questions. At a web-based session final month, one participant requested what “trending” on the Yahoo! Information website means. “Does it imply extra persons are studying it, or that it’s extra truthful?” she requested. (The teacher clarified that it means the previous.)
Easy suggestions like this may go a great distance. Some contributors in Senior Planet’s top quality in February weren’t conscious that misinformation is so pervasive: One girl had obtained a textual content that falsely claimed that Covid-19 might be detected by holding one’s breath; she then forwarded the message. “She noticed firsthand that she couldn’t redact what she shared as soon as she had handed it alongside,” stated Bre Clark, aprogram supervisor who taught the category.
Different solutions for recognizing misinformation and avoiding sharing it embrace evaluating whether or not information is from a identified media outlet; noting the publication date, who wrote the content material and whether or not the creator is respected; checking if an internet site has a .gov, .edu, .org or .com suffix; and figuring out if an internet site is promoting a product. Individuals additionally study fact-checking web sites like Snopes.com, FactCheck.org and Politifact.com.
The way to be part of: seniorplanet.org
‘MediaWise for Seniors’
This program from Poynter and AARP consists of on-line seminars, lessons and public service bulletins with sensible suggestions. Fb additionally helps some components of this system.
It started earlier this month with a 30-minute webinar and a digital city corridor hosted by Dr. Sanjay Gupta, the chief medical correspondent for CNN. Based on the group, about 41,000 folks signed up for that first session. AARP posts future on-line occasions on its web site.
Ideas talked about within the city corridor included weighing whether or not content material is properly sourced, studying extra than simply the headlines, studying data from a couple of supply and contemplating “whether or not these sources present good citations and reasoning,” stated Dr. Gupta within the city corridor.
Within the webinar, Ms. Setzfand highlighted how social media makes use of emotional triggers like anger or concern to affect or make the most of folks. She beneficial taking a beat and holding off on sharing or commenting: “Earlier than you act, pause and do some fact-checking.”
This system additionally teaches foundational ideas akin to how social media algorithms and search engines like google work.
In its tips about Covid-19 data, Poynter recommends being cautious of sensational headlines, that are an indication of low-quality clickbait tales; looking on-line for unfamiliar authors to verify their background; following hyperlinks to confirm official sources; and understanding context.
MediaWise for Seniors will supply a free four-part on-line course from Sept. 24 to Oct. 15. The deadline to register is Monday.
The way to be part of: poynter.org/newsu
On-line misinformation overlaps with on-line fraud. Whereas scammers goal folks throughout all age teams, seniors could be extra susceptible to fraud if they’re experiencing cognitive decline. Throughout the pandemic, fraudsters have tried tricking folks into disclosing monetary and private data associated to stimulus funds, contact tracing and shopping for false Covid-19 cures.
AARP’s web site has intensive data on widespread schemes, akin to phishing and pet scams, together with newer Covid-19 fraud. Primary however essential suggestions embrace checking for suspicious e-mail addresses that mimic these of actual firms, and avoiding clicking on hyperlinks embedded in emails. Folks searching for extra data can join AARP’s publication about fraud.
These broad efforts deliver consideration to the hazards of misinformation. Elevating consciousness is “a part of the answer,” Ms. Setzfand stated.
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