When it comes to significant issues such as elections or global emergencies such as the coronavirus pandemic, reports abound. Maintaining an overview and distinguishing serious from untrustworthy news can be difficult. If you find a message that is spreading completely new information that you have never heard of before, it is best to check whether other sites report it. Compare the information with what organizations such as Reuters or other trustworthy sources publish, and fact–check the information.
If you need an ally in your daily struggle with fake news and misinformation, there are resources and tools that can help. Professional journalists and media scholars worldwide are joining forces to expose disinformation campaigns, misinformation, and fake news. The Global Disinformation Index and First Draft are just two examples of such initiatives. But there are also user-friendly tools available to the general public.
NewsGuard is a browser extension that provides ratings for online news sources. Its growing database approximately 6,000 websites that account for 95% of online engagement with news. The ratings have been developed by professional journalists and take into account nine criteria centered around the credibility and transparency of the news source. The database is maintained and expanded by professional editors with journalistic expertise. It’s a simple and straightforward tool to check the trustworthiness of news sources. Once you install the browser extension, the rating icons and score will appear in search engines, next to the website link, and in social media feeds.
FakerFact is an AI text-analysis tool that can tell you what kind of text you are dealing with by analyzing its content. It classifies texts into six categories: journalism, wiki, opinion, sensational, agenda drive, and satire. Its purpose is not to tell you whether the information in the text is true or false, but to give you a better understanding of the intention behind the text. Walt, the AI behind FakerFact, has been trained with millions of texts across the web and can give you his opinion on any URL or text you want to check.
Lastly, as browsing online is inherently risky, you might want to consider protecting your device from cyberthreats. Avira Free Security can alert you when you visit a dangerous website, and it can protect you from all forms of malware, from phishing links to ransomware and trojans.