[April 2, 2020] [The Episcopal Church] In response to the increased prevalence of disinformation campaigns, The Episcopal Church’s Office of Government Relations has released the resource “Misinformation, Disinformation, Fake News: Why Do We Care?” (https://tinyurl.com/rut5kql)
While misinformation has been used for centuries, it has become especially prevalent and difficult to identify with the rise of social media platforms and the general expansion of internet access. Misinformation often spreads faster and is seen by a broader audience than legitimate news. This means that when misinformation is spread about a topic like the coronavirus disease or the U.S. 2020 Census, it can pose a serious threat to public health and social systems as individuals are more likely to be exposed to misinformation than expert advice.
“This resource is designed not only to educate our audience about misinformation but also to offer concrete steps for individuals and organizations on how to identify and limit its spread,” explains Rebecca Linder Blachly, director, The Episcopal Church Office of Government Relations. “While misinformation is often relatively harmless, there are targeted disinformation campaigns designed to cause harm and to shut down important conversations about significant issues our society faces. We want our audience to have the knowledge and resources to recognize and respond to these damaging campaigns.”
In addition to concrete tips on how to identify and limit the spread of misinformation, this resource offers an overview of the misinformation landscape, the structure of disinformation campaigns, and the use of misinformation in elections.
Support for this resource, as well as continued advocacy for policy and appropriate safeguards to reduce content that is false and designed to cause harm (also known as disinformation) are key elements of Resolution MB 016 Misinformation and Elections passed by the Executive Council of The Episcopal Church at their February 2020 meeting.
Learn more about the Office of Government Relations and their work here (https://episcopalchurch.org/office-government-relations).