The US Department of Homeland Security Urges ‘Digital Literacy’

In the war against misinformation and social media-inspired violence, ultimately the social media platforms are just one front. But what about the people consuming misinformation? In June America's National Security Council unveiled a "National Strategy for Countering Domestic Terrorism," which argued that "pursuing the goal of preventing, disrupting, and deterring acts of domestic terrorism... can mean, broader still, cultivating the type of digital literacy that can empower the American public to resist those who would use online communications platforms and other venues to recruit, radicalize, and mobilize to violence." This week America's Department of Homeland Security warned the country still faces "a diverse and challenging threat environment" including the possibility of violence "by individuals and small groups...including domestic violent extremists and those inspired or motivated by foreign terrorists and other malign foreign influences.....These actors continue to exploit online forums to influence and spread violent extremist narratives and promote violent activity." (Though they add that the agency "is not aware of an imminent and credible threat to a specific location...") But besides offering links to mental health resources and info on law enforcement tip lines, the agency also suggests Americans "Maintain digital media literacy to recognize and build resilience to false and harmful narratives" — linking to an online publication about "Media Literacy and Critical Thinking Online." Here's our look at the documents they're making available — and the language that they're using to convey the threat.

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