Whether you’re looking at product reviews, articles on social media, or having a conversation with friends, it can be difficult to tell which information is accurate and which is not. Here are some tips to help you identify trustworthy information and find out if what you’re reading or hearing is legitimate.
Sharing (responsibly) is caring
The Internet has given us access to a bounty of information right at our fingertips and we share information faster than ever before through things like email, social media, and texts. It is more important than ever to be skeptical and think critically before you believe or share something that may not be true.
Tips to help you identify trustworthy information
Check in with yourself.
Try to look at the information from a neutral and logical standpoint, instead of from an emotional one. Consider doing some research on personal biases and become aware of your own subjective views that impact your perception of information.
Take your time.
Do not let sensational headlines, personal anecdotes, or images tell the story for you. Assess the information thoroughly and do your own research before making up your mind about it.
Be skeptical and use your critical thinking skills.
Evaluate the content. Consider what biases might exist. Is it a one-sided opinion or an evidence-based fact? In general, a credible source is an unbiased reference backed up by real facts.
Look at the source.
Is the information coming from a reputable source? Is the information current or outdated? Not all sources of information are created equal. Consider if the information is coming from someone that has the knowledge or appropriate authority to speak on the topic.
Do some research.
Is there legitimate evidence or a strong reason to believe the information is accurate? Do other credible sources back up what you’re hearing or reading? Use Google to find out if the information has been fact-checked or debunked by legitimate sources. If you’re still not sure, have a conversation with someone you trust who is knowledgeable on the topic.
Help stop the spread of misinformation
The spread of misinformation can be a big problem, especially when it’s about important topics. Be a part of the solution by using trustworthy information to make decisions and form opinions. Be cautious, read or listen with care, and when you do share information with others, ensure it’s from evidence-based and reputable sources.
Did we miss anything? What tips do you have when it comes to identifying trustworthy information?
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About Consumer Protection BC
We are responsible for regulating specific industries and certain consumer transactions in British Columbia. If your concern is captured under the laws we enforce, we will use the tools at our disposal to assist you. If we can’t help you directly, we will be happy to provide you with as much information as possible. Depending on your concern, another organization may be the ones to speak to; other times, court or legal assistance may be the best option. Explore our website at www.consumerprotectionbc.ca.