Reality Check

“A lie can travel halfway around the world while the truth is still putting its shoes on.” (attributed, wrongly, to Mark Twain)

The Internet may be the greatest information technology ever developed: every minute, four million YouTube videos are viewed, 3.5 million Google searches are performed, and 156 million emails are sent.[1] The Internet and social media have made it easier for everybody to access, share and publish information, but that has come at a cost: it’s harder than ever to tell the difference between accurate information and advertising, misinformation and parody, and it’s easy for any of us to help spread false information without meaning to.

Because so many of us turn to online sources for information, authentication (the process of verifying that information is true, unbiased and relevant) can no longer be something we only practice in school: our health, our finances, and even our democracy depend on having – and sharing – good information.

To help Canadians develop the search, authentication and critical thinking skills that are needed in the digital age, MediaSmarts and Facebook Canada have partnered together to develop the Reality Check! program. Over the course of this two-year public awareness and education initiative, we will be developing a series of videos, tip sheets and activities that will give Canadians of all ages the tools they need to verify different kinds of online information and to help them understand why it’s important to double-check before they share information online. Come back often to see what new resources have been added.

The first video and tip sheet in this series provides tips and tricks to verify online news.

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News You Can Use - tip sheetNews You Can Use Tip Sheet

Online news is one of the hardest things to verify. Sometimes early reports that turn out not to be true still circulate on the Internet, and people may spread false reports for commercial or malicious reasons, or even just for “fun.”

 

[1] “What Happens in an Internet Minute in 2017?” Jeff Desjardins, Visual Capitalist, Aug 2 2017. http://www.visualcapitalist.com/happens-internet-minute-2017/