How to Know What Medical Information to Trust

2 min read

Misinformation bombards us every day, coming from multiple directions at a pace that is downright dizzying. While we might feel overwhelmed by the volume, frequency, and increasing sophistication of misinformation in all its forms -- from deepfake videos and doctored images to outright propaganda -- we can push back and regain a sense of control. The News Literacy Project, a nonpartisan national education nonprofit, can help you do just that. NLP, a news literacy education leader founded in 2008, provides programs and resources to help you gain the skills, knowledge, and mindset to be a smart consumer of news and other information. While that might sound hard to do, becoming more news-literate begins with skills that are easy to adopt. But first, you need to recognize misinformation when you see it. NLP defines it as information that is misleading, erroneous, or false. It is often created unintentionally by well-meaning people or as satire mistaken as a serious claim. Misinformation can include content that is wholly fabricated, taken out of context, or manipulated. Some content falls into the subcategory of disinformation, which is material developed and shared intentionally to mislead for financial, political, or personal gain. Those behind such content often seek to exploit our most deeply held values and beliefs to generate outrage, anger, or other strong emotions. When you become news-literate, you are less likely to fall for such tricks. To get you started, we have identified seven simple steps to help you identify credible information. As these behaviors become ingrained in your information consumption habits, you’ll become savvy enough to flag misinformation when you see it, warn others about it, and protect them from being exploited. It’s up to all of us to clean up our corner of the information landscape. Start now with the seven simple steps to learn “How to know what to trust.”

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