Advice for online sharing

From Benjamin Wittes:

Here are six easy steps you can take to help control the problem of political disinformation:

(1) Pause a moment–just a moment–before you share something on social media to ask whether you are being someone’s dupe and whether you mind.

(2) Don’t share content you haven’t actually read. The headline is not the article. Know WHAT you are sharing. This isn’t asking a lot, people.

(3) Don’t share content of whose origin you have no idea. You wouldn’t go on TV and broadcast something you heard from any old rando. That’s exactly what you’re doing when you retweet material from people you don’t know and have no reason to trust. Know WHOM you are sharing.

(4) Pause before sharing attacks on people. A huge amount of disinformation involves mindless ad hominem. When you share such material, you’re generally just amplifying the cacophony–often about a specific person. Ask yourself whether you’re adding signal or noise.

Ask yourself why this person is being attacked, and ask yourself whose interests you are serving by turning up the amplifiers on the attack.

(5) Edited video is dangerous stuff. Even before you get to deep fakes, [every] time there’s a cut, someone has removed something. Ask yourself whether you have enough context to evaluate the shared material and whether you know and trust the entity or person that made the cuts.

(6) All of this boils down to something we might call the “finding candy on the street” rule. If you found candy on the street, you wouldn’t eat it. If someone gave you candy on the street, you might eat it depending on what it was and who gave it to you.

Information is like candy obtained in public. Ask yourself this question: if this were candy and I were walking down the street, would I eat this? And would I give it to my kids and friends?

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