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Hochul touts ‘media literacy toolkit’ to ‘inoculate’ kids against online ‘misinformation’ as hate crimes surge

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Democratic New York Gov. Kathy Hochul announced an initiative to “combat online hate” ahead of the Thanksgiving holiday last week after alarming surges in hate against Jews, Muslims and Arabs coincided with the Israel-Hamas war, and a “media literacy toolkit” for students was among them.

“The rising tide of hate is putting all New Yorkers at risk – and as Governor, I’m committed to tackling this crisis head-on,” Hochul said, according to a press release issued last Tuesday.

“We’re deploying physical security resources, expanding our Threat Management and Assessment teams, calling for stronger action from social media companies, and encouraging families and communities to come together to fight hate. New York has always been a beacon of hope, tolerance and inclusivity, and we will be defined by how we come together to condemn hate in all forms.”

PARENTS CONCERNED OVER NEW JERSEY’S ‘MEDIA LITERACY’ CLASS FOR STUDENTS BEING ‘WEAPONIZED FOR POLITICAL POWER’

Hochul addresses hate crime rise

Governor Kathy Hochul speaks during media availability after roundtable on hate and bias crimes with law enforcement at the governor’s office.  (Lev Radin/Pacific Press/LightRocket via Getty Images)

The release said Hochul’s plan involves allocating $3 million to expand the Division of Homeland Security and Emergency Services’ Domestic Terrorism Prevention Unit’s Threat Assessment and Management to colleges and universities across New York State and instructing the agency to also develop the “media literacy toolkit” so parents and schools can teach students in grades K-12 how to better “spot misinformation/disinformation/malinformation (‘MDM’) online.”

“This will teach students and even teachers to help understand how to spot conspiracy theories and misinformation, disinformation and online hate. Start talking about what we’re seeing out there. Give the teachers the tools they need to help these conversations in school,” she said.

“By teaching younger New Yorkers about how to discern between digital fact and digital fiction, we can better inoculate them from hatred and the spread of it and help prepare them for a very fast-moving and often confusing world…”

HOCHUL RIPS TIKTOK OVER OSAMA BIN LADEN LETTER, VOWS NY SOCIAL MEDIA ANTI-HATE TEAMS WON’T ‘PENALIZE’ POLITICS

The app for TikTok on a phone screen with other social media apps

Hochul’s initiatives aim to better equip students with the ability to determine ‘digital fiction’ from ‘digital fact.’  ((Photo by Yui Mok/PA Images via Getty Images))

Hochul, announcing the initatives to combat hate, said the goal of social media anti-hate teams is to make the “digital world safer” by identifying “hate at the source” and “preventing crimes before they occur.”

“Let me be clear,” she continued. “These teams are working to identify violent threats. They’re not looking at your Instagram sunset post or your tweets about your favorite football team and they’re not here to penalize anyone for their political views. They have a simple goal to find out what’s driving hateful behavior and intervene early before harm is done…”

The measure echoes those of other states aiming to crack down on “misinformation” circulating online, including a New Jersey law requiring media literacy be taught to all grades to help students spot “disinformation.”

GOOGLE RESEARCHES ‘PRE-BUNKING:’ LIKE A ‘VACCINATION’ TO INOCULATE PEOPLE’ AGAINST ONLINE MISINFORMATION

The law garnered criticism from parents and Garden State residents, including Fox News contributor Joe Concha, who told Fox News Digital at the time that the government “should not be involved in what is misinformation and what is not.”

“It’s beyond subjective and will be weaponized for political power,” he added.

Schools in California are now also required to teach media literacy to students to better enable them to spot “fake news,” USA Today reported last week.

Hochul also penned a letter to CEOs of major social media outlets, including TikTok, X, and Meta, urging them to take measures to “reduce the sickening hate being spread on their sites.”

The development came after TikTok disseminated an Osama Bin Laden letter justifying the 9/11 attacks, a move Hochul also condemned.

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FOX News’ Brian Flood and David Rutz contributed to this report.


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