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.
What type of information is this? Personal views or facts? Are there any named sources that corroborates the statements?
How old is this information? Is it still relevant? When was it last edited or updated?
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.
How did you receive this information? Did it come from a source that is reliable and that has delivered corroborated information before?
Who is behind the information? A government agency, an organization, a corporation, or a scientist? Can you find the original source?
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.
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.
(Photo by Sam Wheeler at Unsplash)