The power of fake news has no limits. Misinformation is often thought about in terms of political news, but sometimes it is used to scare a community.
Fake news and misinformation can cause tension within communities being targeted, like a Latino community in Chicago.
Activist Moises Moreno walks down 18th Street in the Pilsen neighborhood in Chicago. It is a cold winter morning and snowflakes are sprinkled on the shoulders of his dark coat.
“This is Chicago weather,” Moreno said. “I am used to it.”
The cold weather does not bother him. He is focused on one thing: educating his immigrant community with facts.
“We’re trying to provide the information community members should have,” he said.
Rumors in the Pilsen community circulated online, claiming there were mass immigration arrests. Moreno says that was when pro-immigrant organizations created a rapid-response network to educate immigrants with accurate information.
“If and when ICE (Immigration and Customs Enforcement) is spotted in the community, there is a process which we verify there is a responsible and direct response to make sure the information we have is valid,” Moreno explained.
This veteran activist also helps weed out rumors. Recently, some residents reported alleged ICE vehicles parked in their neighborhood. They thought they were there to conduct a raid.
“From what we heard some government agents were there to have lunch. We did not hear families being detained,” said Moreno.
The pro-immigrant activist recommends the following:
· Be skeptical. If the social media post says “I heard” or “I saw," but it doesn’t attribute the information to a specific well-known source or agency, look for another source.
· Question if a post appears to be jumping to a conclusion. For example, if a post claims a dark SUV was spotted and says it must be part of an ICE raid, without providing more evidence, you should question the validity of the post.