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SIFT Information!: Start Here

SIFT Information Before Use.

Watch out for manipulation: It seems like everyone on the internet is trying to sell a thing or an idea. Does the story tug at your heart-strings?  Make you angry? Scared? Evoke strong emotions?  That is a good time to stop, sit, and SIFT.

S-Stop I-Investigate F-Find better if you can and T-Trace claims

STOP: Think. Follow the money: Who put up the money to get this content published? What are they risking if they give misinformation?  What are they trying to sell to you?  Who benefits if you act based on this opinion?
INVESTIGATE THE SOURCE: Do they know what they are talking about? How do you know?  What is their affiliation? Is this an informed opinion? Is it heavily biased? Look at the About Us page to find hints of bias.
FIND BETTER COVERAGE: Can you find a more authoritative source of information? Find and compare multiple sources that are not just repeating content. Look for consensus.
TRACE CLAIMS, QUOTES AND MEDIA TO THE ORIGINAL CONTEXT. If there is no citation or attribution, you can copy and paste significant text inside quotation marks and search the internet to find out where the content came from.  Was the version you saw accurately presented? 

Use "Lateral Reading"

Lateral Reading: 

Go beyond the source.  They say they are "right"or "the best".  Don't take their word for it.  Their bias is apt to be in their favor.
Check out the buzz: What do other sources say about the claim? Does your source have a good or bad reputation? 
Be skeptical of claims. Find the original source of the claim.  Find the references and see if they were correctly represented. 
Use fact-checking sites: Has the claim already been investigated by a reliable fact-checker?
Reverse image search: Find out where the images come from and whether they were correctly represented.  

Evaluate the original source of the claim:

Is original source prolific and popular? Then they have a reputation to risk, and would hopefully be more careful what they promote. BUT some influencers are highly biased and/or not concerned with accuracy. They may just be saying what their sponsors want to hear. 

Long-standing Domain History or Institution?  Check website domain with Domain Tools. How long has the website/institution been active?  Being around for years suggests a reputation to risk. BUT If a website has just been created, it may only be temporary, (scam and scram). 

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