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TBM eyes 'truth corner' to deal with misinformation on social media

The town identified misinformation on social media as a threat to communication
2020_04_21 TBM Town Hall Sign_JG
If adopted, the truth corner will be implemented in the town's new website, which is expected to launch this fall. Jennifer Golletz/ CollingwoodToday

The Town of the Blue Mountains (TBM) is looking at introducing a ‘truth corner’ to combat the spread of misinformation about the town and its projects. 

“Many other municipalities are looking into that as well. Because, you know, there can be postings on social media, which cause a lot of heartache,” said TBM Mayor, Alar Soever. 

“And then there's a public outcry and a lot of staff time is consumed in responding to something that's not even a real event,” he continued. 

During an overview of the town’s communications and customer service operations, staff and council members discussed the creation of a ‘truth corner.’ 

If adopted, a truth corner would be incorporated into the town website as a dedicated news category and web page and would allow the town staff and council to address rumours and misinformation that may be spreading online.  

“Speaking to municipal counterparts, it is important to consider the criteria that would trigger the need to issue a 'truth corner' statement and to identify whether the statement would be issued by the town or the mayor as the head of council,” stated TBM CAO Shawn Everitt in a staff report to council. 

According to Everitt, “misinformation on social media” was identified as a threat within the strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats (SWOT) analysis in the final draft of the town’s communications strategy. 

As such, TBM council directed staff to explore the options for a truth corner in early 2021. 

At a committee of the whole meeting held earlier this month, TBM council passed a motion that will see staff develop a corporate policy for council considerations related to the implementation and ongoing operation of a truth corner. 

If the policy receives approval from council, the initiative is expected to be introduced on the town’s new website, which is set to launch this fall.

The Town of Wasaga Beach has already established its own 'truth corner' on the municipal website. The posts are similar to what is being proposed in TBM. You can read the Wasaga Beach 'truth corner' online here.

Jennifer Golletz

About the Author: Jennifer Golletz

Jennifer Golletz covers civic matters under the Local Journalism Initative, which is funded by the Government of Canada
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