True or false: how to check the accuracy of information on the Internet
Today, the Internet offers its users the opportunity to find answers to any questions they are interested in. It is enough just to set the appropriate search query in the browser to get a selection of sites on a given topic. But as practice shows, often the information presented on certain resources can differ radically. So how do you get reliable data? How to understand how competent a resource is in front of you and whether it is worth trusting? How to distinguish truth from lies, scientific data proven in practice from myths, to understand where are the facts and where are just opinions? To find out the answers to these questions, you need to evaluate the source of information, the date the material was posted, the content and a number of other points.
In this review, we will focus on how to check the accuracy of information on the Internet. Consider the tools that will help you achieve your goal. Let's tell you how to ensure maximum Internet security.
Why is it important to pay attention to checking the accuracy of information on the Internet?
Information — it is quite a valuable resource today. With the right knowledge, you can effectively carry out your daily work, have some influence on the opinion of the audience, replenish your own knowledge, and more. But we have already said that the data obtained from the Internet is far from always reliable and reliable. Moreover, in some cases they cannot even be called objective. So why is the network actively spreading unreliable, and sometimes deliberately false information? Here are some of the most common reasons:
- the use of dubious sources of information by the author, the lack of additional verification, comparison with other resources;
- intentional distortion of data for the purpose of propaganda, additional profit, manipulation of the audience;
- competence of resource owners: there is no comprehensive study of the material before they are posted on the site;
- distortion of data in order to increase the uniqueness of the placed material;
- having your own point of view, which differs from the opinion of the majority of the audience, your own interpretation of the proposed material.
But, regardless of what exactly caused the placement of false information on the network, the person who consumes it exposes himself to additional risks. So, you can take speculation and reasoning for facts, fall under the influence of false beliefs, while missing out on really important and useful information for yourself. You also risk damaging your own reputation, losing the trust of your target audience and business partners. Often in practice there are cases when a person throws away money for useless, and in some cases even harmful products or services, simply by believing a beautiful description.
In order not to get into an unpleasant situation and avoid all sorts of risks, it is important to check the accuracy of information on the Internet. There are many tools and resources for this. It is also important to develop your own critical thinking, to know what points you should pay special attention to.
Sequence of actions for checking the accuracy of information on the Internet
To make sure that the information provided on a particular Internet resource is reliable and can be trusted, you must evaluate it comprehensively. Here it is important to pay attention to the following points:
- Overall rating of the source of information.
- The overall rating of the contributing author.
- Determining the publication date.
- Getting to know the content of the details.
- Comparison of data from one resource with materials presented on other sources.
So that you understand how to implement all this in practice, let's look at all these points in more detail.
Performing a general assessment of the source of information
Under the term "Source of information" we mean the site, blog, channel, or any other resource where you found information that matches your needs. To evaluate how reliable it is, you need to pay attention to a number of key points:
- Domain name. This is the part of the resource's URL, placed after its title. Relevant information will tell you who the owner of the resource is and what goals it has. For example, .gov (government) domains are often owned by government organizations, .mil (military) — military services, .edu (education) — educational institution, .org (organization) — non-profit companies. We note right away that the system does not always control domain names. Therefore, you should not rely on them 100%. Additional attention should be paid to other aspects.
- Text content. Here it is important to pay attention to the block "About the company", "Contacts", as well as to the main page of the site. So you can understand who is behind the creation of this site, what goal it sets for itself. If information about the owners of the company, his photo, contact details is initially provided, then this will indicate the transparency of their activities, which in itself will be a confirmation of reliability and competence.
- Design and graphic content. If the site owner wants to deliver a product that is really useful for the audience, he will pay attention even to such trifles as color combinations, fonts, pictures, etc. He will not spare money for a good designer and as a result will get a really beautiful and high-quality site that will be easy to use for users. If you see an outdated resource, with unreadable data, overloaded with advertising blocks, then there is a high probability that the site is not being paid attention, it is not developing, which means that the reliability of the information posted on it is very doubtful.
- Reviews. It would be useful to study what other users write about in a particular resource. The information contained in the reviews will help you make a more or less reliable picture on the site. If other people use it, if their number is constantly increasing, if the vast majority of them speak positively about the goods or services they receive, then such a resource can be trusted. Reviews can be searched not only on the site itself, but also in social networks, forums, online encyclopedias, as well as specialized services, such as Web of Trust, FactCheck.org.
Assessing the author of the article
Under the concept of "Author of information" we mean a single person or a company that created the material and publishes it on the site. In order to assess their reliability, you need to pay attention to the following points:
- Name. See what the author calls himself. If the full name is indicated, then this will already indicate his openness and honesty. Using a pseudonym will indicate a desire to hide information about yourself. In turn, this may also indicate the author's dishonesty.
- Qualification. Pay attention to how logically and professionally the material is presented. You also need to understand what the goal is for a person. This will determine its objectivity.
- Style. The abundance of complex terms, ornate phrases, complex construction of sentences — this is what many believe should indicate the professionalism of the author. But this is far from true. Professionalism and really knowledge of your business will be displayed in a simple and logical presentation of the material. Everything should be presented in such a way that a person who is far from the subject understands what is at stake.
