Easter in the Age of Disinformation - How to Navigate Truth and Lies Online
As Easter approaches, it's important to be aware of the potential for disinformation related to this holiday. Disinformation refers to intentionally false or misleading information spread with the goal of influencing public opinion or behaviour. Unfortunately, disinformation can be particularly effective around holidays like Easter, when people are often looking for information and guidance on how to celebrate.
One common type of Easter-related disinformation is the spread of false information about the origins and history of the holiday. Some disinformation campaigns may seek to downplay the religious significance of Easter and promote alternative explanations for its origins, such as pagan traditions or the celebration of spring. Another type of disinformation related to Easter is the spread of false information about events or practices associated with the holiday. For example, false rumours may be circulated about Easter egg hunts being cancelled or certain Easter foods being unsafe to eat.
Here are a few examples of people falling prey to Easter-related disinformation
In 2018, a viral social media post claimed that the popular candy brand Cadbury had removed the word "Easter" from its Easter eggs in order to be more inclusive. The post was widely shared and sparked outrage among some consumers. However, the claim was quickly debunked by Cadbury itself, which confirmed that the word "Easter" was still prominently featured on its packaging.
In 2019, a disinformation campaign circulated online claiming that the Notre Dame Cathedral fire in Paris was intentionally set as part of an "Islamic attack" on Christianity during Holy Week. The claim was widely shared on social media and was even picked up by some news outlets. However, investigators later determined that the fire was accidental.
In 2021, a disinformation campaign spread online claiming that COVID-19 vaccines contained a microchip or tracking device that would be used to monitor individuals. Some conspiracy theories even linked this false claim to Easter, alleging that the vaccines were part of a plan to control or harm Christians. These claims have been widely debunked by health experts and fact-checkers.
To avoid falling victim to Easter-related disinformation, it's important to be vigilant and do your own research. Here are some tips to keep in mind:
Check your sources: Before sharing any information related to Easter, make sure to verify the source. Be wary of social media posts or websites that have no clear author or are known to spread false information.
Be cautious of clickbait: Disinformation campaigns often use clickbait headlines or sensational images to grab people's attention. If something seems too good (or bad) to be true, it's probably worth fact-checking before sharing.
Consult reputable sources: When looking for information about Easter traditions or practices, it's best to consult reputable sources such as religious organizations, cultural institutions, or trusted news outlets.
Verify with multiple sources: If you come across information that seems questionable, verify it with multiple sources before accepting it as true.
Report suspicious activity: If you come across a social media account or website that appears to be spreading disinformation related to Easter, report it to the platform or relevant authorities.
By staying vigilant and doing our own research, we can help to prevent the spread of disinformation related to Easter and other holidays. Let's celebrate this holiday season with a commitment to truth and accuracy.
Happy holidays from Team TITAN.