Let's Talk Fact Checking

Let's Talk Fact Checking

Why it's important to understand both if something is true, and why it matters.
188
views

I was recently visiting with my grandmother who, thanks to a generous Christmas present, now has an iPad and has become fascinated with the internet. My grandfather, too, recently joined the Information Age, and both of them are getting very much used to navigating this new world. One of the dangers of the internet, which they are slowly beginning to learn, is that all information is out there for the taking, and not all of it is necessarily true. I realized this when, for the fifth time in under three months, my grandmother expressed concern about another everyday household product that Facebook (in all likelihood a secondary site, but she doesn't know the difference) told her would cause cancer. This is, I think, one of the most popular, tired, and mildly extreme examples of the kind of information that can spread easily through social media and the internet in general which, when gone unchecked, can cause unnecessary panic.

Now I know most people who would read this article aren't in her demographic, and for the most part any of my readers are going to think, "well, I know that. I'm not stupid." That's fair, I know you're not, but we can all get caught up in a story, we all let our guards down sometimes, and we take in information without thinking to question it. Not everyone is built to form an argument every time a fact is stated; that would exhaust just about anyone. The trickiest bit is when you're told something on the internet, and it's true; the sources check out, you can find it reiterated, you trust the author, everything seems clear. Even then, though, you need to be careful because, you see, the information can be true but still lacking in the proper context.

My sister, for example, has recently taken to playing Pokemon GO. Shortly after its release, a few media outlets caught on to the clause in their privacy policy which, when read verbatim, can seem terrifying. Writers brought this section to the attention of their readers, and posed questions about the potential risks of offering up quite as much information as you are by playing the game. For those who aren't familiar with this story, the cliffnotes version is that essentially any information connected to the game or your Google account is information that you sign away access to the company Niantic, and Niantic reserves the right to share that information with law enforcement and government agencies as they see fit. Now this can seem pretty scary, and not just because the company is being given a huge amount of oversight with your personal information, but because if they're tracking that information it means that, should the company be hacked, the information is free for the taking. Now, this can seem frightening, and it should. Your private information is an important thing to protect: a lot of Pokemon GO players immediately changed their accounts so that they weren't tied to a Gmail at all, hoping to keep some of their information safer. However, what the articles discussing this privacy agreement don't tend to point out is that all of that information is already out there, and it's already under the control of Google, your Phone Provider, and a number of other companies (not to mention easily accessed via a number of other applications and services). I don't mean to scare you further, I am just looking to put this particular story in a broader perspective. Your new favorite game might be a risk, having a cellphone or using dryer sheets might be dangerous, but realistically, most of the time, these risks are insignificant issues blown out of proportion.

So, all I'm saying is, be careful out there. When you read something, check it, check it again, and really think about what that information can mean for you. You don't have to assume everything on the internet is false, but don't just stop at FactChecker and be content: really take control over your thoughts on every subject. It'll make you feel safer, and more secure in the Information Age.

Cover Image Credit: Kaboom Pics

Popular Right Now

30 Things I'd Rather Be Than 'Pretty'

Because "pretty" is so overrated.
43063
views

Nowadays, we put so much emphasis on our looks. We focus so much on the outside that we forget to really focus on what matters. I was inspired by a list that I found online of "Things I Would Rather Be Called Instead Of Pretty," so I made my own version. Here is a list of things that I would rather be than "pretty."

1. Captivating

I want one glance at me to completely steal your breath away.

2. Magnetic

I want people to feel drawn to me. I want something to be different about me that people recognize at first glance.

3. Raw

I want to be real. Vulnerable. Completely, genuinely myself.

4. Intoxicating

..and I want you addicted.

5. Humble

I want to recognize my abilities, but not be boastful or proud.

6. Exemplary

I want to stand out.

7. Loyal

I want to pride myself on sticking out the storm.

8. Fascinating

I want you to be hanging on every word I say.

9. Empathetic

I want to be able to feel your pain, so that I can help you heal.

10. Vivacious

I want to be the life of the party.

11. Reckless

I want to be crazy. Thrilling. Unpredictable. I want to keep you guessing, keep your heart pounding, and your blood rushing.

