You probably already know that not everything you read on the internet is true, but how do you know what sources of information are credible, especially when it comes to COVID-19?
It's even more challenging to decide what is accurate and what isn't because of the rate at which information related to COVID is being released. That makes it even more important for us to be vigilant and careful with how we evaluate and use data. For any article that you read, take a moment to think about where the information, facts, and data is coming from.
Myth Busters: World Health Organization advice for the public
Misinformation Tracking Center: Identifies news & information sites in the US, UK, France, Italy, & Germany that have published materially false information about the coronavirus.
FactCheck.org on COVID-19: Fact-checking news stories and debunking false claims.
Coronavirus Rumor Control: Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) responses to rumors.
CoronaVirusFacts/DatosCoronaVirus Alliance Database: Gathers falsehoods about COVID-19 from more than 70 countries.
Sifting Through the Coronavirus Pandemic - Information hygiene for the Covid-19 infodemic: Using the SIFT model: Stop, Investigate the source, Find better coverage, and Trace claims, quotes and media to the original context.
Snopes on COVID-19: Fact-checking COVID-19 information on the internet.
When encountering a source on the internet, SIFT* it! This is known as lateral reading.
STOP Don't engage with the source until you've asked yourself if you know the author or the website. If you don't, more fact-checking is needed before you read or share the source. This is also where you should stop and think if you trust this source only because it reinforces a personal/community bias or perception.
INVESTIGATE THE SOURCE Knowing the expertise and the agenda of the source is vital in the decision to trust the information. Read laterally: get off the page you are on and look around the web to see what else is out there about this source. Wikipedia can be a great help here.
FIND BETTER COVERAGE Sometimes you can't determine the credibility of a source or you are less concerned about the source and are more interested in a specific claim the source has made. Go find another source (maybe one that you already know that you can trust) that is talking about this concept and investigate the claim from there. Make use of the Oxy Library databases to investigate research claims!
TRACE TO ORIGINAL CONTEXT Go upstream to the original source. An article, video, or post that you are viewing may have originally been reported by another source (reporting on a report). Find the original source of the report and determine if the version of what you are seeing is being accurately represented.
*SIFT method from Introduction to College Research by Walter D. Butler; Aloha Sargent; and Kelsey Smith is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License, except where otherwise noted.