9 Tips for Covering Election Misinformation

Experts warn that much of the discourse voters see this election will be laced with false information, misleading or out-of-context claims, and targeted disinformation. Most of that will be designed to suppress voter turnout and undermine confidence in our election system and election results. 

And it is spreading. According to ProPublica and First Draft, nearly half of recent top-performing posts on Facebook related to mail voting “contained false or substantially misleading claims.” NBC News has similarly found Google serving ads that contained false and misleading information about registering to vote. 

The principal concerns fall into four categories:

  • False information about the time, place or manner of voting or registering to vote. 
  • False claims about election administration practices, including how ballots are processed, verified and counted, with the intent to undermine faith in the election process and election results.
  • False or misleading claims about the extent of electoral and voter fraud.
  • Narratives and information presented without context, with the intent to suppress voter turnout.

Here are concrete, simple steps journalists can take to fight misinformation, avoid confusion and add context.

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