Credit: © Nevit Dilman, Wiki Creative Commons

Five ways to verify your feeds

With so much information flooding our news feeds, it can be difficult to discern which stories are true from which were fabricated to get your attention. Make sure to employ the following tips the next time you click on an eye-catching story to determine if it’s trustworthy.

  1. Check out the author, publisher or producer. If the person who uploaded the story, video or photograph is someone who frequently posts about similar topics, then you’re probably in good shape. If it’s a random person who has never had a major social media presence before, this may be a warning sign of something fishy.
  2. Look at other sources. Have you seen this information somewhere else? If it’s a news event, check out if other news organizations have written a story about. If it’s a video or photograph of some anomaly, see if anyone else from that area is talking about it and verifying it. When something extraordinary is happening, it’s rare for only one source to be reporting about it or claiming to have an exclusive.
  3. Look at the creator’s sources. Is the information the creator is spreading coming from reliable places or is it not verifiable anywhere else? Be wary of stories, photos or videos that rely on only one source or portray only one side. The more places they cite, the more likely it is to be truthful.
  4. Get a second opinion. Are other people you trust also trusting, sharing and spreading the post? If so, ask them why they think it is or isn’t reliable. Two heads are better than one.
  5. Use your common sense. If the content doesn’t seem plausible, it probably isn’t, and if it seems too edited, it probably is. Although plenty of unexpected things occur in real, if things just aren’t adding up or seems too unlikely, you may want to be weary of its validity.