How to...

How to determine the credibility of information

2019-03-18 12:40 #0 by: Niklas

We all receive information from multiple sources daily. Savvity is one. Blogs, newspapers, social media, radio and TV are others. Unfortunately, not everything you read, hear and see is accurate or true. How do you know when information is credible and when it isn't? Below are six questions you can ask to determine information credibility.

1. What?

What type of information is this? Personal views or facts? Are there any named sources that corroborates the statements?

2. When?

How old is this information? Is it still relevant? When was it last edited or updated?

3. Where?

Where was the information published? On a private blog, as a post on social media, on a company website, or a media website? If it was a media website, does it have a publisher? A media website with a publisher has higher credibility than one without a publisher.

Can you find the information through other sources? Be careful with information that comes from a single source.

4. How?

How did you receive this information? Did it come from a source that is reliable and that has delivered corroborated information before?

5. Who?

Who is behind the information? A government agency, an organization, a corporation, or a scientist? Can you find the original source?

6. Why?

Why is this information available? Does someone want to spread their own opinion or knowledge, start a debate or entertain? Does someone want to make money by for instance having you follow an ad link? Who benefits if you forward this information? Think of how the message may have been phrased to change your thinking and acting.

Other advice

There seldom are easy solutions to complex problems. Those who offer simple solutions should be scrutinized extra carefully.

If informations seem “to good to be true”, it often is.

Think before you share. Many trusts their friends. If you share something that isn't true on social media, you not only spread false information, you have also given it credibility with your friends just because you are you.

This text is a translation from the MSB, Swedish Civil Contingencies Agency, website.

» Msb.se - 6 tips när du bedömer information

(Photo by Sam Wheeler at Unsplash)

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2019-03-18 13:33 #1 by: Emo

Innocent

My website: American version
Min hemsida: Svensk version

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2019-03-18 20:02 #2 by: Leia

This is so important, and something I think should be stressed in schools. 

When working with children and young people I have noticed a few times that one will repeat something they've read on Facebook (for instance, a celebrity has died or something similar) when I know it isn't true to and I've told them they should always check their sources.

Rumours come up online and it doesn't take long for them to blow up and go global now, and this can have serious implications if it isn't true.

Critical thinking is a key skill people should be learning. 

All the best, Leia

Host of  Gluten-Free Living | News  | English Language Heart

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2019-03-19 11:56 #3 by: Niklas

My strategy is a bit reverse from the advice in #0. Instead of scrutinizing everything and every sender, I pick out sources that I trust and use them as my main information channels. There are many media companies that take pride in being accurate and thorough in their reporting.

Facebook and Twitter are not among them. They benefit more from information that is outrageous and false.

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