Social Media & The News: How Do We Know What Is True?

Anytime you venture out into the World Wide Web, it can be tough to determine what and who you can believe.  Is Kim Jong-Un the sexiest man alive? Was a photo of a tourist recovered from the rubble of the World Trade center after 9-11?

Watch this TED Talk by Markham Nolan on how to separate fact and fiction online.

Having looked at these examples and watched this talk, what advice would you give to someone who needs to know how to you separate fact from fiction, online or in “real life”?


14 thoughts on “Social Media & The News: How Do We Know What Is True?

  1. dear miss Vance,
    I have learnt that you must always ask questions and research the theme and product.

    • Hi Heliecio,

      I think that asking questions is definitely the first place to start. I also agree that researching the ideas and the money behind any article/photo/news source is essential. Sometimes outside influences are not as obvious as our examples today.

      Thanks for your response,
      Ms. Katy

  2. Hi Miss Katy,
    After watching the ted talk and both the situations I’ve realized that you need at least two real specific things to identify a hoax from a true resource; Those are to check the author’s credibility, if they were sort of “famous” and how much people believe her/him and to pay attention to little details because if it ends up being a hoax it’s more probable that the author forgot to hide the smallest of things.

    José Ruano

    • Good Morning Jose,

      I agree with you: if you start with the author’s credibility and then move to identifying and checking the little details in any piece of information (photo, news article, online resource) you can build your research on top of that. To me, the author’s credibility is always the place to start, whether that is a company or an individual.

      Thank you for your response,
      Ms. Katy

  3. Hi Ms Katy,
    In order to distinguish facts from fiction ,I would first look into the author for example if a video was made by a non accredited or someone with a suspicious name would be enough to doubt the source. Another would be to look at other things posted by the author this way i could evaluate what type of news or information this person is all about.Sometimes it can be even quicker small details in a photo can reveal if the information is fiction.

    • Hi Nayole,

      Thank you for your response. Your thoughts here and in class today demonstrate that you have a real nose for sniffing out fakes. Whenever you are unsure (and even when you’re not) it’s a good idea to look into the author and figure out if they are reliable.

      Thanks again,
      Ms. Katy

  4. hello miss Vance
    I saw the video , and I got amazed, for now on I dont know if anything that I see is real or not, since technology is increasing , the real journalism in my opinion is dying or transforming this journalism sport into another thing. I would advise them to search and to make sure about their source of news , specially from a trustworthy source, because everything that seems real it is not wich makes it very difficult to decide

    • Hi Andre,

      Well, you certainly sound worried! Rest assured, fake news reports and altered representations of events have always existed in journalism; the only thing that has changed is the method of delivery. On a more positive side, you can use social media to help decide whether or not your sources of information are reliable. Stay vigilant and skeptical and you’ll do fine.

      Thank you for your response,
      Ms. Katy

  5. Hello,
    What i would do to prove that a video/picture is not true is that i would search for more pictures of the same thing that is occurring so that i can see if there are other things that are the same but real then i could do a comparison and that could tell me if it is fake or real.

    • Hi Masego,

      That is an excellent way to approach it. Like the example shown to us in Mr. Nolan’s TED talk, by comparing it against other photos, such as ones found on Google Maps or Flickr, you can use the power of the crowd to validate your information.

      Thanks for your response,
      Ms. Katy

  6. Hi Ms. Katy,

    in order to show weather it is fact or fiction i would take a close look at the picture first. If i am still not sure if its true or not i would research more on the topic, for example with the 9:11 flight, i would find answers to see the temperature of the day as well as the details of the plane. i would also try to find out when it was taken and if it matches the day.

    Jade Catalo

    • Hi Jade,

      Taking a closer look at any piece of information (article, online resource, or photograph) is always a great place to start. Then you can identify details to lead you down your research path. I especially like that you’re checking the details on when it was taken and using it’s date information to validate its authenticity.

      Thank you for your response,
      Ms. Katy

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