The keys to verifying information
In a globalized world with considerable access to communication tools, almost anyone can create and distribute information with a simple click. Information content is not always produced by experts or journalists, and is not always checked in advance. Sometimes deliberately, sometimes through ignorance, the fact is that we receive unchecked information that could be false. And we really need to be on our guard: simply focusing on certain aspects of the content or the person behind the information and their intention in publishing can help separate the wheat from the chaff.
Here we list a number of the keys to verifying any text you might receive:
The first step so as not to be taken in is always to be suspicious. It is not a question of cynically interrogating everything, but being critical and not believing everything you see without first applying common sense and knowledge.
2. Read things carefully
We always go too fast when we consume information, and such an approach makes it easier to be hoodwinked. It’s important to stop for a moment and read carefully. Is there anything odd about it? A number of particularly striking features could raise suspicion: too many spelling mistakes, and out-of-date time stamp, etc.
3. Track down lies with the PANTERA method
Lies often go unnoticed online. They may be discreet, know where to hide, but you can track them down by becoming a real disinformation predator. When browsing, you can use the PANTERA method (infographic in Spanish).
And if disinformation still keeps you awake at night, you can always count sheep. This is the First Draft method.
If you feel trapped by lies, escape! A drastic solution proposed by Newseum.
4. Use your tools
Google can help you find out if anyone else is discussing the topic, and check who and which media outlet is publishing the information. You can also check if others are echoing the information, and turn to fact-checkers such as Maldito Bulo, Newtral, EFE Verifica, Verificat, AFP Factual, as well as many others. If the information reaches you via social media, we also show you what you should focus on in particular for verification purposes.
5. Break the chain
It is very important to act responsibly and not to use WhatsApp, social media or any other platform to share any suspicious or false information. And if you come across someone doing, warn them, and show them how you checked it. Do not spread lies virally, but instead knowledge about digital fact-checking.