The Department of Homeland Security’s Social Media Working Group for Emergency Services and Disaster Management provides recommendations to the emergency preparedness and response community on the use of social media technologies. They recently published the white paper Countering False Information on Social Media in Disasters and Emergencies to help agencies with this issue.
The internet has been a hotbed of false and inaccurate information since its beginning. Countering it remains a constant problem for any organization, company, department or agency trying to help the public stay healthy, safe and informed.
The white paper examines what motivates people to share bad or false information and discusses underlying issues that cause false information. It looks at several real-world case studies to provide agencies several best practices to counter misinformation, rumors and false information.
False social media content is most often caused by four issues:
- Incorrect information (intentional versus unintentional).
- Insufficient information.
- Opportunistic disinformation.
- Outdated information.
The white paper examines each of these issues in depth with examples. Further, key best practices are explored and categorized by people, processes and technology. These include partnerships, software considerations and advanced preparation. Additional considerations and challenges that may be encountered are also included for reference.
Members of the working group are subject-matter experts from federal, tribal, territorial, state and local responders. They establish and collect best practices and solutions to be implemented by public safety officials and first responders.