How do I Check Facts on the Internet: An Introduction
This video will show you how to evaluate claims for factual accuracy using online tools.
How do I check facts on the internet? By the end of this video, you’ll be able to define what a fact is and recognize when a fact needs to be checked.
What is fact checking?
Fact checking is verifying the truthfulness of a claim.
Why is it important to check facts on the internet?
The internet bombards us constantly with information of questionable origin and truthfulness. We want to make sure that information we use or share is based on fact to avoid spreading misinformation and to ensure we use good-quality sources in our academic work. In this video, we’re going to be focusing on fact checking non-scholarly online sources, such as news websites, social media, videos, blogs, podcasts, and websites of organizations.
What is a fact?
A fact is something that is generally not disputed by people who have a good reason to know what they know. For example, perhaps they have studied the subject in depth or were eyewitnesses to the event in question. You also need to be able to rely on them to accurately tell the truth. It’s up to you as a fact checker to critically evaluate whether a claim meets these requirements.
When does a fact need to be checked?
There are 3 main situations in which it’s important to check a fact.
Number 1: You’re Using it to Make a Decision
For example, you’ve recently taken up running and you’re interested in improving your endurance. You read an article online about the benefits of taking a new kind of dietary supplement. It’s a good idea to check the claims in this article before taking the supplement to make sure you’re not wasting your money or damaging your health.
Number 2: You’re Basing an Argument on it
For example, you’re writing a paper arguing for safe injection sites in your city. You find a claim on the website of an advocacy organization that every 8 days, someone dies of a drug overdose. You want to use this statistic to help make your argument. You should double-check the origin and truthfulness of this statistic because incorrect statistics can undermine your argument.
Number 3: You’re Tempted to Share it on Social Media
Especially if it’s controversial or makes you feel strongly. For example, you see a post on Facebook claiming that your favourite singer has died. You’re really upset and you want to share it with your friends right away because you know they love him too. Before you share the news, you should make sure that the post isn’t a hoax; you don’t want to upset your friends unnecessarily. If you’ve considered these 3 reasons, and you’re still not sure, be extra careful and check the fact.
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