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Media Literacy Guide: Social Media

Determining what is fake news is necessary and can be difficult. This research guide's purpose is to explain steps for finding the facts, how to use one's judgment and give examples for clarification.

Social Media - What is it?

"If you are not paying for the product, then you are the product"

~ Quote from the Netflix Documentary "The Social Dilemma" (2020)

Use the following links to understand what is meant by 'social media' and its impact on society.

  • Social Media from Wikipedia (article cannot be altered)
  • Social Media - Topic Page from Credo Online Reference (access requires a SVC logon & password)

Connection between Social Media and News

The following links are to articles and websites that discuss the connection between social media and fake news, false news, and alternative facts.

Tracking Social Media

News, stories, hoaxes spread like wildfire through social media.  The following sources are intended to show what is on social media and how to determine it's spread and reliability.

Books in the Library

Regulating Content on Social Media

How are social media users influenced by platform when creating content, and does this influence determine whether or not they comply with copyright laws? These are pressing questions in today's internet age, and Regulating Content on Social Media answers them by analyzing social media use from a copyright perspective. The first book to look at how social media platforms affect users' compliance with copyright laws, Regulating Content on Social Media is a timely addition to the current media landscape.  

War in 140 Characters

A leading foreign correspondent looks at how social media has transformed the modern battlefield, and how wars are fought Modern warfare is a war of narratives, where bullets are fired both physically and virtually. Whether you are a president or a terrorist, if you don't understand how to deploy the power of social media effectively you may win the odd battle but you will lose a twenty-first century war. Here, journalist David Patrikarakos draws on unprecedented access to key players to provide a new narrative for modern warfare.

SIFT method for evaluating information in a digital world

Check Your Feed with SIFT (the four moves - Stop, Investigate, Find, Trace)


  • Take a breath, check your reaction, pause, re-evaluate.
  • Ask yourself if you are certain the information is true.
  • Don't re-post, use, or share until you verify. 


  • Look at the source. Who created the information?
  • Look into who is behind the post and think about why they might post that information.
  • Try looking on a fact-checking site, Wikipedia, or Google for the name, company, organization, story, or publisher. 
  • Learn about the expertise, education, and/or the agenda of the producer of the information.

two hands holding a shield with a check mark in it FIND BETTER COVERAGE:

  • If checking the source brings you to a questionable place, try looking in some other sources for similar information.
  • Look beyond the first few results.
  • Check in at least 3 different places.
  • If the information shows up in several reliable places, it is likely to be accurate.


  • Trace the content back to the original source.
  • Check the full context of the information -- was something left out or not included? 
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