The internet is a wonderful tool. It is great for staying in touch with others, entertaining ourselves and even keeping up with the news. However, it is also ripe with misinformation. With the growth of social media and tactics such as clickbait, a lot of what you read on the internet may not be 100% factual.
While some of the misinformation is easy to spot, others are much more difficult to identify. This means millions of people are potentially consuming misinformation daily, and taking it as fact. But thankfully, there are ways you can avoid misinformation and get the real scoop. Here are some tips to keep in mind the next time you are browsing the internet.
Do Your Own Research
The first way to avoid misinformation is to simply do your own research on the topic. A lot of people simply read a headline and take what it says as fact because they trust that the writer or journalist has done their research. Unfortunately, this isn’t always the case.
Your own research can take a little longer to find, but is not all that difficult. For example, reputable sites such as The American Leader are great sources of quality information to help you fully understand the issues and challenges being experienced around the country. Even a simple Google search and checking a few links can help you learn what is really going on.
Now, this doesn’t mean the first place you see information is always wrong, but it never hurts to check out other sources to make sure.
Look for Credentials and Bias
When you read information from an individual or account, one of the first things you should do is look at the credentials of the writer. With billions of people using social media, essentially everyone has a voice. While everyone has a right to post what they want, not everyone is as qualified to give in-depth opinions or share facts about certain topics.
For example, you are more likely to follow the medical advice of a doctor, rather than someone who does not have medical training. So if you don’t look at the person’s background or credentials, you could end up believing inaccurate information that is being spread by someone who is not qualified to speak on it.
In addition to credentials, you should also be on the lookout for any potential bias. Someone could be an expert or professional in their field, but inherent bias could lead them to publish information that helps them sway people to their side of the argument. The best information is the kind that comes from educated and unbiased sources. While sometimes a person’s biases are well-known, there are also unconscious biases that people may not even be aware of.
Ensure the Information or Data Is Current
In order to make sure you are absorbing the most accurate information possible, it needs to be current. If you are reading something from a week, a month or a year ago, it may no longer be accurate due to new information or data. Always look at the date of an article, tweet or another piece of media when reading it.
Also, many reputable news sources will automatically update when new information becomes available. So instead of simply looking at the headline and trusting it, be sure to actually click on the article and check the dates. This may take an extra click or two, but will prevent you from reading either deliberately incorrect information, or something that is simply outdated.
Making Sure You Get the Facts
While the internet is a wonderful tool for learning more about everything from the government to business, it is also full of information that may or may not be accurate. By doing your research, looking for credentials and potential biases, along with ensuring the information is current, you can give yourself the best chance of dodging misinformation and fake news.