Sunday, January 24, 2021
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If You See Disinformation Ahead of the Midterms, We Want to Hear From You

As November’s midterm elections approach, The New York Times is looking for examples of online ads, posts and texts that contain political disinformation or false claims and are being deliberately spread on internet platforms to try to influence local, statewide, and federal elections.

Times journalists are hoping to use your tips to advance our reporting. If you see a suspicious post or text, please take a screenshot and upload it with the form below.

Social media disinformation. This includes any false information being spread deliberately to confuse, mislead, or influence voters ahead of the 2018 midterm elections. Examples might include:

  • A Facebook account spreading false information about a candidate for office, or impersonating a candidate

  • A Twitter post attempting to confuse voters by sharing false information about the election process (for example, by advertising the wrong Election Day, or promoting nonexistent voter ID requirements)

  • A YouTube channel or Instagram account that uses doctored or selectively edited videos or images to mislead voters about a candidate or issue

  • A disinformation-based smear campaign against a candidate being organized on Reddit or 4Chan, or in a private Facebook group

  • A text message with false information to impersonate a candidate or confuse voters

Sketchy digital campaign ads. Since the 2016 election, internet platforms have committed to making political ads more transparent. Facebook, in particular, has taken steps to verify the identities of political advertisers, and to archive political ads in a public database. Have you seen any campaign ads that are not clearly labeled, or don’t seem to have a clear source of funding? Please let us know.

Posts or news stories you don’t agree with. While we agree that social media vitriol can be obnoxious, your uncle’s Facebook post probably is not newsworthy unless he is a paid internet troll, or the post is part of a deliberate disinformation campaign.

Annoying or invasive messages. Unsolicited robocalls, robo-texts and deluges of printed mail are sadly common during election years. Unless it’s part of a voter suppression effort or a coordinated disinformation campaign, it’s probably not a news story. (Although you have our sympathies.)

Please be sure you’ve read the sections above on what to submit (and what not to submit).

On a Mac:

1. Press the buttons Command, Shift and 4 all at once, then release them.

2. Your mouse pointer will become crosshairs.

3. Draw a rectangle around the content you’d like to share with us.

4. A file named something like Screen Shot 2018-09-07 at 12.00.00 PM.png will appear on your Desktop.

5. Drag that file from your Desktop to the upload area above.

On a PC (Windows Vista or later):

1. Open the Snipping Tool. Depending on your version of Windows, you can type “Snipping Tool” in the Start menu’s search field, or locate it in Start > All Programs > Windows Accessories > Snipping Tool.

2. In the Snipping Tool, click the “New” button.

3. Your mouse pointer will become crosshairs.

4. Draw a rectangle around the content you’d like to share with us.

5. Back in the Snipping Tool, save the image you captured to your Desktop.

6. Drag that file from your desktop to the upload area above.

On an iPhone:

1. Scroll to the content you want to share with us.

2. Press the Home button and the power button on the right side of the phone at the same time. That will save the screenshot to your Camera Roll.

3. Tap on the upload section above, and you should be prompted to select the image you captured.

For Android phones, the screenshot process differs depending on your manufacturer.