BMF launches toolkit to tackle misinformation online

Tackling misinformation online has become the need of the hour with social media taking the world by storm. To help Bhutanese, especially the youth and school going children identify misinformation online, the Bhutan Media Foundation (BMF) published a toolkit that will guide them filter contents online. Titled Navigating Infodemic, Misinformation and Disinformation: A Toolkit’ for Bhutanese youth and children, the booklet was launched yesterday.

Most of us have fallen victim to misinformation making rounds on social media at some point of time. Since the start of the pandemic in the country, a lot of Bhutanese went panic buying following some fake news on social media about probable lockdown.

The Executive Director, Needrup Zangpo of the Bhutan Media Foundation said the booklet provides measures to identify such misinformation online. “There are different ways of identifying misinformation and disinformation online which include first identifying the author, who has written a news story, shared and then validating a piece of information with multiple sources. Another way of identifying is looking at the dates. When is a piece of a story published online. This is because often people use stories from the past to push their self-interest.”

The guidebook is developed targeting Bhutanese school going and college youth that tops the list of social media users in the country. A nationwide social media survey by the Bhutan Media Foundation found that 90 per cent of Bhutanese use at least one social media platform. The majority of them use the platforms to seek information, for entertainment and socialisation and to disseminate information.

“So, this book will help them to deal with all sorts of information. Today we have too much information online. So, our youth, our children are thoroughly confused. So, this will guide our youth and children on the use of social media; how to filter information, how to recognise misinformation, disinformation online so that they get to the facts and truths,” said the Executive Director.

Along with the launch of the toolkit, a Facebook page on Navigating, Infodemic, Misinformation, and Disinformation was also launched. The page will share the content of the toolkit and encourage discussion on infodemic, misinformation, and disinformation.

International technology and telecommunications analysts said that misinformation is here to stay and it cannot be stopped. They said social media platforms have no real interest in deterring misinformation as they benefit from it. As such, initiatives such as the BMF’s toolkit will go a long way in tackling misinformation among the Bhutanese netizens.

Choni Dema

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