Let’s face it: There’s a lot of bad information on social media. It makes it a lot harder on all of us to get good, factual information, which is something we need when it comes to voting, candidates, and the 2020 Election.
We have to start from the mindset that disinformation is out there. 2016 exposed just how bad it is and as a country we haven’t done much (if anything) to combat disinformation. We’ve also entered the territory when politicians actively spread it themselves and social media platforms that won’t take bad content down. So we need to be on the lookout.
I’m not going to get into who is spreading disinformation. In 2020, it seems that there are a LOT of bad actors out there. There are those who want to intentionally misrepresent what Democratic candidates believe or what they want to accomplish; media outlets both large and small are using clickbait headlines to rack up views on their sites; people with opposing views acting like trolls to demoralize us or get us to disengage from politics; and sadly, there are folks on our side who are saying emotionally charged things just for clicks, likes, and even making a buck.
Keep in mind that the truly dangerous people have clear goals: They want us distrust the election process and not vote.
So what can we do?
I’ll tell you what I do. There are two red flags that I’m constantly on the lookout for:
🔹 When I see someone who purports to being on the left who constantly criticizes Democrats, I pause. Is all of their ire focused on Democrats instead of Republicans? Are they a disgruntled Democrat or are they a troll hoping to get a reaction or further disillusion others? I will choose to engage or ignore based on whatever evidence I can find in their posts.
🔹 I’m very suspicious of social media posts that discourage voting, whether they say the election is “rigged” or our “votes don’t matter” because of voter suppression, or the “candidates are the same,” etc. Are there issues with our election process? Yes. I write about voting rights and voter suppression on this blog quite a bit. But, not voting doesn’t help. Not one bit. If you believe in democracy, you wouldn’t suggest anyone abstain from voting.
That said, I fully understand that there are disagreements on the left. We don’t all agree on how we should solve some of the biggest problems we’re facing. Some want to go big, others want to move more methodically, etc. But at the end of the day, if we’re not in power, we won’t get to solve the problem at all. We are looking at a Republican party that won’t even agree that these problems exist.
We need rational, civil people on social media posting objectively factual, helpful information with others. Whether writing posts or sharing them, we can all due our due diligence and be part of the community of people who are amplifying the information that voters need right now.
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