Misinformation Watch Colorado
Helping journalists and the public root out online viral misinformation.
COVID-19. The 2020 Census. The 2020 Election. Perhaps never before has a single year held so much in the balance for our social safety nets and our democracy.
The opportunity to come together in these moments is great — yet so is the potential for fear and misinformation to drive us farther apart.
In partnership with First Draft News, a global nonprofit tackling information disorder, the Colorado Media Project presents 2020 Misinformation Watch Colorado — equipping Colorado newsrooms and the public with the tools and knowledge to fight the spread of viral online misinformation.
Veteran data journalist Sandra Fish serves as a statewide resource, monitoring the spread of misinformation on behalf of all Coloradans.
FOR JOURNALISTS: Fish works with a collaborative network of newsrooms across the state, providing regular monitoring updates, tips, tools, and training so journalists can see for themselves what Coloradans are seeing, and know when and how to take action to counter misinformation — and when it’s best to wait. Colorado journalists can join the network here.
FOR ALL COLORADANS: Are you seeing online misinformation about COVID-19, the 2020 Census, the 2020 election, or other important topics? Take a screenshot and report it to Fish.
As of March 31, journalists from at least 20 newsrooms are participating in Misinformation Watch 2020, with more being added on a rolling basis:
Boulder Daily Camera
The Colorado Independent
Colorado Public Radio
Colorado Springs Independent
The Denver Post
Greater Park Hill News
Sterling Journal-Advocate/Fort Morgan Times
Julesburg Advocate/Akron News-Reporter
Kaiser Health News
Rio Blanco Herald Times
The DU Clarion (University of Denver)
Any Colorado journalist can join the network here.
Meanwhile, there are many things we all can do on a daily basis, to maintain “good social media hygeine.” Here are some tips from First Draft News:
Rely on trusted sources. The official resource for updates on COVID-19 is covid19.colorado.gov. Want to donate or volunteer? Go to Help Colorado Now, the official community response page powered by Mile High United Way. Need the latest updates from your community? Trained local journalists are on the front lines producing extensive coverage for trusted newsrooms across the state.
Think before you share. Slow down. Never immediately click to share on posts, memes, videos or other content you see online. Remember that some of the most damaging misinformation spreads rapidly via shares in the seconds after a crisis or emergency. Check your sources before sharing. Misinformation and disinformation can cost lives.
Be careful what you post. Remember, the information you share online can be misunderstood or repurposed via manipulation. Do a privacy check on your social media accounts and make sure you are not sharing content broadly that you mean only for close family and friends. Be aware that agents of disinformation often steal identities of real people – profile photos and other information – to create chaos.
Be wary of emotional content. Agents of disinformation are known to create or repurpose emotional video, photos, and to use sensational terms to divide us. Be especially careful of content that is attempting to make people angry or sad or create division.
If you see something suspicious, report it. If you see evidence of misinformation, online scams, or other misleading information online, take a screenshot and report it to Fish.