How can you determine if information you read online is accurate and reliable?
By becoming MEDIA LITERATE.
The Internet has (mostly) replaced the need to house print reference and research materials in the library. While there are great advantages to the immediate access to critical information the Internet provides, there is also the risk of misinformation spreading like wildfire, either intentionally or not. In the world of unregulated information exchange on the Internet, we no longer have the advantage of publishers, editors, and other experts to vet all the information we might access, so we have to evaluate the information ourselves.
Google is great, we all love it, but there are other options (like databases) that may yield better results for your research. Researchers often use different tools for different information needs. For Internet researching, you will be most efficient if you learn to use different tools and advanced search strategies to refine and focus your results. You can check out Harvard High School data bases here.
Source: Arlington Heights Library
The Internet is full of viral misinformation. Fake news is a false news story designed to look like credible information and makes it difficult to decipher fact from fiction. Fake news typically spreads fast online. How can we wade through it? Always reflect on how you encountered the story. Was it promoted on a website? Did it show up in a social media feed? Was it sent to you by someone you know? Trace the story to its original source.
Here are some other helpful steps to analyze news sources and tools for fact checking.
Is it true? Check out these unbiased fact-checking websites:
Independent, self-sufficient entity wholly owned by its operators who investigate rumors.
Non-partisan, non-profit which acts as a consumer advocate for voters. A project of the Annenberg Public Policy Center of the University of Pennsylvania
Independent fact checking website created by the Tampa Bay Times newspaper. PolitiFact has won the Pulitzer Prize for National Reporting
Where does the bias lie in the media?
Check out this study from the Pew Research Institute
Other resources and articles about Fake News
When Fake News Stories Make Real News Headlines
How Fake News Goes Viral
The Fact Checker’s Guide To Detecting Fake News
SIFT: Practice these four moves to help evaluate media information.
Courtesy of AllSides.com