Be critical of the digital world
Books, journal articles, newspapers and TV programmes are usually reliable sources of information because they have been through an editing process where facts are checked and claims verified.
However, as a digital scholar and citizen you can no longer rely on traditional sources. You will need to use and contribute to digital sources including websites, wikis, blogs, online video and social media. To make sure that the ones you choose to source or interact with are good enough quality for your academic work or to base work or life decisions or contributions on, you will need skills in critically evaluating information and spotting misinformation. These skills are connected to media literacy, critical reading and fact checking.
With so much information available online - how do you know what to use?
This video starts to explain how you can know what to trust.
And this video explains some Criteria for evaluating information (Falmouth login required).
- When was it created?
- Who created it? What are their credentials?
- Is it accurate? Can you verify it elsewhere?
- Why has it been created? Is it objective, or is its purpose to persuade or sell?
- Can you make use of the information and put it into context?
Fake News and misinformation are not new, but they are increasingly used to drive web traffic and influence your choices and can spread much more quickly via social media.
Misinformation is sometimes deliberate when a sensationalised story is created as 'clickbait' to encourage you to follow a link only to find adverts or a misleading story beyond. Fake news may not be completley untrue information but sometimes manipulated to deceive or twist the facts.
Guides to Fact Checking
You can fact check the news yourself before you share it, These guides will help you.
- 10 top tips for spotting Fake News
- Fake or real? How to spot check the news and get the facts
- The Full Fact Toolkit
- First Draft News - videos and tools to help you verify what you find on Instagram, Facebook, Google, Youtube and more.
There are also fact checking websites such as:
Some social media sites are introducing their own fact checking criteria, but there is an argument that it's dangerous to outsource our critical thinking to computers.
If you have the skills to check facts and evaluate sources yourself you won't need to rely on others to do it for you.
Fake News Quiz
Can you spot fake news?
Try this Fake News quiz from the BBC to find out.