Expert weighs in on how to spot misinformation on social media

10 News verification expert Fergus Bell says the spread of misinformation is not uncommon.

ROANOKE, Va – The uncertainty of the election has caused the spread of misinformation on social to spread at an alarming rate.

It can be overwhelming to log onto social media at a time like this. But as posts are being shared about everything from the number of ballots to how they are counted, experts are saying not to believe everything you see.

10 News verification expert Fergus Bell monitors elections across the world and says the spread of misinformation is not uncommon.

“It’s these emotional highly charged situations that misinformation thrives in,” Bell said.

Bell says social media giants like Twitter, Facebook and Instagram have taken measures to stop the rumors in their tracks, even from the president.

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“In the last few days related to the election, Twitter especially has put warnings on tweets it has hidden them and it has prevented them from being shared,” Bell said.

But it can be hard to tell what is real and what is not. Bell says a few good rules to follow include things like checking your sources for potential bias, having more than one, and always checking the time stamp.

“There is a lot of information at the moment and added to that it’s an especially emotional situation, you have a lot invested in this regardless of who you voted for,” Bell said.

Bell says rumors about using the wrong writing device to fill out a ballot are common in elections all over the world including here in the United States. Another myth recently debunked was that Wisconsin counted more votes than there are people.

The best thing to do when you’re feeling overwhelmed by all this? Take a step back and log off for a little while.

“What you need to do during this highly volatile time is to take a breath, that is the absolute best strategy is to just pause take a moment and think before you act on it,” Bell said.

The 10 News team is always more concerned with being correct than being the first to report something. You can always get the latest up to date information on the election here on our website and on the air.

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