'Tis the season to be jolly, but amidst our festive cheer, a less celebratory guest has been making its presence felt in our homes, schools and offices: disinformation. As Christmas approaches, the digital landscape becomes a breeding ground for misleading narratives, fake news, and manipulated content. With people seeking heart-warming stories, incredible deals, and festive content, there's an increased susceptibility to disinformation. From fake charity scams to sensationalised news stories, disinformation campaigns take advantage of our desire for holiday magic and generosity.
Watch Disinformation at Christmas related videos:
When fake news cancelled Christmas. Loughborough University shares a 17th Century disinformation campaign
Fake news - The European Commission wants to “cancel” Christmas in a bid to impose a language that undermines the European’s Christian identity
UK's Channel 4's Queen deepfake give an alternative speech in 2020 warning about misinformation.
Social media platforms, often considered the modern-day workshop for Santa's elves, play a significant role in disseminating disinformation. False narratives can quickly go viral, spreading like wildfire and influencing public opinion. In the pursuit of likes, shares, and engagement, individuals may also inadvertently contribute to the amplification of misinformation. So before you share content this christmas follow our simple tips to help guard against digital decit:
Fact-Check Your Stocking Stuffers: Just as you would inspect your presents for quality, fact-check information before sharing it. Utilise reputable fact-checking websites to verify the authenticity of news stories, especially those that seem too good (or bad) to be true.
Avoid Cookie-Cutter Narratives: Disinformation often relies on exaggerated or emotionally charged narratives. Be skeptical of content that triggers strong emotional responses, and take a moment to critically evaluate the information before sharing it with your digital audience.
Check Twice Before Clicking: Phishing scams tend to increase during the holiday season, with cybercriminals taking advantage of the online shopping frenzy. Before clicking on links, ensure they are from trusted sources. Be cautious of unsolicited emails promising unbelievable deals or urgent requests for personal information.
Build a Digital Firewall: Strengthen your digital literacy skills to build a robust defense against disinformation. Educate yourself and others on recognising the signs of fake news, understanding bias, and navigating through the information landscape responsibly.
Spread Good Tidings, Not Misinformation: As you share holiday greetings and well-wishes, be mindful of the information you pass along. Encourage a culture of responsible sharing within your online community, promoting accuracy and integrity in the digital realm.
Next year TITAN's chat agent - currently under innovation - can be your supportive elf in helping you to ask the right question about online content so you can better decide the accuracy of an article or statement. For now be vigilant when sharing information by fact-checking the best you can. The TITAN team wish you all a happy Christmas or holiday. May your celebrations be filled with joy, warmth, and a sprinkle of critical thinking!