I want to ask you for a favor. Next month – November 2020 – is a month of great importance for the United States, but also for the world.
This is not a political post, although I have my own views, and will give them away, below. I want to ask you for a simple favor no matter who you vote for.
If you see anything amazing on Twitter, Reddit, Facebook, or Instagram do not share it until you have verified the source. If someone messages you by SMS, iMessage, Telegram, Signal, or WhatsApp, do not forward the message until you have verified the source.
Over the next few weeks, please only share items from government agencies, reputable news agencies (such as BBC, Guardian, Washington Post, New York Times, Al Jazeera, La Monde, India Times, etc.), international charities and organizations (the Red Cross, the World Health Organization, the EU), and other verifiable, truthful, and unbiased sources.
Over the next few days and weeks, people, robots, state and non-state actors, politicians, lay people, and websites will share misinformation about the progress of the election. They will share fake or old images of broken ballot boxes. They will share images of riots from years in the past. They will share ‘news’ stories about conspiracies, cover-ups, or other untruths.
On November 4th, one of the two candidates will need to concede. One has suggested in the past that he might not. One has lied 22,000 times in the last 1,400-ish days, and has failed to denounce conspiracy theories that have been disproven. Sowing dissent and doubt is one way that that person might seek to cling on to power, regardless of the result.
In the first paragraph, I said that the election in the United States was important for the world, not just for the United States. I said this because the choice American voters make on Tuesday will largely affect how (and whether) the world’s second largest polluter will respond to climate change.