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Fact Checking & Knowing Your News: Fact Check it Yourself

Includes: resources on deciphering between truth, "Fake news", and alternative facts. Social media and digital information has made real news something we have to find out ourselves, and not just accept at face-value. Tips on how to become "media literate

Checking the facts

Google it! You already know HOW to do this! 
  • If you read something, verify it by seeing what other sites on Google are saying (both about the claim AND the author).
  • If it's a retweet/share: What was the date for the original story?
  • Check for previous work: Look around to see if someone else has already fact-checked the claim 
Check Wikipedia! Even checking Wikipedia is better than not checking at all. 
  • Don't know an author? Check Wikipedia. Check Google if there's not a Wikipedia entry. Check what they've written before or what people are saying!
  • Wikipedia has a reference list. Check those references.
Reverse Image Search on Google
  • Paste or upload the image into Google to see where else the photo appears
  • Was it re-used in a different way online? Most web content is NOT original!
Check your own feelings
  • Are you feeling emotional? Happy, Sad, Angry? This is a trigger to SHARE without fact checking! Stop, and check the claim.
  • Do you have a bias on the topic already. Watch for that too, and check the claims you agree with as much as those you don't.

Start with these minimal questions

Make sure you evaluate the reliability and accuracy of any internet site that you plan to use as a resource!  Start with the 5W’s method: 

  • Who wrote the pages and are they an expert in the field? Authority

  • What is the purpose of the site? Objectivity – Goals of the Authors

  • Where does the information come from? Accuracy - Reliability

  • When was the site created, updated, or last worked on? Currency

  • Why is the information valuable? Coverage – value of the content

Look at the URL: What does the URL (Web address) say about the producer of the web site, and its purpose? 

Look at the CONTEXT. Everything you read can take on a new meaning, surrounded by the context it's in.

4 Moves & A Habit, by AASCU

Print a pdf from here:

Mike Caufield, of Washington State University Vancouver, leads the Digital Polarization Initiative (DigiPo), the American Democracy Project’s national effort to build student civic, information and web literacy by having students participate in a broad, cross-institutional project to fact-check, annotate, and provide context to the different news stories that show up in our Twitter and Facebook feeds.