NLP in the news this October: How to navigate elections misinformation, a spotlight on RumorGuard, pink slime everywhere

NLP in the News


It’s fall during a busy elections cycle, which means everything tastes like pumpkin spice – with a big dash of misleading elections information and frustrating conversations about politics. NLP experts were quoted in a number of stories in which they not to only explained the big problems facing our electoral system, but also  offered some hope with useful advice and a new effort to teach people news literacy skills.

A headline in Mashable said NLP’s new RumorGuard learning platform could be “the winning tool in those frustrating Facebook fights.” A feature about the site launch describes RumorGuard as “a one-stop shop for misinformation debunking and a glimpse into the fact-checking process, on top of a library of authoritative tools to help individuals spot, verify, and fight against rapidly spreading misinformation themselves.” Alee Quick, our civic marketing manager, and Dan Evon, our lead writer for RumorGuard, provided insightful interviews for the piece.

In this Washington Post feature, John Silva, senior director of professional and community learning, offered tips for engaging in productive conversations about politics this holiday season. Included was this solid advice for why you should avoid debate at the Thanksgiving dinner table and take the conversation to another setting: “None of us want to feel humiliated… We want to provide a safe pathway for these people to acknowledge that they were manipulated.”

Jake Lloyd, who manages social media at NLP, outlined news literacy tips for voters in his home state, Michigan. In this op-ed published in the nonprofit news site Bridge Michigan, Lloyd assures voters: “Learning how to tell fact from fiction is a powerful and empowering way to avoid being fooled by election-related hoaxes and conspiracy theories, without having to rely on social media platforms or anyone else to sift out and label all the nonsense out there.”

In pieces for the Columbia Journalism Review and WIRED, Peter Adams, who heads research and design at NLP, offered insights into partisan-driven news sites and misleading “pink slime” publications attempting to sway elections. Of the pink slime strategy  in Illinois, Adams told CJR: “It has all the appearance and trappings of an official news organization, and it’s trying to hitch a ride off the credibility of newspapers built over time.”

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Students need to learn news literacy skills so they can navigate our complicated information landscape and avoid misinformation, said Ebonee Otoo, NLP’s senior vice president of educator engagement, in a recent interview with L.A. NPR station KCRW.  California recently joined a growing number of states requiring media literacy instruction in schools. Otoo explained what the…

NLP in the News