12. Philanthropic

I want to give.

13. Philosophical

I want to ask the tough questions that get you thinking about the purpose of our beating hearts.

14. Loving

When my name is spoken, I want my tenderness to come to mind.

15. Quaintrelle

I want my passion to ooze out of me.

16. Belesprit

I want to be quick. Witty. Always on my toes.

17. Conscientious

I want to always be thinking of others.

18. Passionate

...and I want people to know what my passions are.

19. Alluring

I want to be a woman who draws people in.

20. Kind

Simply put, I want to be pleasant and kind.

21. Selcouth

Even if you've known me your whole life, I want strange, yet marvelous. Rare and wondrous.

22. Pierian

From the way I move to the way I speak, I want to be poetic.

23. Esoteric

Do not mistake this. I do not want to be misunderstood. But rather I'd like to keep my circle small and close. I don't want to be an average, everyday person.

24. Authentic

I don't want anyone to ever question whether I am being genuine or telling the truth.

25. Novaturient

..about my own life. I never want to settle for good enough. Instead I always want to seek to make a positive change.

26. Observant

I want to take all of life in.

27. Peart

I want to be honestly in good spirits at all times.

28. Romantic

Sure, I want to be a little old school in this sense.

29. Elysian

I want to give you the same feeling that you get in paradise.

30. Curious

And I never want to stop searching for answers.
Cover Image Credit: Favim

Related Content

Connect with a generation
of new voices.

We are students, thinkers, influencers, and communities sharing our ideas with the world. Join our platform to create and discover content that actually matters to you.

Learn more Start Creating

Social Media Is A Trivial Part Of Our Lives Because It Makes Us Addicted To Unimportant Matters

As someone who was told to this under an incentive, this experience gave me an understanding about an addiction that I had.

30
views

Recently I took it upon myself to go on a social media cleanse, and from this I learned more about self control and who I am when I left social media. During this time period I began to see how my life would have been if I lived in an earlier time period or if I didn't have my phone. I took it upon myself to leave social media for a period of five days. I knew these five days would be hard as I would be more and more tempted, but I went cold turkey and only kept iMessage as my connection to others. I knew that if I kept anything else, I would continue to be tempted to go ahead and click the re-download button.

My family and I were able to communicate better as I had convinced them to do the challenge with me. The first two days were hard as we all continued to click on the empty location where Snapchat, Instagram, Facebook, Twitter or whatever used to be. However, toward the end of the week, we all began to be happier without these social media in our phones. My family and I were able to talk about issues and current events that were happening in the world without having biased opinions that social media might bring.

This entire experience helped me realize that my opinions can be shaped without those on social media. I read more news about events happening around us. I was especially intrigued about the Superbowl that was coming up and what were the rumors and opinions surrounding the game. This helped me look at news in a new perspective and helped me realize there is more than just the glance at my phone.

In relation to my friends, for the first couple days, I felt extremely out of touch with them. I felt like I was missing out on important information or "tea" as my friend would refer to it as. I was especially worried about my Snapchat streaks and what would happen to them in my absence. However, by the end of the week, my entire mentality had changed for the better. I began to understand how trivial such stuff like Snapchat streaks were. My friendships were not defined by factors such as how long our streak was' it was more about how we felt about each other and how close we were.

Events that were covered on social media also began to have a negative effect for me as I would begin to see the dogmatic view that came with such a personal thing like media. I began to see that I was only seeing what I wanted to see and had to explore my boundaries to learn more about the world around us. As the week ended, I noticed that my screen time on my phone had gone down by 75 percent and that I was sleeping close to an hour earlier than usual.

These statistics shocked me as I realized how bad my addiction had gotten. While I did re-downloaded the apps, I noticed that I am not dependent on them as I was eight days ago.

At the end of this whole experience, I can say that I felt like a person coming out of rehab. I felt a lot better as a I realized that I wasn't constantly checking my phone every five seconds to check for that latest Snapchat or twitter update. This experience helped change me into the better person I am, even though this challenge only lasted for a short period of time.

Related Content

Facebook Comments