How to Check Information on the Internet?
With the development of the internet, there was a problem: there is so much information that finding the correct information that you need is a problem.
You need to search the entire internet before finding the article or product you were looking for.
Today, we will tell you how to check information on the internet and get it only from trusted sources.
Our blog is always ready to give you only trustworthy information about internet security and protection.
Guide to information checking on the internet
Step #1: Identify the source of the information
First, it is worth checking where the information came from. There may be several options here. The media, bloggers, instant messenger channels and social media communities each, as a rule, have a certain reputation.
At the same time, it is essential to understand that even the most well-deserved and respected media can publish nonsense. Such whales as the BBC, the New York Times, and Paris Match have been called out for mistakes more than once. Still, this verification stage is needed to filter out sources that should be labeled “Definitely not to trust.” Such a verdict can be immediately made with regard to humorous news and strange WhatsApp mailings, which should be treated with caution.
WhatsApp is not the most secure app. Learn more here.
Step #2: Find links to primary sources
Any information claiming to be reliable should contain links to sources — an article or post without links should not be trusted.
The next step is to check the links themselves. It all depends on the specifics of the material. For example, if the text tells about some events abroad, it should contain links to local publications in the original language. Otherwise, how did the authors find out about the event?
It is also a good sign if the article’s author provides links to publications of official bodies or scientific research.
Step #3: Check individual facts
Individual facts can be rechecked from other sources in any text, video, or audio material. Often these are names, dates, geographical locations, some scientific information, etc. This data is easily found using a quick search on the internet.
The companies that create search engines themselves tell you more about all the possibilities of a more complex search: for example, this material will help you understand how to search for information in Google correctly.
If you find more than two or three inaccuracies, the material is most likely not to be trusted. This does not always mean that the author is maliciously trying to mislead you. It is quite possible that he simply does not understand what he is writing about.
Step #4: Determine the source’s agenda
In addition to checking individual facts, it is also important to determine the general direction and agenda of the source. Even if the authors do not publish obvious lies, correctly placed emphasis and competently selected information in the article can distract you from the big picture and influence your opinion. Knowing the agenda will help to take a more objective look at the information received.
Step #5: Pay attention to the details
If the basic facts look harmonious, attention should be paid to the details: images, quotes, terms, and frequent superlatives. Let’s deal with each item separately.
Images can be changed using Photoshop and other technical tools. To find out if there are changes in the picture, try to find its original using Google or TinEye image search.
Authors can use a lot of “smart” words to confuse the reader. This is especially often done in science-like texts. Don’t be lazy — find the meanings of the terms that are key to understanding the material.
“This is the most important law in history” or “you have the most honest politician in front of you” are examples of superlatives. The abundance of it in the text is a red flag. Most likely, the authors are trying to convince you of something or sell something.
Step #6: Track the prevalence of cases
There is a separate story in the texts where we talk about some mass phenomenon, for example, the news that “after vaccination, people lose the opportunity to conceive a child.” Therefore, it is useful to search for all possible sources for this query in such cases.
If key details coincide in the materials — it is most convenient to focus on such things as the name or age of a participant or an eyewitness, as well as the place and date of the event — most likely, we are talking about an isolated case, and not about a mass phenomenon, as they are trying to convince you.
Catherine Tai talked more about unraveling such cases in her speech at the Chaos Communication Congress conference.
Step #7: Use resources that specialize in verifying information
Of course, it is impossible to check every text we see on the internet. Moreover, it is often not necessary — professionals have already done it for us. In every country, some media specialize in debunking myths. So before carrying out the long procedure described above, you can see if it has already been done before you. Here are some resources:
- Snopes is an online publication that verifies the veracity of various stories. To separate fakes from the truth, the resource uses a complex rating system — it helps to understand whether what is in front of you is the truth, an outright lie, or just a mistake. Snopes analyzes stories from various fields: cultural-historical, scientific, and political.
- PolitiFact is another publication. As the name suggests, it specializes in checking political facts. PolitiFact deals mostly with politics inside the United States, but they also deal with international policy issues. Like Snopes, PolitiFact uses a rating system, namely 6 gradations of “truthfulness.” At the same time, inside each topic, you can see statistics on which part of the stories are true, almost true, and so on — up to “pants on fire” blatant lies.
It is worth remembering that, like any other media, fact checkers can also be wrong, which is why it is so important to be able to check the information yourself. With experience, you will automatically begin to notice errors in reasoning, logical inconsistencies, and other signs of a fake.
Not all fakes are deliberate lies; they often appear due to common mistakes. Unfortunately, anyone can believe in a fake. As a rule, neither higher education nor life experience protects against this. Therefore, be sure to check the information — if not all, then at least the things that really affect your life.
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