Post by Ada
Librarian, Information Services
In these uncertain times, it’s easy to feel overwhelmed by constant updates about COVID-19, especially when it feels like there’s a lot of contradictory information. Now, more than ever, it’s important to make sure what we’re reading is accurate.
We probably all have that one Facebook friend or neighbour who shares questionable information. But how do we really know what information to trust?
That’s what this blog post is all about. Follow these steps to help separate fact from fiction:
1. Find reliable sources
The first place we should look for accurate information is through verified, legitimate channels such as government websites and scientific organizations. A few great places to start are websites from the Region of Waterloo, the Ontario Ministry of Health, the Government of Canada, the World Health Organization and Johns Hopkins Coronavirus Resource Centre.
And of course, ask us! Staff at Kitchener Public Library are experienced and trained to help you find accurate information. That means you can ask us anything, and we will use our resources and skills to find you an answer! You can email us at email@example.com or send us a message through Facebook.
2. Stop and think
When you hear or read something new, take a moment to think. Does it seem real or possible? Pause before sharing something or passing it on to someone else. Investigate further if you need to.
3. Check the source
Check where this information came from. Who wrote it? Who said it? What kind of experience or credentials do they have? Is it from a news source you trust? When was it written or first shared? Something from 2011 might not be relevant to what’s happening now.
4. Read past the headline
Headlines are designed to grab your attention, but sometimes they may exaggerate or mislead. Is the headline surprising? Read further to better understand what is going on.
5. Be cautious of emotional stories
These are the stories that often get shared quickly and widely because they appeal to our emotions. Even if a story is compelling, take a moment to think about how the information that is being shared. Is it accurate? Can it be verified? This is a time when people are anxious and desperate to find answers, so pay attention to what might be drawing people to the story.
6. Filter the flow of information
Consider checking your trusted sources a limited number of times each day. Take control of what content you consume and how much you’re consuming. This practice can also help your mental health!
7. Use resources to verify
Use myth-busting websites to see if a particular piece of information has been vetted or debunked. Snopes, a fact-checking website, has a page devoted to Fact-Checking COVID-19, and the World Health Organization has a list of Myth-Busters for the public too. You can also try these sites: Facts Canada, Politifact, or SciCheck.
We hope these resources will help you find the right information during this difficult and confusing time. For further reading, try these websites:
- Fake News? (The Learning Portal)
- Fighting Fake News in the Pandemic (ALA)
- How Do I Spot Fake News? (University of Toronto),
- How to Spot Fake News (Canada’s National Observer).
We have also created the infographics below as a handy reminder to help you spot fake news. Please feel free to save and share them!
Keep safe, healthy and informed.