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How Trust Index team will sift through fact and fiction on Election Day

Two experts will navigate social media claims amid peak of misinformation

You’ve seen the Trust Index fact check dubious claims before, but on Election Day, the team will be monitoring for misinformation in real-time.

Fergus Bell and Tom Trewinnard, the founders of Fathm, helped KSAT establish the Trust Index earlier this year. The two will be on hand throughout the election to monitor the misinformation surrounding the 2020 election.

“It will be a combination of monitoring key terms that we know show up during elections,” Bell said.

Bell and Trewinnard have monitored other elections around the world — in countries like Mexico, Sweden and India — exploring claims on social media and working to verify or dispel them.

So far, the bulk of misinformation in this presidential election has come from claims over mail-in voting.

“Naturally, with the pandemic and the increase in the need for mail-in voting, that' become a really hot topic of misinformation. I think we expect to see that continue into Election Day.”

Given their international experience, Bell and Trewinnard see similarities in misinformation campaigns around the world.

“Basically, anything that appeals to the emotions of voters tends to be that common thread,” Bell said. “It’s the prevention of the democratic process playing out.”

Misinformation occurs on all sides of the political spectrum, and the experts will be searching across a whole range of sources to fight false narratives wherever they originate.

Viewers who are unsure about a claim can flag the Trust Index team to check it out.

In general, Bell suggests people who come across inflammatory claims on social media be skeptical of it before sharing.

“One extremely important tip is don’t share something unless you’ve read it. There can be a lot of detail behind that line,” Bell said.


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