The internet is amazing. news, information, they spread like wildfire. The problem is that lies spread just as rapidly. And this is what makes me crazy. Hate, bigotry, ignorance, and fear are all fuelled by this stuff that either wasn’t true to begin with or is so outdated that it’s now moot. Fact checking isn’t hard. If you don’t have the hole minute it takes, thanking those who do it and hand you the truth on a silver platter? Even easier. Arguing or dismissing fact as opinion? That’s not okay. That makes me so frustrated.
But since so many of you have no idea how to check sources or think critically, here it is.
Google. Look at who else is telling the same story. Is there more than one source? Are there potential agendas for those sources? Are the sources pointing back to one source? Can you find anything on reliable fact checking sources like Snopes or Hoax Slayer? (there are other sites like these, comment below and let others know which ones you use!) For missing children it’s worth checking Amber Alert if the child is missing from the US, or find the local paper or police website for the area the child allegedly went missing from. This is a great way to find out if there is or was a missing child, if they’ve been found, etc.
Read all sources, no matter how reliable they’re considered, critically. Is the reporting balanced? Or is it emotive and one sided. Do they cite sources? Do they interview people involved? Look back, how old is the primary source? Is it being represented as new when it’s not? This is one of the biggest tricks, things crop up every year or so represented as new when they’re often sorely outdated.
Ask people if they’ve seen anything similar, ask them to show you where. Refer back to step two.