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Recognizing Misinformation on the Internet

Amy Yee writes in the New York Times…

Older people are vulnerable to misinformation online even under normal circumstances. But the coronavirus has made the problem especially urgent. Older people are more susceptible to the virus, making discerning reliable health information important now.

“Misinformation is always heightened when there’s greater confusion. Particularly around Covid, there can be devastating impact if you get the wrong information,” said Jean Setzfand, senior vice president of programs at AARP, the advocacy group for older people.

However, online webinars, classes and videos to teach older adults about misinformation are popping up, from “MediaWise for Seniors,” a program designed by AARP and the media nonprofit Poynter Institute, to “How to Spot Fake News,” a free class from Senior Planet, part of the nonprofit Older Adults Technology Services. Here’s a description of each.

Senior Planet’s one-hour online session gives an overview of different kinds of misinformation circulating on the internet, including manipulated “deep fake” videos, false advertising and fabricated news. Available on Zoom, the workshop also discusses confirmation bias, recognizing satire and the concept that opinions that differ from your own do not automatically constitute “fake news.” The schedule of classes is posted about a week ahead of time on Senior Planet’s website. Registration is not required.

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