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Ask Yourself: Who, What, When, Where, Why?
News reporters aren't the only ones who need to ask these questions. They are good evaluative questions no matter who you are.
- Who is the author? Individual or organization
- What is his/her qualifications? Occupation, education, years of experience, something else
- Who does he/she work for?
- Is there contact information?
- What is the purpose of the content?
- Are there sources listed?
- Are there editors or fact checkers?
- Is it peer-reviewed or refereed?
- Are there grammar or spelling errors?
- When was it written or published?
- Do you need the information to be up to date?
- What has changed in your field since the publication date?
- For Websites look at:
- When was the site created?
- Is there a last updated date?
- Are there "dead" links?
- Where was it published?
- Have you heard of the publisher before?
- Does the publisher take responsibility for the content?
- Is it a peer-reviewed or refereed source?
- Was it self-published?
- Is it a stable site? Will it be there tomorrow?
- What does the place of publication tell you about the intended audience?
Why? Purpose & Point of View
- Why does the source exist?
- Is there a mission statement?
- Does it contain mostly opinions or facts?
- Is there bias in the information or opinions included?
- Is it selling? Promoting? Ranting?
- Is advertising clearly separated and marked?
- Is it trying to sway you to a particular point of view?
- Find another source to verify what you've found.
- Open up another browser tab
- Look for reviews of the site the information is on.
- Check for further information on the author
- Do they have a Linkedin Profile?
- Do they have a Google Scholar Profile?
- Check the directory of where they say they work to see if they are listed
- Have they written anything else or is this a one-time thing?
- Does anyplace else link to this information? A link to a site is often viewed as a recommendation of that site. Do a google link:URL search to find who links to the site.
These browser plug-ins will help alert you to fake news as you use the web.
Use with Chrome. Developed by students, this plugin looks at your Facebook feed and analyzes the authenticity.
InVid Verification Plugin
A plugin to debunk fake news and verify images and videos
Site developed by journalists to help consumers recognize when news is valid. Contains plugs in for Chrome, Firefox, Safari, and Edge browsers that designates validity of information.
Stop the Bullshit
Software that blocks spam sites.
SurfSafe Browser Extension
A Chrome extension to help you determine whether images have been doctored or not.
A Chrome plugin developed by Factmata. It indicates quality and bias using a stoplight.
How good are you at identifying fake news? Here's a game from the American University Game Lab. It presents an article, and you must determine if it's real or fake. It gives you an option to see the source before deciding. Ready to try?
Should You Share?
Play a game that tests your sense of whether information is legit and should be shared or questionable and should be skipped.