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Fact Check Before Sharing Information on Social Media

Written for the United Way of Hunterdon County by Stephen Harris

When a crisis occurs, whether a local event or one at a National level, there is an increased stream of news and information. Social media enables this information to be presented instantaneously and shared widely, even if it is incorrect or inaccurate. Often the people sharing the information are well-meaning.  This was the case with the recent post that offered a Corvid-19 Community Economic Support.  This post (below) went viral throughout social media, offering help through a special fund. There was a problem with this post: it is for Central Indiana only.

 

 

Since this post was seen widely across the nation, the listed phone number was inundated with people seeking assistance, making it difficult for the Indiana 2-1-1 to help those locally in need. It was well meaning but it caused havoc on a local support system.

Locally we responded by informing people that this was inaccurate information and asked people to stop sharing and delete the post. In one case, a friend who posted this content said it came from a “very reliable source”. Although well-meaning people, we should cut-through the social media noise and check the information against proven reliable sources.

We should all think before posting and sharing content with news and information. For crisis information we suggest turning to sites such as a local United Way or 2-1-1. These sites often contain links to other websites or Facebook pages that contain details on the crisis and where help can be found. 

Get the facts and share information from a reliable source. For Covid-19, the cdc.gov and/or https://covid19.nj.gov/  are reliable sites along with the local hospital system, https://www.hunterdonhealthcare.org/news_room/health-alert-coronavirus/ .

Stay safe and help flatten the curve. Thank You