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Media Literacy & Misinformation: Tips & Tools

Why it Works

"When humans are angry and fearful, their critical thinking skills diminish," says Claire Wardle of FirstDraft. If a news story has provoked a strong reaction in you, stop and put your critical thinking skills to work! How to Know What to Trust from the News Literacy Project is an excellent guide to developing critical thinking skills. 

What is Bias?

Bias - A predisposition that distorts the ability to fairly weigh the evidence and prevents an individual from reaching a fair or accurate judgment. Center for News Literacy at Stony Brook

Use Fact-Checking Sites

Fact-Checking Websites

Global news agency that specializes in debunking misleading content from the Asia Pacific region.

Debunks email and social media hoaxes.

Nonpartisan international network organized by the Poynter Institute.

Detects and debunks trending fake news and hoaxes on known fake news sites and networks, prank generators and satirical websites.

Rates the accuracy of politicians' statements and claims.

Rates the accuracy of politicians' statements and claims.

"The definitive Internet reference source for urban legends, folklore, myths, rumors, and misinformation."

Debunks propaganda, disinformation and misinformation on social media.

Adapted from:  Colby-Sawyer College Library

 

Image Check

Approach photos with the same skepticism you'd use on text. Here are some tools that can help determine an image's original source or whether it has been edited or manipulated:

Findexif.com

 

    

   

Choose Your News

How to Beat Confirmation Bias in 5 Steps

Source: Countable

Fact Check

Five quick ways to double-check online information

  1. If a story is too good to be true, it probably is. False and misleading stories spread like wildfire because lies can be more appealing than the truth.
  2. Use reverse image search to verify pictures. Real photographs that have not been edited at all can get reshared to fit a new narrative and spread misinformation. There are several reverse image search tools including Google Reverse Image Search. To begin, go to images.google.com, click the camera icon, and either paste in the URL for an onine image, upload an image from your hard drive, or drag an image from another window. Click here and scroll down for more image search tools.
  3. Use thumbnail images to verify videos. You can take several thumbnail images from any video and use reverse image search to check whether it's been posted online before. (Use Amnesty International's new extraction tool.)
  4. Not all research is created equal. Always check with official sources (click here for some suggestions.) Just because something has a chart or a table doesn't mean it's true.
  5. Use geolocation to double-check places. Good observation skills and oniine searching can quickly check the location of a photo or video. Click here for more information; get started here.

Source: First Draft News

Quick Reference Guide

The AllSides Bias Scale

Use the AllSides Bias Scale to view the site's rating for the political leanings of a media source. You can even weigh in with your own opinion of a source's bias rating, which is then incorporated into its patented rating system.

Rate Your Bias

New from all AllSides is the Rate Your Own Bias tool, which encourages users to explore their own biases. Click the graphic below to get started!

Facts Matter

"Everyone is entitled to their own opinions, but they are not entitled to their own facts."

- Sen. Daniel P. Moynihan

Information is not Equal

Information Sources to Avoid

The following types of information resources may be legitimate but they should not be mistaken for impartial news sources:

Opinion pieces/editorials are written by journalists or experts.

Parody/satire sites like The Onion and Borowitz Report are only intended to entertain.

Native advertising or "sponsored content" – The purpose of this content is to sell, and it's mostly found online. See some examples here.

Press releases are public relations pieces issued directly from a company or organization.

Publications by advocacy organizations or think tanks:  organizations like The Sierra Club, Moveon.org or the National Rifle Association produce useful materials but they also represent a particular point of view.

Adapted from: University of California Berkeley Library

 

Browse With Care

Browser extensions and apps

Ad-blocking extensions and apps block financial gain from "fake news" purveyors and help you avoid having your online usage tracked. Use them as you browse or when investigating suspicious sources.

   AdBlockPlus

Site-sourcing extensions and apps that are mapped to lists of known "problem" sites can help identify suspicious content. They can be added to browsers to identify sites of legitimate news outlets as you browse.

 

Faker Fact

SurfSafe