3 tips for spotting — and avoiding sharing — online misinformation

5 Things Seniors Don't Know They Can Get For Free Or Cheap.Getting older comes with some perks. Here are a few of them.1. National parks and historical sites.Pay a one-time fee and gain access to a lifetime of free admission to more than 400 national parks and historic sites.2. Amtrak discounts.If you're 62 or older, you can get 15 percent off the current lowest rail fare.3. Fitness discounts.The national organization, Silver Sneakers, can help insured seniors to find free fitness activitie

Misinformation is a growing threat online, with falsehoods being 70% more likely to be retweeted than the truth, according to research from the MIT Sloan School of Management.

Older generations are more prone to spreading misinformation than younger generations. The reason for this is due to the lack of digital literacy of social media in older adults, according to a 2020 analysis published in the peer-reviewed journal, Current Directions in Psychological Science.

While that’s not the case for all older adults, these tips can help you increase your digital literacy and avoid sharing misinformation.

Scan the article you are reading

When reading an article, verify the source you are reading. Is the news organization that published the article a reputable site? According to NPR, most news organizations will have an “About Us” page and contact information.

Google the claims that the article is making. Does the claim have actual evidence backing it? Misinformation relies on clickbait, alluring people with misleading and even shocking headlines. Double-check the facts made in the article.

Images may be altered to portray something that isn’t real. Using a reverse image search engine can help find the original photos that aren’t unaltered. Do so by copying the image and pasting it into the search bar. If you suspect an article from a social media site is misinformation, according to the World Health Organization you can report it and get it taken down.

Familiarize yourself with misinformation tactics

A game called Bad News, developed by researchers at the University of Cambridge helps increase digital literacy.

The game walks you through a set of prompts and shows how misinformation begins. In the game, you are playing the perspective of someone who shares misinformation. Through each prompt, you see how misinformation can be spread, and see how to identify and avoid actual misinformation on social networking sites.

Becoming media-wise

The Poynter Institute offers free courses in media literacy and combating misinformation with a project called MediaWise. The project aims to make digital news more accessible. There are courses specifically designed for older adults and teach people how to fact-check and verify the information that they are seeing before they spread it.

To get specialized news and articles about aging in place, health information and more, sign up for our Aging in Atlanta newsletter.