Tips on countering conspiracy theories and misinformation
Posted on 15 February 2021 by BaerbelW
Over the years, members from our team have published several handbooks providing information about how to successfully counter misinformation and conspiracy theories. These include The Conspiracy Theory Handbook and The Debunking Handbook 2020, both published in 2020. In addition, we have our list of rebuttals as well as our MOOC Denial101x to specifically counter climate science denial.
Something for which we nonetheless didn’t yet have a good response – apart from perhaps personal experience – is how to approach science denial coming from family members, friends or colleagues. During the SciBeh 2020 Virtual Workshop on “Building an online information environment for policy relevant science” co-organized by Stephan Lewandowsky in November 2020, PhD student Konstantinos Armaos noticed that the two handbooks about conspiracy theories and debunking focus on high-level cognitive strategies for debunking, like what to say, how to say it, what not to say and what to focus on.
Some other communication elements, like when and where you should engage in dialogue, what kind of words you should use, who you should focus on, are however not the focus of the handbooks. So Konstantinos thought that a flyer would nicely complement the two handbooks. He prepared the initial draft, and together with a team of experts including Katy Tapper, Ullrich Ecker, Marie Juanchich, Hendrik Bruns, Teressa Gavaruzzi, Sunita Sah, and Ahmed Al-Rawi finalized the Communication Flyer within about 2 weeks. This flyer is now another helpful resource with its many tips on countering conspiracy theories and misinformation. A one-page summary listing the titles of all the tips has also been created as well as a one-page selection of top tips.
The flyer and its short version are available in German and Greek translations:
Note to other translators:
If you’d like to translate The Communcation Flyer into another language or help with a translation currently in progress, please contact us by selecting “Enquiry about translations” from the contact form’s dropdown menu. We’ll then get in touch with additional information.