‘Be your own judge’: how to avoid debate misinformation

President Donald Trump will debate former Vice President Joe Biden on Tuesday evening in Cleveland, Ohio. Chris Wallace of Fox News will moderate the matchup and announced the debate will include discussion of the Supreme Court, COVID-19, economy, race and violence, and election integrity.

Alexandra Cirone is a professor of government at Cornell University, where she teaches a course on post-truth politics. She says there are many things people can do to protect themselves against the misinformation that floods social media in the aftermath of election-related events like presidential debates:

“After the presidential debates, there will be a flood of video clips, recaps, and political analysis on social media. Some of this will be misinformation, and all voters should realize that clickbait headlines, clever video editing, deep fakes, and frankly even outright lies will appear on their social media feeds.

“The best way to avoid falling for debate-related misinformation is to watch the debate yourself. Be your own judge about what was said and done.

“Otherwise, help to stop the spread of fake news by reading everything carefully, before you like or share a post. And when in doubt verify the information using external sources.

“In anticipation of the election season, now is the time to evaluate your social media feeds — are you following legitimate news sources? Are your friends and/or followers trustworthy sources of information? Have you followed fact-checking organizations? Now is the time to ‘unlike’ questionable sources, mute or unfollow individuals who have a tendency to fall for fake news and bolster your social media feed with sites dedicated to combating misinformation (like Politifact, ProPublica, or FactCheck.org).”

For media inquiries, contact Linda Glaser, news & media relations manager, lbg37@cornell.edu, 607-255-8942

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