06 November 2020

SIFT is a quick, four-step method to check the reliability of information

2:00 Min

How can you spot false claims, influence campaigns and conspiracy theories in the news? SIFT is designed for online news, but it can also be applied to the traditional media.

STOP: If something you read or see triggers a strong emotion in you, such as surprise, anger, or sadness, take a pause. Fake news posts often aim to elicit a strong emotional reaction in order to override your critical thinking.

INVESTIGATE THE SOURCE: Unfamiliar with the publication or writer in question? A quick online search can help you to uncover their reliability. If you can’t find anything at all about them, then that should be a warning sign.

FIND BETTER COVERAGE: In addition to the source, check the claim by checking if other news outlets are also reporting it, and compare them. If something is important, multiple outlets will pick it up. Dramatic claims that you can’t find elsewhere are suspicious.

TRACE CLAIMS, QUOTES, AND MEDIA: Some of the most insidious misinformation simply takes the truth out of context. Click on source links you find in online articles or paste an emotive quote or sound bite into a search engine to look for the fuller quote or video – you might discover new, relevant context information.