Today, we may be in the state of lockdown and abiding the physical distancing protocol. Still, we can freely interact within the World Wide Web socially. The vast online world where pieces of information are exchanged by one another with no concerns about geographical landscape and distance. However, as it was in the real world, there was an ongoing pandemic in online communities, especially in social media.
Following 2020 analytics about social media demographics, Sprout Social found out that 18-24 years old occupied the user base of social media sites such as Facebook, Twitter, etc. based on age range. It indicates that teenagers are a prime consumer of the information online. Today, students are welcome to explore online because of the implementation of a new mode of learning. For that, they are a perfect target of sites providing biased, non-credible, and false information. Guess what? Those kinds of sources disseminate faster, and it sounds more intriguing enough for anyone to believe.
Luckily, you don’t need to wear a mask or give the internet a “social distancing” treatment to avoid such information. I can provide the details to be wary of when surfing the web. Of course, with all my efforts to make this article credible and truthful to its sources and subject.
How to evaluate the credibility of the source?
Examine the author’s backgrounds and affiliation
Be wary of who’s responsible for providing the information in an article by finding if there’s an author for it. It is crucial to display the author’s profile on the site. It can usually be found at the bottom or the top of the website. Once you find it, know the author’s background. These include his past published works or his credentials (achievements or personal quality, which makes them suitable for something).
The author must cite sources correctly.
In scientific and medical subjects, it is essential to find studies that can prove your hypothesis. Doing so, it is common knowledge that an author must put citations on their articles when creating factual information. Suppose you see no cite sources, especially in the mentioned subjects, or if vaguely addressed by “recent studies show” or “A study stated that,” start to doubt the information. It is the kind of article with a poorly researched approach and made with only assumptions from the perspective of the writer alone.
Mind the reviews and feedbacks
In books, reviews are commonly found on the first page once you open it. It contains several acclamations for the author provided by professional reviewers. In online sites, there are comment sections available to express their opinion about the article. The received reviews reflect the writer’s performance and the view of a broader audience. If the comment section is not present, look for the author’s profile instead.
Know if the website is secured
If the website is not safe, its information is exposed and can be accessed by cybercriminals. To know if it’s safe, look for the “S” in HTTPS at the beginning of an URL. It promotes security provided by the SSL certificate, which protects information as it crosses from the site to servers. As an effect, the site is more legitimate, and the contents in it are away from being tampered.
Know the credible news sources to follow
Choose to prefer well-known news sources instead of gathering opinions of people from social media. It is because they enforce a strict policy to handle the information legitimately. The news came from primary sources provided by their reporter who travels across the nation to interview people and experience the situation firsthand. They also display dates of their articles when it is published or updated. Examples of news websites to follow are:
- The Manila Times
- GMA News Online
- CNN Philippines
Look for the contact information of the author
It is a must to provide that kind of detail for any inquiries regarding his works. Failure to do so shows the author for not being transparent and open to his readers.
Beware of the objective viewpoint in an article
An authentic article is subjective on a taken subject. It values both sides and brings out each message they wanted to convey into the spotlight. Evaluate if the reports are biased on its delivery. An objective standpoint only provides limited coverage of the whole picture, and it could produce false assumptions as an effect.
How to identify if the article or information is biased?
An article that provides trustworthy news is meant to inform its readers. It opens all the sides of the story to widen the perspective it may give to the reader. In contrary to that, a biased article is meant to persuade people into their opinion. Instead of letting the reader see the whole picture, it crops them into its desired ratio. Though it may have parts of credible information mixed in it, nitpicking details to sync with the particular viewpoint is its nature.
As a netizen, we are responsible for our actions across the internet. In that sense, we should avoid sharing information heedlessly online. Today, we are relying on the internet as a necessity to keep updates and live trends happening in the world. So we must know what sources we should trust to avoid misconceptions and false beliefs. Failure to do so will only brings panic and paranoia to the masses. Be skeptical in the times where assumptions and baseless statements are around in the world of online.