Sunday, July 21, 2024

How to Fact-Check Like a Pro

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Tired of seeing misinformation? Never know who or what to trust? Want better tools to sort truth from fiction? Here’s a quick guide to sorting out facts, evaluating resources and becoming more knowledgeable about the resources you use to find information.

Check Credentials – Is the author specialized in the field that the article is concerned with? Does s/he currently work in that field? Check LinkedIn or do a quick Google search to see if the author can speak about the subject with authority and accuracy.

Read the “About Us” section. Does the resource have one? Reputable websites will have some type of About Us section and will provide a  way for you to contact them.

Look for Bias – Does the article seem to lean toward a particular point of view? Does it link to sites, files, or images that seem to skew to the left or the right? Biased articles may not be giving you the whole story.

Check the Dates – Like eggs and milk, information can have an expiration date. In most cases, use the most up-to-date information you can find.

Check out the Source – When an article cites sources, it’s good to check them out. Sometimes, official-sounding associations are really biased think tanks or represent only a fringe view of a group of people. If you can’t find sources, read as much about the topic as you can to get a feel for what’s already out there and decide for your self if the article is accurate or not.

Examine URLs – We see quite a bit of domain manipulation these days. For example, what looks like an .edu domain, followed by .co or “lo” is likely a fake or deceptive site.  If you are you seeing a slightly variant version of a well-known URL, do some investigating.

Suspect the sensational – When you see something posted that looks sensational, it is even more important to be skeptical. Exaggerated and provocative headlines with excessive use of capital letters or emotional language are serious red flags.

Judge Hard – If what you’re reading seems too good to be true, or too weird, or too reactionary, it probably is.

Source, Utopia

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