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How To Spot Misinformation And Prevent It From Spreading

Times of crisis and uncertainty seem to amplify the extent and reach of unchecked and fabricated information. People want answers and crave comfort, so they latch onto whatever they can find, despite clues warning them it simply isn’t true.

It’s impossible to process all the information that’s coming in 24/7. Nonetheless, you should fact-check anything from unknown or unproven sources. But what’s the best way to fact-check? What sites and tools are available? Here are a few tips to help you.

When it comes to health matters, sites like the CDC or WHO are inherently trustworthy. However, just because someone says, “According to the CDC…” doesn’t mean that’s true. Without a link, you’re back to someone talking about what someone else supposedly said.

Mainstream media sites like The New York Times, Washington Post and Wall Street Journal are generally reliable sources. Of course, it’s important to understand the difference between biased and factual reporting. Most media sites are biased to the political left or right. A site can be biased, but still rank very high for factual reporting. A good website for gaining insight into media bias and factual-reporting levels is mediabiasfactcheck.com.

Next, there are dedicated fact-checking sites. Snopes (snopes.com) is the site most people think of when it comes to debunking internet myths and legends. It’s super simple to use. FactCheck.org (U.S. based) and FullFact.org (U.K. based) are also two excellent sites for quick fact-checking.

Finally, there’s good old-fashioned common sense. Wild claims for success (e.g. this test proves there is no fibrosis in the lungs) or absolutes (e.g. all viruses hate heat) are clues that what you’re reading may not be factual. Life isn’t black-and-white, but shades of grey.

It’s easy to get sucked into the information stream of the internet. You can’t fact-check everything you read online. But you can make sure everything gets a sanity check. Look at the dates of the source material and do some basic fact-checking before believing or sharing unsubstantiated online information.

While no one can foresee the continued impact of the corona virus on the real estate market, you don’t have to feel entirely in the dark. As your local real estate professional, I am committed to the health and safety of your community and pleased to keep you abreast of the changing situation and help you navigate the challenges. If you’re thinking of buying or selling during this turbulent period, or if I can provide any type of information or assistance, don’t hesitate to give me a call. Stay healthy.

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