Kristen Bell Targets Spread of Misinformation on SXSW Virtual Panel: "I Try to Pause Before Sharing"

Kristen Bell attends the IMDboat at San Diego Comic-Con 2019 - Getty-H 2019
Rich Polk/Getty Images

Kristen Bell has long used her platform for a variety of social causes, from campaigning against aggressive paparazzi to fundraising and advocacy on behalf of L.A.'s homeless population.

The Good Place star is now turning her attention to helping stop the spread of misinformation while boosting trust in science and experts. At a virtual SXSW panel debuting this week, "The Health Trust Gap and How to Fix It," Bell joined Dr. Natalia Peart, founder and CEO of Catalyst Innovation Group; Ed Simcox, former chief technology officer of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services and current chief strategy officer at LifeOmic; and Jessica Malaty Rivera, science communication lead of the COVID Tracking Project, housed at The Atlantic.

"As someone with a platform, I try to pause before sharing. We have to figure out how to understand our responsibility for different elements of disseminating information and it can't just be done by the medical community or the science community or the storytellers," Bell said during the event. "And it can't just be done by the media. It has to be a team effort to bring these views together to bridge the gap and bring information to the public. So before re-posting anything, Pause. Double-check."

She said she makes sure to do all of the above to make sure she has a trusted platform. "I have no intention of turning my voice into a tabloid. I start by double-checking information with CDC, the WHO or scientists who are experts. We need to start asking at the dinner table: 'Did your uncle from Long Beach post that? Or did an expert from the CDC post it?'"

Simcox says one major issue complicating any forward momentum can be traced to individuals who refuse to acknowledge failure. "Failure is not typically tolerated in Washington and that is very different than the science world, which is backed by the scientific theory that is established on failure. In Washington, we try to coverup failure, we try to make excuses for failure but it's important to make yourself vulnerable and admit your failures."

More about the panel event can be found here.