In today’s world, the news cycle moves fast, sensational headlines grab attention, and every issue provokes strong emotions. Sharing a news story is as easy as one click, but before you click “share,” are you sure that that story is true? How can you separate fact from fiction and not fall for “fake news”? The good news is that the library is the perfect place to help you gather, use, and analyze data. Here are some tips to help you determine what’s credible and what isn’t.
- Is the story you’re reading from a news organization that you’ve heard of?
- Can you find the story you’re reading on a well-known and reputable news site?
- Are sources quoted in the story reliable? Can you look up any studies that were cited?
- What’s the tone of the language being used? Is it emotive and confrontational, or is it calm and logical?
- Does a story rely on sensational headlines or hyperbolic words to get you to click through?
- Think about vested interests and biases. Anyone who publishes information has a motive. Is there a bias that is distorting the facts or could the presenter have a conflict of interest?
Still not sure? Use one of these websites to verify information.
- Factcheck.org is a nonpartisan, nonprofit “consumer advocate” for voters that aims to reduce the level of deception and confusion in U.S. politics.
- SciCheck is a division of FactCheck.org that focuses solely on false and misleading science claims.
- PolitiFact is a fact-checking website that rates the accuracy of claims by elected officials and political candidates.
- Snopes investigates rumors, stories and claims made on the internet and either confirms or debunks them.
Before you share that story or forward that email, remember that the library is here to help you separate truth from fiction. If you ever need help finding or evaluating information, just call or visit us and we’ll be happy to assist you.