3 ways to check information on the internet

3 ways to check information on the internet
3 ways to check information on the internet

If you regularly go on the Internet, you have probably come across some wrong information. This may be completely false data about how neurogauchers and right-brained people perceive the colors of a potentially dangerous medical meme or "advice" to apply. Either way, you can help stop the flow of false information by checking the facts and avoiding sharing inaccurate or misleading data. Fortunately, you can quickly and easily confirm or deny information posted online using many tools created for this purpose.


Method 1 of 3: Review the articles

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Step 1. Check the author's credentials

Your goal is to see if he qualifies. First, look at the article's signature, which usually mentions the author's name and the date of publication. The author should be either an expert or a specialist in the subject covered by the article. You can do a quick Google search to verify that the author is qualified to write an article on the subject. If your search does not return results, the article may contain false or misleading information.

  • If it's a journalist, look for other articles they've published to see if they've covered the topic before.
  • If the author is on a list of doctors, scientists, or experts, take the time to verify that their credentials are true.
  • You can also visit the author's "LinkedIn" page to check his qualifications and find out which news agencies he has worked with.
  • If there is no mention of the author, be careful, as this could be false information.
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Step 2. Examine the item's date to make sure it is up to date

The published or updated date is usually found just below the author's name. Check that this date is correct and that the article is free of outdated information. Use especially sources that contain recent information.

Old articles can be used to spread false information as they no longer reflect what is happening in the world today

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Step 3. Cross-check your information

Look online for other credible sources that relate to the news or verify that the information or claims in the article have been reported by other reputable and credible sites. Examine what other sources have posted about these claims to confirm or deny what you have read. If you can't find anything, it could be false information.

Many media outlets cover important news such as medical and political news. Suppose you've read an article that claims an asteroid is going to strike Earth, but you don't see this information anywhere else. You can deduce that it is probably wrong

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Step 4. Detect the lack of neutrality and objectivity

Review the title and read the article carefully. Watch out for biased and abusive passages that aim to support an underlying ideology. Look for clues that demonstrate the author's unprofessional nature, such as grammatical and spelling or punctuation errors, and the unwarranted use of capital letters to elicit a reader's reaction.

  • Also watch out for insulting and abusive comments.
  • Also be aware that grammatical errors often denote the unprofessional nature of the source reporting the information.
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Step 5. Look for official or expert quotes

To support their claims, prominent professional articles often cite other articles, expert opinions or official reports. Usually, the absence of sources or citations goes hand in hand with misleading information.

Review the sources mentioned in the article to verify the accuracy of the information it contains

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Step 6. Verify the claims by examining primary sources

These sources include government reports, data collected, legal documents, and scientific research articles. Information from primary sources can be modified to suit a given story. Read these sources to verify the accuracy of the information in the article.

  • While not entirely false, the title of the article can be intentionally misleading.
  • The interpretation of the data can also be biased. For example, you might read in an article that 90% of those polled in a poll support the death penalty. However, if the sample only includes 5 people, the survey is not accurate and the result is not really meaningful.
  • When it comes to medical claims, such as those relating to the pandemic, one should trust primary sources like the WHO.

Method 2 of 3: Demystify Pictures and Memes

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Step 1. Check all quotes and statements for accuracy

Memes and images contain quotes attributed to particular people and can circulate widely, especially on social media. Optionally, quickly check the origin of the citation and its author online. If it doesn't match the picture, the information is most likely wrong.

  • Some graphics and memes may contain "data" that is believed to have been published by reputable organizations. If the source is not indicated, be careful and verify this information yourself.
  • Images can also be tampered with. For example, those of protest panels may be altered in terms of the text and the shape of the panels.
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Step 2. Read the comments to see if the image has been verified

Images and memes posted on social media are often commented on. Consider them, as they may contain references or links that debunk the claims in the image.