Pay attention to the publication date of the material
When thinking about how to check the accuracy of information on the Internet, pay attention also to when this material was created and when it was last updated. There are several aspects that need to be taken into account and the theme itself:
- If we are talking about a topic that is being actively discussed at a given moment in time, is developing, on which new materials are constantly appearing, events are taking place that make fundamental changes in the opinion of the majority, then the material posted long ago is already losing its relevance and there is a high probability that it will be invalid.
- If we are talking about static information that has been accumulated over the years, has been proven through repeated analysis and verification of events, then a newer publication may not be as reliable as an older one.
Assessing the content of the information itself
Under "Information Content" we mean everything that is presented in text or multimedia content. In this case, to check the accuracy of information on the Internet, you need to pay attention to the following points:
- Facts. This includes everything that can be proven by measurements, documentation, observations and other reliable sources. Based on the fact, one can understand how reliable information is presented on the Internet, in particular on a particular site. The presence in the material of numbers, graphs, quotes, links — this is what indicates its accuracy and facticity.
- Emotions. This is all that can cause a response in a person. It must be understood that the impact on a person's emotions often indicates a desire to manipulate him. But here it is very important to pay attention to what message the material carries. If it is accompanied by logic, reason, reason, then this will indicate that the author is trying to appeal to your intellect. This is especially true when it is necessary to convey complex information.
- Opinions. Here we are talking about the expression of the author's personal attitude to the subject, his own view. Unfortunately, it is impossible to say that such information is reliable. But here it is important to take into account the competence of the author. If he is really an expert in a given subject, then his opinion can be trusted and taken as fact.
Comparing material with third-party sources
In order to plunge into the given topic as deeply as possible, it is important to study different points of view, different options for interpreting the same type of information. So you can determine the generally accepted opinion, which can rightly be attributed to reliable. So, if the data provided on the site is confirmed or supplemented by third-party sources, then this automatically adds weight to the information. In turn, the presence of inconsistency — this is often a sign of falsity.
Tools that will help you learn reliable information about the site
To check the accuracy of the information, you can use the following tools:
- Google Search. Today Google – it is the most popular search engine in the world. Every day, millions of users find the information they need here. You just need to enter the URL of the relevant site in the address bar to find out as much useful information about it as possible, including reviews from real users. You can also additionally use special search operators, which will either expand or, conversely, narrow the area for data selection. So, using the site operator, you can immediately exclude information from a particular resource. Operators inurl, filetype, intitle, etc. are used to select data by other parameters.
- Google News. This is a special news service from Google that allows you to find information on a given topic. Here, in order to find out the relevant data, you also need to enter its name or URL in the search bar. Additionally, sorting by date, language, region, source type is provided here. If you are constantly interested in some topic, you can subscribe to certain topics. In this case, as soon as new publications appear, the system will send you a notification.
- Google Scholar. Another service from the Google search engine, which works exclusively in the field of scientific information. Here you can find materials on absolutely any subject. As in the other options described above, here you need to specify the name of the site or its URL in the search bar, set additional filters, including the field of science, type of document, date of publication. Thanks to this, you will be able to get acquainted with the citation of this source by other authors, their reviews.
- About this result. This is an additional Google Search option, using which you can find out more reliable information about this resource directly from the search results. That is, you just need to click on the "About this result" option to see a brief description of this resource directly from the online encyclopedia or similar other sites. It will also provide information about when the system indexed this resource for the first time. Older statistics sites provide more reliable information. But we want to draw your attention to the fact that this option from Google Search is presented exclusively in English.
- Google Images. This is a special service, using which you can choose an image for any of your requests. Using it, you will be able to compare the graphic content available on your site and on other resources. If the material is repeated, cited, it is highly likely that it will be sufficiently reliable. Using the "Image Search" option, you can find other pictures on a given topic.
- Social networks. This moment will be especially relevant when evaluating the author. It would be useful to find his profile on a social network in order to check whether he publishes materials on the topics posted on the site on his pages. It is also worth evaluating how he interacts with his followers. Depending on the subject, you can choose different social networks: Linkedin, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, etc.
- Google Translate. This is an online translator, using which you can translate text content into different languages. Using this service, you can check the veracity of information presented in one language with sources given in another language. You can also use the "Detect language" option to find out what language a particular text is written in.
- Google books. Another service from the Google search engine, where you can find books on any subject and, accordingly, the most reliable information.
As you can see, checking the reliability and validity of the information provided on the Internet — The task is not as simple as it might seem at first glance. But it is enough to analyze several sites in order to gain those skills that will allow you to determine facts and identify materials containing false information without outside help and wasting time.
In any case, the entire process of establishing the reliability of materials involves the most comprehensive approach. It is necessary to analyze both domestic and foreign sites, use a variety of services. All this will not always be available to you. We must not forget about the restrictions established in a particular country at the legislative level, various blockings. Mobile proxies, in particular from the MobileProxy.Space service, will help you get around all this and ensure the most stable and functional work on the network. Follow the link https://mobileproxy.space/en/user.html?buyproxy to learn more about the features and purpose of this product , current rates. And also you have the opportunity to take advantage of a free 2-hour testing. Any technical issues are resolved by support service specialists at any time convenient for you. We also offer to evaluate the work of the tool «Proxy manager».