Social Media Popularity
With the popularity of social media such as Facebook and Twitter, and how quickly users can share posts, it is becoming more difficult to tell the difference between what is a credible source and what is not. From memes to genuine news articles to satire sites, and peer-reviewed research, our aim is to teach you how to spot a fake from a reliable source.
First off, memes!
A meme is a picture or video, usually with text, that can be spread rapidly among internet users. A lot of people tend to see a meme, agree with it and accept it as true and share it without checking to see if it is in fact true. In the words of one of our great presidents:
Just kidding, of course, that’s not real, the internet wasn’t around when Lincoln was alive but you get the idea.
Satire sites are made to parody legitimate sources and present their articles in a format that make them seem like legitimate news but the stories are very outrageous and over-exaggerated. Typically though, satire sites include a disclosure that their news is satire somewhere on the webpage. You can find a list of satirical websites here.
How to Sort it Out…
So, how does one sort through the real and fake news sources, as well as what is biased and unbiased? Here are a few ways:
- Google it! Yes, it is that simple. Open up your browser and go to www.google.com and search for keywords from the article.
Try to use non-biased keywords when searching. For instance, if you came across an article that claims vaccines cause autism, instead of searching “Scary vaccines cause autism” try searching “Do vaccines cause autism?” or “Is there a link between vaccines and autism?”
- Here is how you weed out which search results are the real deal.
Try finding sources that are peer-reviewed scholarly articles, or sources that are from a news source you know of instead of articles written by some random blog or someone who decided to write a WordPress article online.
Peer-reviewed articles are usually written by an expert in whatever field you are researching and then reviewed by several other experts in that field to ensure quality and validity.
Next, try to see if there are more points of views from different sources that support the original article, this is kind of a peer confirmation that the information is good.
- Double-check your source and URL address.
Did you get that article you’re about to share from abcnews.com or abcnews.com.co?
The first one is legitimate, the second one is a copy that is trying to appear like it is a trusted source.
Many hackers attempt to use this method to trick users into giving out credentials on a fake website as well, but that’s another topic for another article.
Hopefully, this helps you in your endeavor to find the truth and helps prevent the spread of misinformation.
Always second guess things that seem too good to be true, (or too outrageous to be true,) and double check those sources.