Dickinson County Courthouse, Spirit Lake, Iowa


New campaign from HSEMD helps Iowans be better social media consumers, recognize false information

DES MOINES, Iowa – Today, the Iowa Department of Homeland Security and Emergency Management launched a new campaign to help Iowans become better social media consumers with a focus on recognizing false information and the harm it can cause.

The “Check the Source, of Course!” campaign urges social media users to consider information using critical thinking practices, such as:

  • Questioning the source of information to see who is really behind it
  • Investigating to see what other sources are saying about the issue
  • Thinking before linking if information evokes a strong emotional reaction

“We all know we can’t believe everything we see online, but it can sometimes be tough to tell what is true and what isn’t,” said John Benson, director of the Iowa Department of Homeland Security and Emergency Management. “We’ve built this campaign to raise awareness and empower Iowans to evaluate information before accepting it as valid or sharing it with others.” 

The Check the Source, of Course! website (ChecktheSource.iowa.gov) provides information and resources to help social media users understand the dangers of false information, along with tools that can be used to mitigate potential risks.

“While some false or misleading information isn’t harmful, much of it is and that can lead to confusion and division,” said Benson. “That’s why it’s important for people to have access to resources they can trust to do their own research on what they’ve seen or read online and come to their own conclusions.”

The Check the Source, of Course! campaign will include ads on TV and cable outlets, as well as Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and Reddit. The engaging and entertaining ads encourage Iowans to be proactive consumers of social media and urge them to visit the campaign's website to learn more about false information and how to combat it. The campaign is funded by a grant from the federal Homeland Security Grant program.

For more information and resources, visit ChecktheSource.iowa.gov.