The internet is a great tool. It gives everyone the ability to create content and share online. This allows people knowledgeable in a subject to easily share their knowledge with the masses, or even just allows someone to share their opinion regarding a subject with everyone. The downsides are anyone can create content that is misleading, click-bait, or a hoax.
We have quickly gone from the days where you hear “Don’t believe everything you read on the internet” to your social media feed being filled with click-bait misinformation that your conspiracy theory loving auntie keeps sharing.
Fortunately there are ways to check the facts of a link before you click share on social media.
Facebook and Twitter have both released tools on their social media platforms to help prevent the spread of misinformation. Automated tools aren’t always perfect so the onus is on you to check the validity of an article before blindly sharing. One of Twitters tools will show a message, warning that you haven’t click the article to read it and are retweeting based only of the clickbait title alone. These tools aren’t perfect – do your research before sharing.
Snopes is a fact-checking website that was started in 1994 as Urban Legends Reference Pages. It has since become one of the most recognised fact checking websites when it comes to misinformation being shared online. Snopes allows you to do a search of their site for keywords so you can easily verify information before sharing.
Google fact check allows you to perform a Google Search via fact checking websites. This gives you a quick summary of what is claimed to be true, and a true or false answer. You can then use this information to decide on whether or not to share the information. There are many more fact checking websites which can be viewed on Wikipedia.
Before you blindly click share on the next click-bait article, please take the time to read it and research the facts in the article. This will make the internet a better and more informative place.