How do we know what’s TRUE on the internet?



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How do we know what’s true on the internet, especially with political commentary? Truth on the web is important to us.
People forward explosive emails.  It ‘d be good if they were accurate, better yet – great, if we didn’t have to fact-check.

Couldn’t GOOGLE and MICROSOFT come up with an instant fact-checking validation method?  When we search, wouldn’t it be better if only the higher ranking info was factual and at the top of the pile?

I heard that SNOPES was a good fact checking site.  Then I noticed this:  Snopes CEO Gets Arrested on Charges of Corruption and Fraud. This article was all one big LIE!

Isn’t this a bit of irony for you. I was researching how to check for truthfulness on the internet. The most reliable source I come across has an article right up there in rankings that is baseless?

Can you imagine if this happened to you? Here’s another example of erroneous information that is inflammatory and incorrect.

At first, I thought maybe SNOPES was not the fact-finding source I was lead to believe.

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These conclusions would have been shocking – but only – if TRUE.

According to Dr. Rich Swier, “in August of 2015 the principals of SNOPES were taken into custody for these reported reasons: accepting money to promote rumors and downplay or ignore others.  Over the years, this has brought them millions of dollars, according to the source.”

They went on saying that the shock-waves will rock the world of media and the political establishment.”

I had a bad feeling – this didn’t sound like truth to me, was I back to square one?

So what does the impact of negative information play on our lives? We need to be able to search for answers and what about our impressionable teens?

Upon investigation, I noticed the original article came from this website – The People’s Cube.

On the front page, beside their logo, it says –  “We Cure Weak Liberalism with Strong Communism” –  WOW – good to know.  That’s a source I needed to research.

Fellowship of the Minds – confirmed for me that this was a pure falsehood.  I should have known right away, duh – no link to a news source.

Look here:  Rule #1 Be suspicious if a blog article doesn’t cite or embed a link to its news source.

IMG_1381WIKI on The People’s Cube  – take a quick peak.
Here’re are two related articles from Make Use Of – “Is It True?”

Again, SNOPES is listed, as one of the best fact-checking sites online.

Another good read from Make Use Of –  “The 5 Best Fact Checking Websites” – written in 2012.

I’ve also heard of PolitiFact and FactCheck.org – fact check.

The former Director of LazyTruth – now Matt, is the Director of Civic Media at Microsoft in NY.   He’s using LazyTruth data to develop software that exports knowledge for the fact.

Looks to me like Snopes, Factcheck, and Politifact, are the three best options.

Here’s another site for students doing research:  “Where to Research Material For Your Homework.”

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MasseyOnlineManagement reports:  “For the past 20 years this site (SNOPES) has been debunking urban legends, Internet rumors, email forwards and other stories of unknown or questionable origin. At times, it has received up to 300,000 visits a day!”

“Other sites which they say can help you check the facts, or if you need a bit of comic relief are:

truth or fiction
FactCheck
hoax busters.

The main takeaway from this article by MasseyOnlineManagment is that Snopes – is excellent.  I plan to use them from now on.  Here’s an article you must read from – GOOGLE itself, detailing ongoing research on fact-checking.  Google has developed technology to tell whether ‘facts’ on the internet are real.

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It would be terrific, wouldn’t it?

Furthermore, in the NEW SCIENTIST – “Google wants to rank websites based on facts, not links. The trustworthiness of a web page might make it rise in Google’s rankings if the search giant starts to measure quality by facts, not by links.”

GOOGLE currently uses a measurement of quality a given post, based on the number of link clicks.  In other words, if a ton of people clicks on a link, it rises in the rankings when you hit – search.

What does this mean?  Web sites, full of misinformation can rise in rankings if enough people link to them.  This isn’t the best system to determine rankings or validity!

It also says a GOOGLE research team, is working towards a system called – “Knowledge-Based Trust score.”   They report it will try to measure the – “trustworthiness of a page, rather than reputation or popularity across the web.”  This system is – not yet live – but they say we will be able to count the number of incorrect facts on a page.

They also say – “few false facts will be considered trustworthy, and each website is scored based on that data.”

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I guess that sounds comforting it’s better than the way things work right now! Google plans to tap into what they refer to as a –  Knowledge Vault,  a vast store of facts that they pull from the net.  They go on to explain; that website with – “contradictory information will be bumped down in rankings,” as a result.

Have you heard of these two apps that help people find the facts?
LazyTruth
Emergent

This chart from The Washington Post on the – “DISTRIBUTION of Websites.” is a good one.  It shows the distribution of accurate (right) and non-accurate (left) websites.  They had to be able to extract at least seven or more facts.

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According to Google; “There are a lot more accurate sites!”

Is this problem of wrong information, any different than on TV or in our newspapers? Journalism isn’t a perfect science.  People aren’t and things get misinterpreted, facts skewed, intentions missed, etc.  Even when the intention is for truth, the printed word, in any medium, can be fraught with errors.

In the old days, the printed word had credibility.  But who knows if it was more accurate?

Anyone can say anything and post it online, on Facebook, on Twitter and Instagram.  People, news journalists, commentators and major networks used to control reporting.  Now, we have virtual 24-7 access to commentary around the globe, but with no filters in place!

 It’s a surmounting challenge of finding the real truth on the internet.

Have a great fact-filled day.

Delta Dreaming

  • mackenzienellis

    Great post! I’m glad people are still out there trying to sort fact from fiction.