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Groups ready campaign to help young voters identify fake news in election

Groups ready campaign to help young voters identify  fake news  in election
Politics
OTTAWA -- Samantha Reusch is aiming to help young Canadians identify misinformation online because she and her colleagues can t monitor all social media platforms for false information during this fall s campaign.

Reusch is the research manager at Apathy is Boring, a non-profit organization that encourages youth to engage in politics. She says misinformation on social media can be a barrier between young Canadians and political participation

In the coming weeks, the group -- along with some 400 other organizations and individuals -- will launch a media literacy campaign of sorts, focusing on helping young voters identify misinformation and suspicious sources online.

Teaching young how to turn of the auto-play feature on YouTube, or use a reverse-image search on Google are examples of what the campaign will promote. There will also be a focus on the effect algorithms play in deciding what social media users with different values, backgrounds or demographics see in their feeds.

Reusch said her group wants young voters "to think critically about what they re seeing online and why it might be spreading.

"If they see a story that makes them feel very strongly, there might be someone who wants to elicit that response in us," she said.

"Step back, and then check the source."

The push -- among many this election season -- stems from concerns that deliberate misinformation campaigns, fomented by nefarious foreign actors or social media trolls, could have an effect on this fall s federal election, fuelled by findings of Russian interference in the 2016 U.S. presidential election.

The federal government has set up a team of top civil servants who will monitor the election for foreign interference and alert the public if necessary. Parties have also been given secret briefings on how to protect themselves and their candidates from online misinformation.

Groups like Apathy is Boring are going to individual users.

The organization and its partners are planning a week of events starting on Sept. 8 and leading up to Sep. 15, the UN s International Day of Democracy.
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