We hear heralds of doom spouting about fake news left and right these days, whether on the internet or on TV. The President even tweets about it (or tweets it, depending on your personal stance!)
Perhaps the most frequent place we encounter it is social media. Especially on Twitter and Facebook, it’s superbly simple to glance at something and share it a second later. So how do you distinguish what is true? Even more importantly, how can you, just a humble Crestviewian, combat the dissemination of fake news?
As a librarian, it’s my sacred duty to make sure I help people sift through the sludge and find answers. I am hardly qualified as a social media expert, but I do know a thing or two about tools to help locate quality information.
One fantastic tool to truth-check a post or email is to look it up on www.snopes.com. Snopes has been around since the mid-90’s, and is widely regarded as one of the best fact-checkers available. Trust me, you didn’t actually get emailed by a Nigerian prince in need of some wired cash.
To round out options for general fact-checking, similar sites include www.hoax-slayer.com and www.truthorfiction.com.
Likewise, if it’s politically charged news, you may want to use the Pulitzer-winning www.politifact.com. Politifact uses a meter to distinguish what is true, a half-truth, and false. Factchecker.org is another resource freely available to assess your political readings. Using both can help sieve various biases.
It’s hard not to be lured in by fear-mongering social media posts; however, with a few searches, you can help be a crusader for quality information. Oh, and you won’t have to worry any more about being cursed for 15 years if you don’t immediately forward a post to everyone and their mother.
Emily Knie is the Crestview Public Library's adult services librarian.