Ad Spot

CHRIS MOORE — Don’t fall for fake election news designed to polarize us

While it is easy to for people to discern that the ghouls and goblins running around your neighborhood in search of sweets aren’t real, studies show the real fear should be what shows up on social media feeds as we near the election.

Last month, the FBI issued a public service announcement warning people of foreign actors creating stories in an attempt to discredit the results of Tuesday’s election tallies.

These types of stories are not usually peddled by reputable sources and are often spread by social media among individuals who believe the story or conspiracy agrees with their worldview.

While not everyone will share the story, many will see the headlines and parrot it in daily conversations, continuing the spread of misinformation.

The PSA says the time immediately following the election could be when people are most vulnerable.

“State and local officials typically require several days to weeks to certify elections’ final results in order to ensure every legally cast vote is accurately counted,” the announcement said. “The increased use of mail-in ballots due to COVID-19 protocols could leave officials with incomplete results on election night. Foreign actors and cybercriminals could exploit the time required to certify and announce elections’ results by disseminating disinformation that includes reports of voter suppression, cyberattacks targeting election infrastructure, voter or ballot fraud and other problems intended to convince the public of the elections’ illegitimacy.”

A few ways we can be more vigilant in spotting fake news:

  • Check the source. Seek to see if the information can be found from multiple reputable sources, such as local and/or state officials and verified news outlets.
  • Consider the source. Reputable sources do not often have names that are aligned with political parties or ideologies. We wouldn’t get information about how many people die from diseases carried by mosquitoes from MosquitoesRule.com. They might have accurate information, but it is likely going to be slanted in favor of the thirsty little bloodsuckers.
  • Do not spread information that could be false. If you are unsure about the information, it is better to not share it at all. If it has any value, the people on the timeline will come across it organically.
  • Read the whole story. Many social media sites are now encouraging people to read the entire article. We all have that friend who tells you the news based on what they saw in a headline, but fail to give you any more information when asked further questions. Don’t be that friend. Facebook has added a fact check under many shared stories. That is a good start, but do not just rely on it.

 

  • Be self-aware. We often associate with people who are like-minded, which means the information they share on social media is likely going to be seen by people who are more prone to believe it because it agrees with our worldview. Shares and likes do not equal validation.

One of the things that typically separates us from other countries is our belief in our election process. If we lose that, we are in for an even more chaotic future.

 

Chris Moore is the sports editor for Port Arthur Newsmedia. He can be reached at chris.moore@panews.com.

Local

Port Arthur EcoWerks donates thousands to help feed area residents in need

Columns

KAY DECUIR — Nederland’s Twelve Days of Christmas Basket Giveaway begins, golf cart parade nears

Local

Coast Guard: 27-year-old missing offshore from Sabine Pass after falling from tanker vessel

Local

Businessman, commissioner Waymon Hallmark remembered for longtime impact

Beaumont

Judge, assistant DA & JCSO Deputy Chief talk impacts of jury trials postponement until 2021

Local

Responding Nederland firefighters encounter visible residential fire & smoke

Groves

Groves Police Department arrests & responses: Nov. 25 – Dec. 1

Beaumont

CEO leaving Southeast Texas Food Bank, active search for new executive begins

Local

Abbott announces initial COVID-19 vaccine distribution for December

Local

Jefferson County not facing COVID business occupancy rollback just yet

Local

Police chase in Nederland leads to crash, 2 sent to hospital

Groves

Groves Police team with PNG students, volunteers to brighten Christmas for 50 families in need

Local

Dozens of stolen Port Arthur firearms are getting into criminals’ hands. You can help stop it.

Beaumont

Spindletop Center reopens newly renovated Hope Center

Local

PA Greater Minority Chamber asks shoppers to support Black-owned biz during holiday season

Local

Judge explains how Jefferson County businesses might roll back to 50% occupancy standard

Local

ICU hospitalizations due to COVID-19 more than double in Jefferson County

Local

Troopers: Pickup towing trailer strikes school bus with 17 students on board in Jefferson County

High School Sports

See how Titans coaches say Adrian Hayward is turning hard times into gridiron success

High School Sports

Two-way standout Kyndon Fuselier has 2 shots at receiving yards title

Local

Port Neches homeowner watching TV at 2 a.m. forced to fight man after break-in

Local

Port Arthur’s Ike Mills advocates for Justice for Black Farmers Act

Local

BRIGHT FUTURES — St. Catherine using smart thermometers to combat health concerns

Local

Mother expresses concern, wants help to slow down Port Neches speeders