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How To Spot Fake Election Day Posts On Facebook And Twitter

Nov 05, 2012

We won't make a prediction about who will win the presidential election tomorrow. (That's the jobs of experts like Nate Silver or Mark Blumenthal.) But we feel safe making one forecast: lots of people will be tweeting or posting on Facebook about the race between Barack Obama and Mitt Romney. And lots of that information will be wrong.

Before and during Hurricane Sandy's landfall on October 29, numerous misleading posts about the event appeared on social media platforms like Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. There were dozens of Photoshopped storm pictures and at least one Twitter user falsely claiming to have outrageous scoops about the storm's impact on New York City.

AllThingsD's Arik Hesseldahl warns that similar fake-outs could filter their way into our Facebook or Twitter feeds on Election Day.

"It’s at moments like this when the urge to hit the 'Retweet' or 'Like' or 'Share' button will be greatest, because of the sense of emotional urgency coupled with the perception that time is short," Hesseldahl wrote.

While Twitter users are getting better at helping to squash fake rumors before they spread too far, the Twitter "truth machine" may not be quick enough to correct lies that could, at the last minute, change the way people vote.

Using the lessons of Hurricane Sandy, here's a brief guide to sniffing out Election Day falsehoods on social media. Keep it handy as you follow the conclusion of the presidential race on Tuesday.

How To Spot Fake Election Day Tweets And Facebook Posts

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