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Teaching older Americans how to sort fact from fiction online

Older Americans are increasingly engaged online, with more than 40% of people over the age of 65 actively using social media platforms like Facebook. But as older Americans spend more time online, they’re exposed to more conspiracies, scams, hoaxes and false news stories. In the shadow of the coronavirus pandemic and a presidential election, spotting misinformation online can be a matter of life, death and democracy. That’s where MediaWise for Seniors comes in.

What you can do

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Our story

MediaWise has been teaching teens how to sort fact from fiction online since 2018. This year, MediaWise expanded to first-time voters and America’s 50+ population. The MediaWise for Seniors program focuses on identifying misinformation surrounding the presidential election and the coronavirus pandemic. Thanks to support from Facebook, MediaWise for Seniors offers two engaging online classes, a social media awareness campaign and a series of Facebook Live videos with Poynter’s PolitiFact to teach media literacy (the first features Dr. Sanjay Gupta).

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Ambassadors

The MediaWise Ambassadors program, launched in 2019, has helped put MediaWise on the map by raising awareness about digital literacy with citizens around the world. Joan Lunden, journalist, best-selling author and TV host, and Christiane Amanpour, chief international anchor for CNN, became Ambassadors for the MediaWise for Seniors program in 2020. You’ll see them training people how to sort faction from fiction online and amplifying our mission to slow the spread of misinformation.

Meet all the Ambassadors who support our cause.

Training for AARP members

AARP partnered with MediaWise to create two media literacy training modules that AARP volunteers will present digitally — and eventually in person — across the U.S. to its 38 million members.

“Older Americans weren’t born online, but by arming ourselves with information and media literacy skills, we’re showing scammers we weren’t born yesterday, either,” AARP CEO Jo Ann Jenkins said.

Go to AARP’s Fact Tracker.

MediaWise is a nonpartisan, nonprofit initiative of The Poynter Institute that has already reached 9 million people through online educational content and fact-checking training. MediaWise content has been viewed more than 17 million times.

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