COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo.– There is a lot of misinformation out there, with the advent of social media and the constant stream of news of all kinds. Sometimes it can be difficult to determine what’s true and what isn’t.
Here are five easy ways to fact-check the news you are consuming, and how to easily stop yourself from contributing to rampant online misinformation.
Examine the source
Before you share a politi-fact meme, quote or otherwise, look at the source who either posted or shared it first. Are they a consistent, reliable organization or news media group whose facts can be held up against verified statistics or other evidence? Or are they speculative facts that aren’t grounded in truth?
Do your own research
Don’t take our word for it, look it up yourself! Before you share something, take a few minutes to do your own investigation. Regardless of where you get your news, the organizations you’re reading and listening to should always share information that can be easily verified by comparing their news, stats or information against other, reliable organizations sharing the same.
Check for clickbait
Catchy headlines are meant to snag our attention. Sometimes a website, organization or creator is simply looking for views for popularity, fame or both. Other times, something that surreal may have actually happened. Whatever the case may be, before you share, check it out. Read the article or watch the video completely to find out if what’s being shared is actually that significant or if it’s just a dramatic headline.
Facts before feelings
Fake news is a common turn of phrase these days, used for everything from false information or statistics to news that simply hurts an individuals’ feelings or sheds light on an unfavorable aspect of their political party. Feelings are not a reliable source for whether or not what you’re reading or watching is true. Go look at the facts yourself by holding the piece against statistics, speeches, government statements and published information from reliable organizations.
Diversify your media
Chances are, if you’re getting most of your daily news and other media from one particular organization, you’re not seeing the full picture of what’s happening in the world. There are hundreds of verified news organizations whose job is to fact-check information and report comprehensively. Think of it like food. It’s boring to eat the same meal every day. Change is good and can even be healthy.