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How To Avoid Spreading Disinformation This Election Week

Vanessa Bowen

This election is a crucial one, and amid the deluge of content on social media, it can be tough to sort out the facts from rumors or disinformation that may stoke baseless fears about the election process or its outcomes. KUNM spoke with Roberta Rael, executive director of Generation Justice, about how to avoid spreading fake news this week.

For one, she said, it’s important to make sure you’re only boosting information about the election from trusted news sources. 



If you do see some wild, false story, Rael said you shouldn't repost or engage with it, even if it’s to call it out as incorrect. 

“Avoid amplification," said Rael. "We see something online and we get upset and we have a knee jerk reaction and we’re like 'I’m going to make a comment!' Social media algorithms feed on any kind of engagement, whether it’s negative or positive. Leave it alone. That is the best way to disempower it,"

Instead, Rael advised, "Report. Flag it for removal from that social media network."


There are a couple facts to keep in mind this week, in the face of misleading messaging from the Trump administration and others: Multiple studies have found that voter fraud is extremely rare —almost nonexistent —in the U.S. And no one should claim to know the results before all of the votes are counted. It’s normal for that process to take a while, and election officials say the high number of people voting by mail due to the pandemic this year could draw it out longer.  


This interview was originally part of an episode of No More Normal called The Disinformation Age.

Funding for our coverage comes from the New Mexico Local News Fund, the Kellogg Foundation and KUNM listeners like you, with support for public media provided by the Thornburg Foundation.

Ty Bannerman has been writing about New Mexico for over a decade. He is the author of the history book Forgotten Albuquerque and his work has appeared in New Mexico Magazine, Atlas Obscura, Eater, and the American Literary Review. While at the Weekly Alibi, Albuquerque’s alternative newspaper, he served as food editor, features editor and managing editor. He co-hosts two podcasts: City on the Edge, which tells Albuquerque stories, and Anytown, USA, which virtually explores a different US county each week. He has two children and way too many dogs and chickens.
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