Being well-informed – and being careful to only share good information – are essential parts of being an active citizen in a democracy. It’s important to think before you share political information with family and friends – especially during an election.
Here are three tips to help you find good information about health and science topics.
If the source is a person, start by checking that they really exist and that they are a genuine expert on that topic. Both doctors and scientists are usually specialists, so make sure that the source has credentials in the right field. A surgeon won’t necessarily be an expert in physics, for instance, and vice versa.
Here are three tips to make sure you share good information and stop the spread of hoaxes, rumours and scams.
1. Watch for your own bias
One of the hardest things about being a responsible sharer is to be aware of the reasons why you might be more likely to believe something without evidence. Before you share a story, take a few minutes to see whether you’ve fallen into one of these common biases:
Because it’s so easy to copy and share things online, it’s important to find out where something originally came from before you decide whether or not to trust it. Someone might have shared it with you on social media, or a news story might be based on someone else’s story.
Sometimes a single search can Break the Fake if a professional fact-checker has already done the work for you.
Here are four quick and easy steps to find out the truth and share good information. Sometimes you only have to do one of these things, and most steps take less than a minute.
Using Fact-Checking Tools
Sometimes a single search can break the fake, if a professional fact-checker like Snopes has already done the work for you.
This step may sometimes be the last one you do, but it could also be the first. The News tab is better than the main Google search for this step because it only shows real news sources. While not every source that’s included is perfectly reliable, they are all news outlets that really exist.
Whether you’re looking at a website, photo, video or news story, what really matters is whether or not the people who originally created it are trustworthy. Even when it has been shared with you by someone you trust, like a friend or family member, you can’t know if they checked the facts. So it’s up to you!