Social media is an incredible resource for learning the latest news and rumors. Unfortunately, just because something is trending on Facebook or Twitter doesn't make it true. And when we share inaccurate stories, we further obfuscate the truth.
Below are three basic criteria that will help you determine what is fact, what is fiction and what lies somewhere in between.
3. Consider the source
Is this information coming from a reputable news source? If you are unfamiliar with the source, don't trust or share the article until you have verified this information with a trusted source.
Don't share anything based on a headline or picture alone. Read the article before passing it on. If the author is only quoting random rumors on Twitter, then it's just a rumor.
The same goes for infographics. Just because someone put text over a map or a picture of a politician, doesn't make their claims or quotes any more accurate.
2. Check the date
Most news content has an expiration date. If this article is more than 24 hours old, do a bit more research before sharing.
When sharing videos, check the upload date of the YouTube content. A three year old video cannot possibly portray yesterday's events.
1. Google it
Perform a Google Image Search on that image before sharing. If CNN used that image last year, it couldn't possibly depict today's tragedy.
If you suspect a story is untrue, search Google News for corroborating news from trusted sources. If no reputable sources are confirming this story, it's likely too fantastic to be true or possibly too fresh a story to be confirmed.