Determining the reliability of online information.

One of the biggest challenges today is determining the “truth value” of the information that the we are bombarded with on Social Media and other news websites.

Before using information to support the evidence it is a vital step to determine the accuracy of the source of that has provided it.

This can be a tedious and time consuming process. The question is “How important is information on my beliefs?” Each person must decide if they trust sources. Often we hear information as rumors from our friends and allies that are scary or comforting that actually have no basis in fact at all.

One personal dramatic example: my step-father firmly believed that all computers were bad and all information on the internet was lies. His only supporting evidence of this was my sister who did a lot of genealogy by driving around looking in libraries and other sources to compile her description of the family. Once she began accessing other genealogists online she was told on a number of occasions that she had made erroneous connections within family trees. He cared for my sister and consequently in his mind those online were lying to pick on my sister.

Since her death I became interested in genealogy and did my own research, I received her written information on the immediate family, understanding her information was sometimes compiled from only one source, I became determined to only consider a family connection if I can find a minimum of 3 supporting legal documents. My work has been both frustrating and rewarding I have spent weeks pouring over hundreds of documents, family histories and existing family genealogies to confirm one family connection. I have confirmed with extensive research what connections have fundamental errors.

I began my education in computer programming in 1984. My education and work experience continued over the decades since then and I can see both good and bad in computers and the internet. If I only based my opinions on my step-dad’s “facts” I would not be the person I am today.

So how do I determine what I can trust and what I ought not? I begin by investigating the background and common practices about a source. The term “Fake News” is absolutely correct. It typically does not apply to mainstream long established media. A large number of the media outlets insist on fact checking articles prior to publishing it. While I have seen subtle and sometime obvious bias, I am able to determine for myself which information is “slant” and what conclusion I draw from that information.

There are a number of bloggers, reporting agencies and other information dispensing entities that delight in spreading information false information that has an abundance of information disproving proving that it is false.

How then do you figure it out? Fortunately there are also many sites devoted to confirming or exposing the of integrity of reporting sources. By doing a general search on a claim or topic will disclose a variety of information about that topic. A topic that has a consensus of direction generally contains a reasonable amount of truth. Pictures and videos can be modified so the one with a glaring difference should suggest some more research before trusting the evidence in question.

I did one post on a widely dispensed idea that the election votes were wrong and the election was “stolen” from the previous administration.

See the post

This article was written by Teri H

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