A few weeks ago, I spoke to Craig Silverman who is conducting a a research project with the Tow Center for Digital Journalism at Columbia University that focuses on how unverified information and rumor are reported in the media. We had a discussion of how I pick and write stories for Doubtful News, a site that casts a critical eye on some rather outrageous media stories on anomalies, the paranormal, alternative treatments and other kinds of questionable claims.
Craig knows what he’s talking about when it comes to media misinformation. Just like me, he’s trying to figure out how to present good information and dispel the bad stuff as well and as fast as possible.
We are all familiar with the Urban Legend database snopes.com - it’s our go-to place to look up all those wacky Facebook posts and emails we get from our friends and family asking us to avoid some product or gawk at some person’s misfortune. Emergent is different. For one, it’s faster. Early this week, a rumor that artist Bansky was arrested ran amok on twitter. One stop at Emergent showed it was false - the source was a fake news site. (Beware of unreliable or fake news sites.)
Check out Emergent when you hear the rumors and make sure you cite updated information on social media to help stem the wave of misinformation on the net. It’s a daunting task, believe me, I know. But if no one says anything, the wave of misinformation travels even farther.