Verifying information on social media
08 March 2021
AUCKLAND - Hands up if you’ve read something on the internet and wondered if it was true or not?
Many times we find ourselves reading information that is not within our line of expertise and we’re not sure if we should believe it or not.
Sometimes we go ahead and share it, and then if it fits the narrative of another friend, they will re-share and it goes on and on.
In the midst of all the sharing, do we pause to ask ourselves if we might be sharing fake news or spreading misinformation?
Here are five ways to determine if the information is credible and worth the share.
Timeline: Is the information recent/current? Does the source of the information have a date of publication? Are you able to find a publication date? This is to make sure that the information is current.
Relevance: Who is the information written for? Did it agree with other sources of information you consulted? It is important to check other sources of information to see if it agrees with what you are reading.
Authority: Who wrote it? Are they experts in the particular field? Can you confirm their affiliations? Did they use evidence to support their claim? This is one of the most important factors in determining if the source of information is credible.
Accuracy: Are you able to verify the information with other sources? Is the information used backed with expert (peer-reviewed) evidence? Peer-review increases credibility.
Purpose: Is the information written to persuade or educate you? Understand what the writer or source of the information is trying to get across.
All in all, before you accept that information shared on the internet is the truth, use these points to help you decide if it’s credible and worth sharing.
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