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The Spread of Disinformation and How We Respond

October 5, 2020

“We’ll know our disinformation program is complete when everything the American public believes is false.”  – William Comey, CIA Director (1981)

Nearly 40 years later, the words of William Comey, CIA director still resound as we sit just weeks away from a moment of reckoning for our Democracy. Here’s one thing we know for certain, the proclamation that Director Comey made is far from complete, but what we also know that there has been no lack in attempts made in doing so.

The spread of disinformation has been a perpetual attempt to tarnish and erode our democracy, and we must do everything in our power to fight it. The allowance of foreign interference in our elections has shown that results of this election not only impact us as Americans, but many countries abroad. We’ve seen the ongoing attempts to spread inaccurate data within the African-American community on a number of fronts. From falsified information on the date of the election, to misinformation on the steps needed to verify your registration, there has been no stone unturned in attempts to ensure that the vote of the African American community is discredited or that we don’t take our full authority in this moment by voting. The NAACP has continued to fight at all cost to identify disinformation and to thwart it with valid facts so that our community can make informed and intelligent decisions when casting our ballot in this upcoming election.

1. Know Your Dates

What’s Trending

The conversation around real election dates and the process for mail-in ballots and early voting is expanding across the country to disenfranchise voters, and build distrust within communities of color.

How We Respond

The response would be to share the correct dates for election and other key events.

How We Show It

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2. Black Lives Under Obama/Biden or Trump/Pence

What’s Trending

The conversation to undermine Biden’s credibility with Black and Latinx communities has increased over the last couple of months. As they did in 2016 with Hillary Clinton, bad actors have identified Biden’s standing with communities of color as a potential vulnerability.

How We Respond

The response would be to emphasis how the black community benefited under an administration Joe Biden helped run.

How We Show It

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3. Who Said It?

What’s Trending

Over the last few months, we have seen bad actors decontextualize past quotes and capitalize on recent comments – including Joe Biden’s “You ain’t Black” statement made on The Breakfast Club.

How We Respond

The response would be to highlight the multiple negative statements about the black community said by Trump.

How We Show It

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