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Evaluating Social Media Information

This guide will provide tips on identifying disinformation on social media platforms.


SIFT: Stop, Investigate, Find better coverage, Trace quotes


  • Do I know the website or source of information?
  • What is the reputation of the website?
  • What is my purpose? Is it to repost, read, or research a story?


  • Do we know the expertise and agenda of the source of the story?
  • Do we know what the information is trying to say?

Find better coverage

  • Is the claim in the article true or false?
  • Does the information represent a consensus viewpoint?
  • How does other more trusted more in-depth, and more varied coverage interpret this claim?

Trace quotes

  • Can we trace the original claim, quote, or media back to the original source?
  • Has the information been taken out of context?
  • Has the video been edited or the caption misleading?


Use search engines such as to find information to verify or disprove social media posts. is a privacy-centered search engine that you can use to find search results.

Why not Google?

Google may display biased results depending on where you are, your previous searches, and who links to those results.


Wikipedia can also be used to determine the background of news sites, writers, and organizations.

Spotting Bots

  • Check the bio of the account
  • Check posting history
  • Look at the username
New York Times - Who's a Bot? Who's Not?

City Tech library

City Tech Library

  • Ask a librarian if a source is legitimate.
  • An orientation tool to evaluate information.