Fake news and fake websites, and the controversy around the debate, are causing Google & Facebook to consider filtering / vetting every post and or sites information. A herculean task if ever there was one. As a librarian I can say that no one has ever been 100% successful in doing this. Libraries have many sources on their shelves that have been proven false over time. Some are kept on purpose to show the history of a given subject for the “what people used to think” type research, and others are kept because no one has discovered that the facts contained inside are wrong. So I applaud any company (or individual) that attempts to tackle this problem, but I also think that we consumers of information need to know how to spot the fact from the fake too. To that end I’m going to link you over to a fellow librarians presentation on that exact topic. Jessamyn West is a noted advocate for libraries and filling in the digital divide, and her presentation “Is this CRAAP? How to evaluate internet sources” is a great guide and starting place for those unfamiliar with spotting all the signs that the site you are reading is fake and or biased.
That said some of the quick tips from your school days still help.
- Is this a trusted news source or not.
- Is this a reputable author or an unqualified individuals opinion.
- Does this person have any bias (or an ax to grind) toward the topic
If your unsure about any answers to the above three questions you’d better do a bit of research to answer them before you start believing it…or worse quoting and spreading the information around.
Smokey the bear always said it’s up to you to prevent forest fires…well as a librarian I can say that fake news & fake websites are the forest fire of the internet and we the readers can help put it out.