On March 31, 2020, TechSoup Europe organised a webinar “True or False? How to Respond to Disinformation”. It was a local event in Poland dedicated to teachers, educators and academic lecturers. The numbers of registrations were 905, with 305 participants and a variety of partners who helped us spread the word about the webinar. The high interest reflects just how important this topic of fact-checking and disinformation is during the pandemic.
The ability to recognize disinformation and appropriately respond is especially important in our current landscape. During this pandemic crisis, all of us are at risk of unintentionally disseminating questionable content and being disinformed while under much stress and anxiety. The lack of ability to check information can have dramatic effects on both building social tensions and further social polarisation.
Last week we hosted a webinar for teachers, academics and educators. This is a group with a high level of social authority, who also often contribute to the spreading of unverified information, gossip or chain letters, reinforcing bad online practices.
During the webinar three presenters showed different aspects of disinformation: theoretical, practical and tool-based. We showed educators theory and tools but our aim was also to appreciate their role in preventing and combating disinformation.
Both individual interest in the topic and quickly formed partnerships contributed in the impressive numbers of viewers, registrations and reach: 902 people registered for the webinar, 309 people – the peak of the participants, 24,500 people – organic reach of the Facebook event (5 days of promo).
The impact of our webinar can already be seen on social media today. The number of shares of the post regarding unmasking the photomontage, which stirred up a wave of hate speech addressed to teachers who undertook the unfortunate speech in the “TVP School” (a new program for children on national TV), exceeded 77 (on FB Exclamation mark) and 229 on a webinar participant’s website, which used the tools presented by one of the presenters (Patryk).