Watchworthy Wednesday: Check Facts With Crap Detection Resources

Want to know if someone plagiarizes a speech? Is the content on a website copied from another website? Do those song lyrics sound familiar? What about those statements? Have they been stolen from books, articles or other public documents? Has a photograph been manipulated?

Suspecting minds should check. And, DML Central’s most prolific and highly respected blogger Howard Rheingold shares a guide, listing more than 100 helpful websites he calls “crap detection resources.”

His constantly updated and curated list includes sites that can:

  • instantly verify whether a celebrity is dead or alive;
  • research statements made by politicians and rate their accuracy;
  • allow consumers to file, report and look up scams;
  • offer a user’s guide to finding and evaluating health information on the web;
  • detect forged and altered photos;
  • detect email hoaxes;
  • check the accuracy of historical facts;
  • verify facts and news online;
  • compare articles to a database of other articles and press releases to determine if it is original journalism; and
  • verify how many fake followers a Twitter account has.

Rheingold’s guide started as a chapter in his 2012 book, “Net Smart: How to Thrive Online.” Its objective, Rheingold notes, “is to improve the digital lives of individuals and to improve the quality of the online commons by increasing the number of people who know how to separate good info from bad information…. It is now up to the information seeker/user to decide whether the answers they receive are accurate, inaccurate, outright bogus, or deliberately misleading. ”

The guide is open to all and anyone can comment and offer other resources to add to the list. In addition to the guide, Rheingold offers this crap detection mini course on his website:

Editor’s note: Watchworthy Wednesday posts highlight interesting DML resources that appear in this blog every Wednesday. Any tips for future posts are welcome. Please comment below or send email to mcruz@hri.uci.edu.