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Election Readiness - A Few Tips

We are facing the most important election of our lifetimes.

In the midst of the Covid pandemic, more of us are online than ever before.

Direct door-to-door canvassing, talking face-to-face with voters, is not an option in many places.

In addition to phone banking, texting and writing there are a few simple and important things that social media users can do to reach voters and help shape the messages that our communities see.

1. Amplify the truth.

First and foremost, it is more important than ever that we work together to amplify the truth, that we use our posts and shares to help direct people to trusted and accurate sources of voter information. Rules for voting vary by state and country. When you see posts questioning the voting process or casting doubt on the legitimacy of some methods of voting, share:

iwillvote.com

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Iwillvote.com is a one-stop shop for voter information. Select your state and then use the site to get the information you need.  The "Learn more about voting" button provides answers to questions specific to your state. 

If you are "fighting back" against posts that are attempting to cast doubt on voting, remember that responding, even to provide a truthful rebuke, will also amplify the disinformation. Another option is to amplify the truth in your own posts and encourage others to amplify those posts.

Casting doubt on the voting process is disinformation that is also deliberate voter suppression. The goal is to change people's behavior and discourage them from voting. 

2. Verify, verify, verify.

Verify everything you share. It is too easy and tempting to click "share" on something that's false, or written to promote a specific agenda or point of view.  Often it's the headline grabbers that make us feel the urge to share. This can happen on both sides -- we can easily share "news" that appeals to our own confirmation bias or to our sense of moral outrage. And every time we share, we amplify.

Remember the kid with the MAGA hat?

3. Amplify the candidates and topics you support.

Why are we so bad at amplifying our own side? Do we think the truth speaks for itself and doesn't need amplification? That's false. Donald Trump often has a huge share of the voice on Facebook because people amplify (like, comment on, share) his posts. 

We need to do the same. Like Joe Biden and Kamala Harris's pages. Like your local Biden supporters group. Like your local candidate's pages. They really need your support. When you like their pages, their content will show up in your feed, and then you can react (like, comment, share) their posts and amplify them to your community. Now is not the time to be shy about who you support.

If you're on Facebook, go to those pages now. Give them a like. On Twitter, give them a follow.

Show the candidates you care about some social media love. Then share and amplify. 

Here are two questions to ask before sharing:

 

In addition to these sources, the era of disinformation has given rise to expert disinformation-debunkers. Check their Twitter accounts to distinguish fiction from truth:

  • @JaneLytv - Jane Lytvynenko - Senior Reporter, Buzzfeed

  • @BrandyZadrozny - Brandy Sadrozny - Reporter, NBC

  • @donie - Donie O'Sullivan - Reporter, CNN

  • @3r1nG - Erin Gallagher - Internet Researcher

  • @conspirator0 - Conspirador Norteño - Data Scientist, Twitter data visualizer extraordinaire

4. See what's trending (aka what are we up against?)

While we are in Election Season, disinformation will be relentless and continuously changing to meet the shifting news and events of the moment. One difference between 2020 and 2016 is that brilliant minds are working nonstop to shine a light on disinformation trends and making their findings available in real-time.  First Draft News maintains a dashboard for the 2020 US Elections. Visit the dashboard for insights on what's trending.

firstdraftnews.org/dashboard-insights/

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In order to amplify the truth, it's important to know what disinformation is filling the virtual airwaves. CrowdTangle is an insights tool from Facebook compiles Facebook and Instagram post interactions in real-time. The team at CrowdTangle has create a set of dashboards for topics related to the 2020 Election, including voting mentions in English and Spanish. Check these dashboards to see what posts and messages are attracting the most attention. 

help.crowdtangle.com/en/articles/4478359-us-2020-live-displays

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