The internet is one of the first places that many people turn to when they are looking for information about their health, but the difficulty of telling good health advice from poor is a challenge for all of us.
Thinking critically about the information we are seeing is not always easy, especially if our search for this information is driven by emotion. Specifically, emotions such as anxiety, uncertainty or worry; feelings we have all experienced over the last eighteen months, whether for our own health or for the wellbeing of others.
When news headlines and social media posts use this fear to their advantage and flash click-bait messages at you to draw you in, how can you tell if what you’re looking at is sound health advice, unbiased and accurate, or misinformation and myth?
There are tools we can use that help us to evaluate the health information that we find, so before you press Share, Like or Forward, have a look at these websites:
- Fact checking – do it yourself.
- BBC reality check co.uk/news/reality_check
- Channel 4 fact check com/news/factcheck
- Full Fact is an independent, nonpartisan team of independent fact checkers. Website org and various resources below:
- Check out misleading/false claims on social media around COVID-19: org/health/coronavirus
- Guidance on how to fact-check claims around COVID-19: org/health/how-to-fact-check-coronavirus
- If you have WhatsApp, chat with Full Fact direct to check out claims: org/blog/2020/sep/full-fact-whatsapp-uk
- International Fact Checking Network’s database of fact checks on COVID-19 from around the world: org/ifcn-covid-19-misinformation
- Sense about Science is an independent charity that champions the public interest in sound science: org
- The charity’sAsk for Evidence tool offers guidance to allow you to check a claim yourself: org/index
- Social media and apps to fight misinformation.
- Facebook tips to spot false news: com/help/188118808357379
- How to check if an image you have seen on social media is real – three quick ways to verify images on a smartphone: org/2018/02/27/3-quick-ways-verify-images-smartphone
- Instagram reducing the spread of false information: instagram.com/1735798276553028