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How To Spot Fake News

In February 2020, the American intelligence community advised members of Congress that Russia was interfering in the 2020 election to get President Donald Trump re-elected.

Sen. Bernie Sanders said Friday that his campaign was briefed about Russian efforts to help his presidential campaign, intensifying concerns about the Kremlin’s role in the US presidential race.

It remains unclear how Russia is attempting to help Sanders, according to The Washington Post, which first reported the effort.

According to Christopher A. Wray, the Director of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, Russia is attempting to interfere with the 2020 United States elections.[13][14][15] Speaking to the Council on Foreign Relations in July 2019, Wray stated, “We are very much viewing 2018 as just kind of a dress rehearsal for the big show in 2020.”[16] Dan Coats, the former Director of National Intelligence, believes that Russia and China will both attempt to influence the elections.[17][18]

Facebook is looking for threats it barely knew existed in 2016, such as fake ads paid for in rubles and self-proclaimed Texas secessionists logging in from St. Petersburg. Voting officials are learning about bots, ransomware, and other vectors of digital mischief. Military officials are considering whether to embrace information warfare and retaliate against election interference by hacking senior Russian officials and leaking their personal emails or financial information.

Millions of Americans are still primed to swallow fake news. And those charged with protecting American elections face the same central challenge they did four years ago: to spot and head off any attack before it can disrupt voting or sow doubts about the outcome.

It is a task made even more difficult by new threats to the election from other American rivals, such as Iran, which has more motive than ever to interfere in 2020 after a drone strike killed its top security and intelligence commander last week in Iraq.

How To Spot Fake News:

Critical thinking is a key skill in media and information literacy, and the mission of libraries is to educate and advocate its importance.

Discussions about fake news have led to a new focus on media literacy more broadly, and the role of libraries and other education institutions in providing this.

When Oxford Dictionaries announced post-truth was Word of the Year 2016, we as librarians realize action is needed to educate and advocate for critical thinking – a crucial skill when navigating the information society.

The International Federation of Library Associations and Institutions (IFLA) made an infographic with eight simple steps (based on FactCheck.org’s 2016 article How to Spot Fake News)  to discover the venerability of a given news-piece in front of you.

Endnotes:

The International Federation of Library Associations and Institutions (IFLA) is the leading international body representing the interests of library and information services and their users. It is the global voice of the library and information profession.

About Author

Michael McGreer Mesquite, Nevada
Dr. Michael Manford McGreer is managing editor of Nevada-today.com and writes on issues that impact public policy.

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