This is the first article in a series that will eventually form CFIC’s critical thinking online library. We would like our readership to contribute. Do you have a go-to tool for fact checking? Share it with us. We may use it in Critical Links and on our website. And if we do, we will send you a CFIC button.
Photos provide great fodder for fake news. How do you avoid being duped by a skillfully (or not so skillfully) manipulated photo? Digital Trends offers the following advice.
- Does it seem plausible?
- Is everything in the photo consistent? If there’s a fire … is there also smoke?
- Check the edges of objects by zooming in on them. Sharp or jagged edges are a sign of photo editing.
- Is the lighting consistent throughout the photo?
- Poor quality photos may be a sign that someone is trying to hide something.
- Is it overly sensational? The sudden and almost irresistible urge to share something is possibly the best indicator that you should hesitate.
- Use a third-party fact-checker like Snopes to verify the story.
- Compare metadata.
- Use a reverse image search (resources to follow) to see whether this is a manipulation of another published photograph.
Here are some websites for reverse image searches:
- images.google.com (select the camera icon in the tool bar)
Critical thinkers and media consumers have an obligation to verify information before sharing or repeating it. The Internet has provided an excellent forum for people who set out to deceive by sharing disinformation, and this is compounded by people who unwittingly share that information. However, it also provides an amazing plethora of tools to fight misinformation.
Over the next year, CFIC will be sharing information about those tools. We would like your input. Please send us the name of tools you use to establish the reliability of information. If you’d like to include more information, such as how or why you found it or what information you were able to prove or disprove using it, you can add this information and we may share it in an upcoming edition of Critical Links. Or just send us a URL and we will look after the research. We look forward to hearing from you.