Fake News, Misinformation, Disinformation: Finding the Truth

SIFT method

SIFT method


  • When you first hit a page and start to read it — STOP.
  • Ask yourself whether you know and trust the website or source of the information. If you don't, use the other moves to get a sense of what you're looking at. Don't read it or share it until you know what it is.

Investigate the Source

  • Know what you're reading before you read it. What is the expertise and agenda of the source?

Find trusted coverage 

  • Does the article represent a consensus viewpoint? Is it is the subject of much disagreement? Ignore the source that reached you and look for other trusted reporting or analysis on the claim.
  • Scan multiple sources to see what the consensus seems to be. 

Trace claims, quotes and media back to the original context

  • Trace the claim, quote, or media back to the source, so you can see it in its original context and get a sense if the version you saw was accurately presented.
  • A lot of things you find on the internet have been stripped of context. Maybe there's a video of a fight between two people. But what happened before that? Who started it? What was clipped out of the video and what stayed in? Maybe there's a picture that seems real but the caption is dubious at best. Maybe a claim is made about a new medical treatment supposedly based on a research paper — but you're not certain if the paper supports it.

It's about REcontextualizing

  • Investigate the source. Who the speaker or publisher is. What's their expertise? What's their agenda? What's their record of fairness or accuracy? 
  • When evidence is presented with a certain frame — whether a quote or a video or a scientific finding — sometimes it helps to reconstruct the original context in which the photo was taken or research claim made. It can look quite different in context!

Introducing SIFT (notion.so)

Lateral Reading

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