Week Six

There is always that one.

Everyone has at least one person, a relative or perhaps a friend that shares information that is questionable to say the least. Do you mute them or worse yet, unfollow them all together?  This can be hard because they are a family member or friend. There was a reason you followed them to begin with and you don’t want to create an issue. Don’t fear there is a name from this issue,  it’s been called the “the grandma problem”.  If left alone,  it can lead to some pretty serious consequences.

Don’t let that cute face fool you.

The 2016 Election

Yes, this again because its important to understand how the “grandma problem” impacted the spread of fake news. In a study conducted by New York University and Princeton University it was shown that people over the age of 65 overwhelmingly shared the bulk of misinformation between April 2016 through November 2016.

Hey but aren’t Russian bots to blame.

Nope, turns out that humans are just as likely to spread misinformation as bots on social media according to MIT.  The report also stated that bots just added to the number of retweets but did not increase the number of lies being spread. This means grandma is still a huge problem on social media and must be helped or else we could be doomed for a repeat in 2020.

Yeah I know it’s a problem but…

what can we do?  It can be difficult so looking to experts is a good way to navigate. Claire Wardle is the head of the nonprofit First Draft. There goal is to  investigate misinformation. In a recent article she offers the following tips:

  • Create a safe space by using pronouns like us and we to make them feel like it can happen to anyone.
  • Ask them to verify the information bu looking at the source and if the information can be corroborated by other sources.
  • There is a series of ten  videos from Stanford History Education Group that dives into how to navigate all the misinformation available online.
  • Remember attacking on a sensitive political issue is the same as attacking their identity so tread carefully and do not muddy the waters by adding a dissenting opinion. Focus on the misinformation.