With the internet serving as the information highway of today, there is so much to learn and little time to really research it. This comes into the next step, and perhaps the most vital: fact checking. With all this information available, we have to be skeptical about what we believe at face value and what we delve deeper into to either debunk or reinforce. With major news outlets across the world in competition with smaller publications and figures who offer first hand accounts of events, information about what is happening, what has happened and what will happen is abundant. Staying curious is a key to staying youthful, however, all this information isn’t as trustworthy as we’d imagine. When we further understand that the media is tied to industry and there’s no such thing as a truly objective story, then we can understand that we should be able to take what we can from news stories. If we consider information platforms on a spectrum, let’s look at it from most reliable to least reliable.
First is Wikipedia, which in school was and is never looked at as a fully reliable source. In actuality, it’s more reliable than you can imagine. Even though it’s edited by a community of peers, there are still needs to cite facts and articles. With the citation part at the bottom of each Wikipedia article, there are ways to justify the information on different platforms as well. Even trying to vandalize a popular page on Wikipedia will get you locked out of your account.
Secondly is Google. The snippet anecdote that comes up when you ask for a quick answer to a question has fallen under scrutiny as of recent because of how the information is drummed up. Most of the snippets come up based on algorithms built inside of Google. The ways the computer chooses which pages come up to may not always give proper justice to the vast majority of information out there in the world.
Lastly is YouTube, the least regulated amongst the three. Because this is a true user-run site, based on any content that isn’t completely offensive, this allows for freedom of speech, which is a mixed bag. Fact checking text on Google and Wikipedia is a bit easier given that they’re text based. But checking each and every video is impossible to do, and so it isn’t done.
With these three, there are thousands of other ways to get information online. Running your information through as many funnels as possible is the best option when it comes to getting a clearer picture of everything. If you come across any info that seems untrustworthy, or you’re unaware of it before your search, the more thorough your refinement the better.