On May 9, registered voters will troop to voting precincts to choose our next leaders. From now until election day, more and more election-related issues are flooding our social media accounts. Not all information shared to us is true. Fake news, hoaxes and stories that have morphed into news far-removed from what happened originally are being shared and passed on in chat groups.

It’s a struggle to discern news and information that reaches us through social media. So what’s the solution? We can consider Mike Caufield’s SIFT method as we read news feeds and chat shares.

The SIFT method is composed of 4 moves: (1) Stop; (2) Investigate; (3) Find; and (4) Trace.

  • When you come across news or information through a post or a share, stop. Take a moment to ask yourself if you can trust the source of the news and get a sense of its truthfulness before reading or sharing it.
  • If you feel the need to find out more about it, investigate the source. For example, is the post’s website trustworthy? It’s good to know the expertise and agenda of the source so you can get a feel of whether it’s worth your time to read the post or share it.
  • A lot of times, it’s not about the video or post but more about what it’s claiming. And you want to know if the claim is true or false. Now is the time to find trusted coverage/sources. Click the Search button and look for more trusted and more in-depth news about the topic.
  • What we read online and gets shared to us on social media is often stripped of context. We don’t get to see the whole picture, the full event that transpired, the complete study on which a post is based. There is therefore a need to trace claims, quotes and media back to the original source so we can see the original context. This will help us discern if the version shared with us or the post we saw is accurate.

Before hitting that Share button, posting a comment or making a reaction, let’s SIFT through and help keep “fake news” out of our chat groups and news feeds.

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