Tech Tips: 5 resources for spotting misinformation

By John Gargiulo, Supervising Librarian of Creative Technology

In today’s media landscape, it can be challenging to sort through the constant flow of information and evaluate the accuracy of news articles and social media posts. The fast pace, sensational headlines, and frequent layout changes of social media can make it challenging to assess what you are reading.

These 5 resources can help you develop techniques and tools to evaluate sources and spot misinformation. 

1. CRAAP Test: For academic research & writing

Librarians at the California State University, Chico developed a set of criteria for evaluating sources of information known as the “CRAAP Test.” CRAAP is an acronym for Currency, Relevancy, Authority, Accuracy, and Purpose. Considering these five criteria as you evaluate an article, web page, or video can help you determine if a source is credible.

2. SIFT Method: For scrolling through news sources & articles on social media

Mike Caulfield, director of blended and networked learning at Washington State University Vancouver, developed this approach to evaluate sources of information quickly. SIFT is an acronym for Stop, Investigate the source, Find better coverage, and Trace claims, quotes, and media to the original context.

3. Politifact: For reviewing statements by journalists, politicians & other public figures

Politifact grades statements on its “Truth-o-Meter” scale, with ratings ranging from True, Mostly True, Half True, Mostly False, False, to Pants on Fire.

4. For reviewing the accuracy of statements by U.S. politicians’s mission is to serve as a “nonpartisan, nonprofit ‘consumer advocate’ for voters that aims to reduce the level of deception and confusion in U.S. politics.” While the scope is more limited than Politifact, it still may be a helpful resource and could be used in tandem with other fact-checking websites.

5. Snopes: One of the internet’s most long-standing fact-checking resources

Snopes reviews a wide variety of information circulating on the internet and social media. The scope of topics on Snopes is wider than Politifact and, with topics including politics, entertainment, and viral social media posts.

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About John

John is a member of the library’s digital learning team and recent graduate of the University of Illinois MS in Library and Information Science program. He enjoys working with patrons to discover how we can demystify technology and shape it to help us with our different needs. He is also a musician and loves making noise.