Technology makes it very easy to spread false information in order to confuse and influence the public. These resources can help you learn more about misinformation and disinformation, provide access to organizations that are trying to make a difference, and help you improve your media literacy.
Misinformation is information that isn’t factually true but wasn’t shared on purpose to hurt someone. For example, you may have forwarded a post that you later found out was not true, but you didn’t share it on purpose to spread lies. It was an innocent mistake and an example of misinformation at work. The tricky part is that even if you didn’t mean any harm, spreading misinformation can still be a problem.
Disinformation, on the other hand, is planned, purposeful, coordinated and deliberate untruths spread with malicious intent. Disinformation is often built on a kernel of truth to help it spread, which means it can be hard to spot and stop.
Check out the links in the following sections to find out how you can avoid being fooled by misinformation and disinformation.
These games and activities will give you the skills you need to fight misinformation and disinformation at the source:
Can you disrupt the peace of Harmony Square by learning the techniques of social media trolls? Once you learn the tricks of this quick web game, you’ll be less likely to get fooled!
Learn to think like a fact-checker by learning their four ‘moves’, and find out why they’re so important. You can finish this activity in an afternoon, or break it up into separate sessions.
Stanford – Civic Online Reasoning (COR)
An online curriculum providing free bite-sized lessons and assessments to help teach students – and ourselves – how to evaluate online information.
These resources will help you sort out what you can trust and when to be skeptical. This is what “doing your own research” ACTUALLY looks like:
Bellingcat: Beginner’s Guide to Social Media Verification
Find out how to spot misinformation on the internet and on social media sites
Bellingcat: Separating Fact from Fiction on Social Media in Times of Conflict
Tips for assessing social media posts that pertain to war or conflicts
Google Fact Check Explorer
Search or browse recent fact checks from multiple sources at once
Google Reverse Image Search
Use Google’s reverse image search function to find the actual source of a viral image
Internet Archive – Wayback Machine
Use the Wayback Machine to see what a website used to look like
Web tools created by the Indiana University’s Observatory on Social Media (OSoMe) team to help combat the spread of misinformation
Samara Centre’s Field Guide to Online Political Conversations
Tips for ways to have better conversations about politics on social media
Simon Fraser University – Disinformation Resources
A compilation of resources to help you detect disinformation when you see it; includes lectures, podcasts, TED Talks, and more
Find out who is funding organizations in the news
These are the organizations collecting the hard data on misinformation and disinformation in Canada and the US, and its impacts on democracy around the world:
Alliance for Securing Democracy
Works to document and expose foreign state actors’ efforts to undermine democracy and democratic institutions around the world
Developing a set of indicators according to open standards and sharing the results of our distributed tests and validations
Digital Democracy Project
A joint initiative led by the Public Policy Forum and the Max Bell School of Public Policy at McGill University
Duke Reporter’s Lab
Explores new forms of journalism, including fact-checking, which are empowering democracies and holding governments accountable
Evidence for Democracy: Misinformation in Canada
A research project that reviews the spread of misinformation in Canada and provides options for addressing it; for more context, explore the Evidence for Democracy: Annotated Bibliography
Exposed by CMD
Formerly PR Watch, this site by the Centre for Media and Democracy leads in-depth, award-winning investigations to understand why and how special interests and dark money are reshaping American politics and elections
Fairness & Accuracy In Reporting (FAIR)
An American media watch group that has been offering well-documented criticism of media bias and censorship since 1986
Global Reporting Centre
A Vancouver-based non-profit organization dedicated to highlighting important neglected stories around the world
Empowers people to be more critical consumers of content online by teaching key digital literacy skills needed to spot misinformation and disinformation
Canada’s Centre for Digital Media Literacy provides resources for parents and teachers
Provides a platform for universities, institutions, and journalists to spread breaking news to their audiences
The Trust Project
An international consortium of news organizations collaborating to use transparency to build a more trustworthy and trusted press
Our thanks to Vancouver Public Library