  • Someone is not necessarily right because they disagree with a given point of view. Look for comments that contain links or references to other sources.
  • If the comments don't tell you anything, be suspicious and check the claims yourself.
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Step 3. Look online for reliable sources that report the information

The images and memes shared online are very varied, but if the information is true, it was probably posted by a serious professional site. Research the claims made by a meme to find news organizations or government agencies that have published articles on the issue.

In the absence of other sources, the information is likely to be false or biased

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Step 4. Go to a website that specializes in fact checking

The vocation of sites of this type is to demystify and challenge disinformation. If you come across a questionable claim, do your investigation by ensuring that it has not been discredited or analyzed by a verification site.

  • To find information about these sites, click here.
  • The majority of fact-checking sites explain the reasons and means used to disguise information or make it misleading. Therefore, read the entire text to better understand the process.
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Step 5. Ask the author to indicate his sources

If the image was posted on a social media site or online forum, contact the person who originally posted it. Ask him to confirm the information and indicate its source. In the absence of confirmation, the information is likely to be false or misleading.

Sometimes a request to identify the source can help demystify the information. If the perpetrator is unable to prove it, he can deny it and thus help to stop its circulation

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Step 6. Perform a reverse search of the image to identify its origin

Just use a search engine like Google or Microsoft Bing. Upload a saved image or paste the URL of the image. Then start your research to determine when and where it was originally uploaded. If this is an old reposted image, the information is bad. Also check the suitability of the image with the text to which it relates.

  • For example, it is misinformation if a meme claims that the wildfires in Brazil were caused intentionally, but the reverse image search shows that the image is actually a controlled fire in California.
  • To do your research, you can use "RevEye". It is a free and useful application that can help you debunk an image posted online and uncover misinformation. You can download this app from the App Store on your smartphone or tablet.

Method 3 of 3: Analyze the sources

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Step 1. Evaluate the site design

This way you will know how professional he is. Check the site itself for signs of amateurishness, such as the existence of numerous popups. Also check the other links on the page. If they do not exist or if they point to inappropriate targets, this would be a rigged site. Look for doctored images that appear to be fake or have been altered using software like Photoshop. Also check grammar and spelling.

  • Snopes maintains a list of fake news sites. You can read it here.
  • Trust your intuition too. Does the site seem incomplete to you? If so, it may be used to spread false information.
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Step 2. Check the source's legitimacy on a media bias site

These types of sites monitor the spread of disinformation on the Internet. Look for the source on the list and see if it is serious or if it publishes false information.

  • FAIR Fairness & Accuracy in Reporting is a media watchdog group dedicated to identifying biased English-speaking media. For French-speaking sites, click here.
  • You can also use other sites such as Le Décodex from Le Monde, true or fake from franceinfo or the collaborative platform against disinformation hoaxbuster.com.
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Step 3. Look for the "About Us" section on the source site

This page allows you to get an idea of ​​its credibility. You can also examine a page which traces the course of the site. The absence of such a page could mean that the site is publishing misleading information. Reading the description will also help you identify directions, biases or prejudices in what he posts.

  • For example, if the content in the "About Us" section precludes vaccines, you should carefully read the articles published by this site on vaccines.
  • A partisan article is not necessarily wrong! However, it could contain misleading information.
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Step 4. Examine the URL

Indeed, it can give rise to suspicion. You should check the full URL for the source. Look for a complementary extension like ".co" or ".lo" added to the end of the URL of a reputable news site. This ploy usually points to a questionable source.

  • For example, if the URL says "cnn.com.lo", it is most likely a site claiming to be CNN's.
  • Also beware of slight changes to famous URLs. So if you read "cbsnewsnet.org.co", the site with that URL is probably a bogus site.
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Step 5. Check the signatures of the articles published on the site

A serious news outlet lists the author's name and publication date at the top of the article. If these indications are missing, the source and information may be unreliable, as the content is not clearly originating from a qualified or professional author.

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