The News Literacy Project unveils RumorGuard, empowering the public to counter misinformation

WASHINGTON, D.C., Oct. 5, 2022 – The News Literacy Project is empowering the public to recognize and resist misinformation with the launch of RumorGuard, a new platform that teaches people how to identify credible information and debunk viral rumors.

The platform also encourages users to stop misinformation in its tracks by joining the RumorGuard, a community of concerned people who want to keep facts at the center of our public discourse.

“Misinformation is a real threat to our democracy, our health and our environment. But too many people are not sure how to verify the news they come across and are convinced there is no useful action they can take to protect themselves and others from being fooled,” said Charles Salter, NLP’s president and CEO. “We can confront these challenges by making sure more people have news literacy skills and the ability to collectively push back against the spread of false, misleading and harmful content.”

RumorGuard curates real-world examples of viral misinformation and provides a concise summary of published fact-checks, making clear for readers exactly what is true and is not. But the site goes beyond traditional fact-checking efforts by also walking users through the process of evaluating how and why a rumor might be false.

Each post explains how to use five major factors of credibility to judge whether a claim is legitimate. Users learn how to use those five factors to evaluate other questionable claims they may come across online. The five factors are:

  • Source: Has the information been posted by a credible source?
  • Evidence: Is there evidence that proves the claim is true?
  • Context: Is the context accurate?
  • Reasoning: Is the claim based on sound, valid reasoning?
  • Authenticity: Is the information authentic, or has it been edited, changed or completely made up?

Social media platforms and internet sharing allow misinformation to travel faster and further than ever before. But RumorGuard offers resources that are easily shared, giving the public actionable steps it can take to prevent false information from gaining traction.

“With RumorGuard, we are building a collective effort to stop the spread of harmful content,” said Peter Adams, NLP’s senior vice president of research and design. “The site’s design is easy to navigate, with posts that are relevant to broad audiences and address timely issues such as COVID and election misinformation.”

A growing body of research suggests that education is a powerful antidote to the misinformation problems that pollute our information landscape, highlighting the importance of efforts like NLP’s RumorGuard. For example, a recent study published in Science Advances showed that teaching the public about misinformation techniques can “increase people’s ability to discern trustworthy from untrustworthy content, and improve the quality of their sharing decisions.”

About the News Literacy Project

The News Literacy Project, the nation’s leading provider of news literacy education, is a nonpartisan education nonprofit that is building a national movement to advance the practice of news literacy throughout American society, creating better informed, more engaged and more empowered individuals – and ultimately a stronger democracy.