This white paper examines motivations people may have for sharing false information, discusses underlying issues that cause false information and offers case studies from recent disasters to illustrate the problem. Multiple motives lead people to post false information on social media: some posters seek a particular result, such as closing schools for the day; some desire to get attention with a dramatic post; some are pushing a money-making scam or political agenda; and some innocently repeat bad or outdated information.
Best practices for agencies to counter misinformation, rumors and false information are detailed and categorized in this white paper, and challenges and additional considerations are presented for review.
Rumors, misinformation and false information on social media proliferate before, during and after disasters and emergencies. While this information cannot be completely eliminated, first responder agencies can use various tactics and strategies to offset bad information.