Are you easily manipulated?
This clip shows how Brynolf & Ljung make Patrik and Pontus doubt their sense of reality. A foreign power can use false and deliberately deceptive information to try to disrupt or skew democratic discourse. Correct and verified information allows for people to make informed decisions.
Information from many different sources is readily available to us at all times – but how do we know which ones are trustworthy? Adopting a critical and discerning approach is vital to weeding out the fake news, and determine what’s true and what isn’t.
Before you like, comment, or share anything – really think about what you are seeing, reading or hearing. Is it an opinion, or fact?
To judge the validity of information you come across on the internet, here are some questions to help:
- What kind of information is this – opinion or fact?
- When was it published? Check to see if it’s still relevant.
- Where was it published – blog, social media, corporate website, or news site?
- How did you get this information? Make sure this is a trusted source that has delivered truthful information in the past.
- Who is behind this information? A governmental agency, an NGO, or a business? See if you can trace it back to the original source.
- Why does this information exist? Try to discern its purpose.
Being critical of the information you find on the internet is a good thing. However, it can be very difficult and time-consuming to try to trace every story back to its original source. Make sure to find a few trusted sources that you can rely on in your daily life; outlets that deliver truthful information on a regular basis, with an internal fact-checking process to back it up.
- Disinformation: False information being spread on purpose in order to hurt a person, organization or country. One example is the fabrication and distribution of fake news.
- Misinformation: False information that isn’t necessarily spread on purpose, for instance if someone believes an article is true and decides to share it to their friends on social media.
- Malinformation: Correct information may be repackaged to fit a narrative that serves to hurt a person, organization, or country.
When people get too entrenched in false or misleading information, that groupthink can spawn conspiracy theories. A conspiracy theory is a simplified version of a big event, where certain circumstances are taken as evidence of an evil plot. Conspiracy theories emulate scientific arguments to try to define true and false, what’s right and wrong, and explain who is good and who is evil.
Dealing with conspiracy theorists can be tricky. Try to refrain from nagging or name-calling. Instead, ask them one simple question: What reason do you have for believing in this?
- Claims of an evil plot.
- A group of conspirators.
- “Evidence” that seems to support the theory.
- False claims that there are no coincidences. Nothing is as it seems, everything is connected and part of a grand plan.
- The world is divided between good and evil.
- Blame is laid on certain persons or groups of people.