The News Literacy Project
Learn news literacy this week
TikTok’s misinfo problem | Midterms prep | Food conspiracy rumor
Viral rumor rundown
Climate change denialism spread via fake CNN headline
NO: The screenshot in this tweet is not a genuine article published by CNN. YES: This is a piece of impostor content designed to look like a CNN article. NO: Climate and weather are not the same thing. YES: Global warming and climate change can cause severe winter weather.
NewsLit takeaway: Impostor content is often designed to launder faulty ideas through a credible source. Using a fabricated CNN headline to push this falsehood accomplishes two things: It lends credibility to a demonstrably false claim for those who are inclined to believe it, and it impugns CNN’s reputation and credibility for those who aren’t.
Remember: While weather changes from one season to the next, the impacts of climate change can be felt throughout the year. Conflating weather with climate is a common strategy used to minimize the magnitude of climate change. Recognizing this distinction makes us all less susceptible to climate change misinformation.
No, Trump didn’t say he was knighted in private by Queen Elizabeth II
NO: This is not a genuine message from Trump about being knighted in private by the queen. NO: This message was never posted to Trump’s account on Truth Social, the former president’s social media platform. YES: This is a fabricated Truth Social post that went viral on Twitter.
NewsLit takeaway: Be skeptical of alleged social media messages that only circulate in image form as screenshots. A plethora of online tools make fabricating images of social media messages rather easy. While these doctored pieces of impostor content can appear convincing, one big red flag gives these messages away as fakes: They do not have URLs connected to the social media profile of the subject (in this case, Trump) and many of these alleged posts have the same number of likes and shares.
We’ve covered similar pieces of impostor content and you can get a rundown on how to investigate this type of rumor here.
No, the viral 2030 diet infographic didn’t come from the World Economic Forum
NO: This infographic was not created or promoted by the World Economic Forum. YES: A spokesperson for WEF told fact-checkers at the Associated Press that “this is fake and completely made up.”
NewsLit takeaway: Satirical content online is often mistaken as genuine — and in some cases, can ignite harmful conspiracy theories. Fact-checkers from USA Today found that this bogus infographic was likely created with humorous intent as it contained unreasonable and obviously false assertions, but it also connects to long-standing conspiratorial ideas about a “global agenda” to deliberately create food shortages. This ignited its spread among conspiracy theory communities. Misinformation often contains a grain of truth, and in this instance an opinion piece on WEF’s website truly suggested diets could change as the global population grows and the farming industry shifts to more sustainable methods. The infographic exaggerated these points (artificial meat became “upcycled citizens” and the possible addition of insects became “micro livestock”). Then it was further amplified by those who credulously shared it online. These dots — an opinion piece on a potential change in global diets and a claim that global organizations will force people to eat “upcycled citizens” — do not connect.
Thanks for reading!
Your weekly issue of Get Smart About News is created by Susan Minichiello (@susanmini), Dan Evon (@danieljevon), Peter Adams (@PeterD_Adams), Hannah Covington (@HannahCov) and Pamela Brunskill (@PamelaBrunskill). It is edited by Mary Kane (@marykkane) and Lourdes Venard (@lourdesvenard).
Sign up to receive NLP Connections (news about our work) or switch your subscription to the educator version of Get Smart About News called The Sift® here.
Check out NLP’s Checkology virtual classroom, where you can learn to better navigate today’s information landscape by developing news literacy skills.
Donate to NLP Today
See who supports us
© 2022 The News Literacy Project
5335 Wisconsin Ave. NW, Suite 440
Washington, DC 20015
Tax ID: 27-4011343