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5 Media Literacy Tips to Avoid Election Misinformation

By Alex Perez and Alex Mahadevan for Poynter

Carl Azuz isn’t dead. That’s a fact.

Despite some tweets about the beloved former CNN 10 host’s mortal status, Azuz is alive and focused on fighting misinformation ahead of the midterm elections.

With the midterm elections looming, Azuz and TikTok influencer Hasley Pitman are kicking off their MediaWise ambassadorships to bring you pro tips for navigating the misinformation you will see as the election approaches.

Tip #1: Check their bio

It’s a simple but extremely effective tip: Check out the bio behind that viral TikTok video. A quick swipe will tell you whether the user who shared a video, pic or post is actually a cryptocurrency trader providing COVID-19 vaccine “news.” Or a spiritual medium giving out therapy advice for anxious students.

“When you see something suspicious online, ask yourself, ‘Where is this information coming from?’,” Pitman said. ‘Is there evidence to support this information,’ and, ‘Is this person an expert?’ ”

Put the user’s name into a search engine — surrounded by quotes — along with a few keywords about the topic of their videos. 

Tip #2: Be wary of screenshots — find the original source if it exists

“There have been social media posts that are actually ‘faked’ news stories from credible outlets,” said Azuz, who spent two decades at CNN with 15 years as the face of CNN 10 (formerly CNN Student News). “Search for the actual news website and find the original story to determine if a story is true.”

Screenshots or videos from one platform, like Twitter or TikTok, posted on another, like Facebook or Instagram, are a common form of misinformation. Crossposting content makes it easy to launder fake posts or hide the original source.

If you see a screenshot of a social post allegedly from the Associated Press or the BBC, check the news account’s posts to see if it actually exists. Or, plug the screenshot into Google Images to see if any fact-checkers have debunked the viral post.

For more, click here.

Photo by DALL-E

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