November 03, 2020

How To Avoid Becoming a Misinformation Superspreader

By Megan Lamberth, Chris Estep and Martijn Rasser

As local officials continue to count votes in this year’s general elections, America’s digital ecosystem is ripe for disruptive and potentially dangerous misinformation. Elections always present logistical hurdles, but holding an election in the midst of a pandemic presents new and complex challenges. This year, we witnessed, for instance, unusually high voter turnout, as Americans engaged in early in-person and mail-in voting. These forms of voting, which may have been unfamiliar to many Americans pre-pandemic, were targets of widespread election misinformation. Polarized online spaces will not only amplify and refract these challenges but require that everyday users answer the call to digital citizenship. Social media companies like Twitter and Facebook bear immense responsibility for responding to misinformation outbreaks, but they must not — and cannot — go it alone.

Social media companies like Twitter and Facebook bear immense responsibility for responding to misinformation outbreaks, but they must not — and cannot — go it alone.

At every level of American political life, the 2020 elections are not only testing social media companies’ ability to police their platforms, but social media users’ capacity and willingness to show restraint online. Both during and after this fraught set of events, every American must embrace their role as a digital citizen by exercising caution and restraint when creating, consuming, and sharing online content.

Read the full article in Inkstick.

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