July 11, 2013

Truth or Internet Rumor?

On many days I spend more time on the internet than I intended, and some of it is a waste! Unfortunately the freedom that everyone has to publish can result in all sorts of half-truths and untruths showing up on our screens. Often intelligent and educated people are fooled by these stories and may even repost them.  So please... before you repost something, check it out! Is it from a reputable source? Does it sound exaggerated? Are there obvious errors?

Some sites that specialize in checking out internet rumors include Snopes.comThatsNonsense.com, and urbanlegends.about.com. (Recently they've been busily debunking rumors about Facebook!)

Health stories can be difficult to verify. Here's where it's really important to look at the source. Some very professional-looking sites are produced by persons with little or no medical training. Check the About section of the site. I grew suspicious about a story on a natural health site when I spotted an error, checked the About Us link and learned that the main writer is a "coach." The other writers don't seem to have even that level of training! Another story on that site listed a source that sounded scholarly, but when I went to the source it said something quite different from the article. And yet respected people have reprinted the article without realizing it was untrue because it's ideas happened to back up their agenda.

In addition to checking the sources, look up unfamiliar names. I've found Wikipedia to be a great source for this. It's not infallible but it's rich in ideas. Also, I like WebMD as a health-related source and Medline Plus to look for medical research.

Do you have additional sources to recommend?


  1. You mentioned several of the ones I use... and I DO check, often.

  2. i often don't comment on folks' posts when they talk about current events or published findings for that very reason. sometimes they're just passing on someone else's opinion that may not be qualified to offer one. i feel unqualified most times. :)


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