Five Thoughts to Think Before You Share Propaganda on Social Media

#1 Check the web address

If the source material comes from a website that has a history of providing smartly-written, well-sourced information – whether it’s straightforward news or colored by a particular perspective – then that’s a good first sign. The information might have some truth in it somewhere.

If the source material comes from a web address that contains a lot of numbers, random strings of letters, or tries to cram an entire sentence into it, you generally should treat anything you read or see on that website with skepticism.

#2 Research the story and the source

Compare what you’re reading to recent news stories about the topic. It doesn’t hurt to check out Snopes.com, either, to find out if what you’re reading is accurate or totally fabricated. Research the organization that shared it, too.

#3 Resist the urge to be outraged

Social media is awash with people expressing righteous indignation for this or that – the topic doesn’t matter. Ignore the fake outrage, especially if you haven’t bothered to do any research about what that person wants you to be outraged about in the first place.

#4 Stop giving strangers access to your cranium

People who deliberately create and share untruths on social media are playing you for a fool, and they’re hoping you take the bait. Stop letting them inside your head.

#5 Care about your reputation

Be concerned about presenting yourself to friends and family as having a modicum of intellectual capacity. Be the calm, sensible one. Be the person who doesn’t pollute their feeds with propagandistic drivel.

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