Have you ever seen people sharing memes or other pictures that have obviously false information on them? It seems like every time I open my social media I see more and more misleading information being presented as fact.
In this period of time where technology is widespread, it is very easy for people to access or create information. One person could write something that gets shared over and over again until all of a sudden people on the other side of the world are reading it. It's great that the world is so connected, but it is also dangerous as it provides a way for false information to become widespread.
Many people assume that any text that is written over an image somewhere on the internet must be true. These people will thoughtlessly press "share" without checking for bias or accuracy, which creates many problems that ultimately lead to division and unrest.
How many times have you seen arguments happen in the comment section on Facebook? Now, imagine how much more scarce those situations would be if people took the time to back up their claims, cite their sources, and ensure that the information they are arguing about is, in fact, valid.
The number of social media companies that "fact-check" things posted on their sites before allowing people to view it is growing. This is a great way to ensure that the general public isn't being misled. However, if a social media site doesn't do this for you, there is a very easy way to do the "fact-checking" on your own.
If you are reading an article or other form of media and you are curious about the source's validity, a great place to start would be a site such as https://mediabiasfactcheck.com/. This site will allow you to check a source for political bias. This is important because when a source is politically-biased, it will often skew the information in order to fit its narrative.
Another thing you should be doing is checking statistics or facts against credible sources. These could include peer-reviewed journals, common-knowledge websites that are generally accepted as true and unbiased, or a website ending in ".gov".
It is important to take these steps to ensure a statement's validity before sharing a post or building an argument. Taking an extra few minutes to validate information is an important aspect of practicing good citizenship, and will make you, yourself more credible too.