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Spotting Misinformation - Maple Woods


Have you read something on the Internet? Before taking it at face value, stop to think. Are you sure it's true?

This guide's resources will help you think critically about the information you encounter. You'll learn what to watch out for, where to go, and what to think about when deciding if a headline is too good to be true or if a picture is really worth a thousand words. You can also use the tools shared in this guide to help you decide whether a claim, image, or site is reliable. 

To learn one way to start thinking about online information, scroll down to look at the Move Up and Sideways graphic (or the text description). For more strategies to evaluate information, check the Approaches and Mindsets tab. If you're interested in tools to help you do something specific, like identify a photograph or fact check a claim, visit the Tips and Tools tab. 

And of course, if you're ever unsure, contact a librarian! You can get in touch with us using the methods listed in the Need help? box on every page.

Move Up and Sideways - Graphic

Spotting misinformation graphic. Description in box below image.

Move Up and Sideways - Text

Spotting Online Misinformation
MCC-Maple Woods Library

Move Up  

Go as far back as you can to find the original source of the information.  

  • Is the source describing the results of a study? Find the original study.  
  • Does the article refer to an earlier article? Read that one.  
  • Does the site link to a source for their information? Click the links.  Did the first source you found misinterpret or misrepresent anything? 
Move Sideways  
Catch Hoaxes  
  • What do fact-checkers like the ones listed elsewhere on this guide have to say?  
Search for the Topic  
  • Is anyone else talking about this?  
  • Have there been any corrections or new developments since your source was posted?  
  • Are there more sides to the story or details that were left out?  
Research the Source  
  • Does the website or author have a bad reputation?  
  • Are they a satire or conspiracy site?