Fighting Political Misinformation and Disinformation Using the Library

Fake news. We’ve all heard of it existing, especially when it comes to the election. But how can we prevent fake news from spreading, and where should we go for accurate, timely election information?

Fake news. We’ve all heard of it existing, especially when it comes to the election. But how can we prevent fake news from spreading, and where should we go for accurate, timely election information?

First, let’s start with where you shouldn’t go – social media. It’s not that all information on social media is inaccurate, it's just that most of the time, information on social media is not verified and depends on users like you sharing click-bait information as quickly as possible. It’s all about getting the most amount of attention rather than sharing relevant, accessible information. This is an environment where misinformation and disinformation thrive. It’s a place where almost anyone can write almost anything, and someone else can promote it as the truth.


Misinformation and disinformation can look like…

  • Headlines that don’t give you the full story
  • Political ads or propaganda disguised as news
  • Sources with personal biases
  • Information that does not have a supporting source

So where should you go for news that isn’t fake?

You should go to a trusted researcher, someone who is trained in obtaining factual information from reputable sources – librarians. Like doctors providing medical advice, librarians are skilled professionals who can support you in accessing well-informed sources of information. Librarians can provide you with all the tools you need to find truthful and fact-based information. They can recommend unbiased news sources, provide you with candidate guides and ballot measures, and most importantly they can help you find resources that explain what the selections on your local ballot mean. 

Your vote counts, so make sure you know what you are voting for and why. You have the power to filter out fake news and make voting decisions based on the truth. Stop misinformation and disinformation before it starts. Go to your library and talk to a librarian about your information needs as you make your decisions about how you will vote. Many libraries have virtual services and can help you via phone or email as well. Take the pledge to vote for libraries today so that you can help in preventing misinformation and disinformation from spreading in your community.