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Fact Checking 101

This post applies Mike Caulfield’s strategies of web literacy to examine the reliability of web content, and is followed by reflections on web sources.

Upon choosing this article we have discovered that the original post has been deleted.
The original post first appeared on Instagram.

We discovered this post tracking the source of the main photo on the internet. We have chosen to follow Caulfield’s steps suggested on his website. The first step he suggested was pulling the textual information of the image and throwing it into Google image search. The first thing that popped up after the initial search were the images of the aforementioned billboard itself from several different angles. But just like Caulfield proposed we didn’t just focus on one link, but instead we looked further for information, and explored several different links. We have discovered that there are some similarities, but also a few differences in the links we searched.

As Caulfield suggested we took into consideration the article that had the earliest publication date which was e.g.).

Undeniable facts are that the billboard was stationed in Phoenix, to prove this fact, we have several links mentioning it, even the Phoenix New Times news outlet, which is the local news outlet of this city. Next we can confirm that the artist standing behind this peace is Karen Fiorito, which was also confirmed by all sources.

The first article was more straightforward, whereas the other one looked at the bigger picture. Thanks to the second article, we found out that the billboard just like the story, has two sides, the other side just like the other article being more colorful than the first.

As a conclusion to our research we can confirm the validity of the photo, this definitely was not the case of click bate or Photoshop, also we confirm the placement of said billboard. In addition to this we uncovered the bigger picture behind it all. And due to this story we were inspired to dig deeper to get to the bottom of it all.

Question 1: Why do we trust some sources more than others?

At first glance this question isn’t difficult to answer. But when you think about it more in depth you realize that you shouldn’t fully trust to any source without a little bit of doubt. To explain further that I don’t think that everything we read or see is false, but we just need to be careful not to get caught up in a web of lies. Sometimes something is unintentionally false, because the first source made a mistake that nobody noticed but took it for granted. There is not a 100% reliable source. My advice is to check a couple sources before believing that something is true. As an example I found this article.

It is a very delicate subject, and people should be more careful when they talk to their source, and should always check to make sure that the information they share with the readers and viewers are true. However, there are some sources that are lying to their readers and viewers of course not openly but they are still easily recognizable. I won’t point my finger at anyone, I will simply advice people to always triple check information and references and resources. Especially in a world of internet where anyone can post whatever they want and it can start to spread like a wildfire. As the saying goes “Once spoken, words can’t be taken back.” It is even worst when a person publishes it on the internet in a world of screenshots.

Question 2: How do we make sure we are not excluding valuable sources? What are the dangers of a diet of news from only one type of source?

Unfortunately, we can never be sure. But we should be free to search in more depth to find out if the source is valuable. And once we had found some proof that they are trustworthy we would be able to doubt them little less.

Some of the dangers of informing through only one source are that we forget to double check the information we get, we end up reading from a single point of view and we can even get bored. Just because we trust he source we are using to inform ourselves on the topic which interest us it doesn’t necessarily mean that it is true. If you stick to only one source you can get bored for example if you eat the same meal everyday it will become bland.

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