Students who have been obliged to stay at home and look for information have faced a new challenge in recent days. How to find reliable information on the Internet without the help and support of their teachers? The web is full of all sorts of material on every imaginable subject. The difficulty is to find, select, use and share the most reliable information. One has to know how to distinguish grains from chaff - a true fable.

FactBar EDU has modified the fact-checker methods for schoolchildren to use information checklists for information retrieval and evaluation.  It is crucial to critically assess the sources of information. Necessary questions regarding source awareness and criticism:

  • When has the information been published? Is it still up to date?      
  • What viewpoint does the source represent (journalist, researcher, policymaker, a public authority. financer, lobbyist, political leaning? )
  • How did you find a choose your source? Did you use several search engines and compared the results against each other to avoid bias?
  • What is the purpose for which the information was created in the first place? 
  • Is the source of an original document or information passed on by an intermediary?
  • If it is about statistics, who has made them?
  • Check that the source mentions its own sources. Their validity must also be checked.
  • Check the links work. If the website seems suspicious, the owner of the domain name can be checked from e.g. WHOIS- service (

In addition to the correct information, social media has a lot of confusing information and deliberately spread false information. Indeed, the English term ‘fake news’ is widely used to speak of false news or alternative truth. Unfortunately, it is not a very precise term. Therefore, it is recommended to use mis, dis and malinformation terms.

The misleading information which emerges related to fact-checking can be divided into three different categories:

  1. Misinformation - defective information or ‘mistakes’,
  2. Disinformation - deceptive information or ‘hoaxes’, and
  3. Malinformation - damaging information or ‘gossip’.

Misinformation refers to unintentionally incorrect communication. The writers do not know that they said something wrong or wrong. Misrepresentation is purely by mistake or negligence, without willful intent or attempt to cause harm. Such claims are often based on misconceptions and the people who spread them usually attempt to correct their statements upon discovering them false. For example, newspapers and magazines often make corrections and refinements.

Disinformation means intentionally misleading and misleading communications with the purpose of causing harm or harm to a person, community, group of people or government. It is produced in full awareness of its inaccuracy. For example, the production and distribution of ‘f*ke news’ could easily be categorised as disinformation. The purpose of disinformation is often to fuel uncertainty and undue mistrust of reliable news or official sources. 

There are many motives for conveying disinformation. False click-bite news drives curious clicks to drive advertising revenue to the media site. Shaping political opinion through strong communication, without compromising means, is called propaganda, or politically motivated disinformation.

Malinformation is spoken of when truthful information is used intentionally to harm an individual, community, or state, contrary to the agreed uses of the information. This is often truthful information that is shared illegally, maliciously, or with the intent of knowingly causing harm and harm. 

Damage is caused, for example, by manipulating and falsifying the context or frameworks of interpretation presented. The aim is, therefore, to make the facts look as bad as possible, for example by distorting the benchmarks or the evaluation criteria. An easy way to deal with distorted and harmful information with students is through gossip and bullying, for example. Malinformation is also closely linked with hate speech.

When should you suspect disinformation?

Be careful when

  • The message is repeated very oftenThere are striking images in the message
  • The message aims to elicit a strong emotional response
  • There are strong story elements attached to the message·
  • The sources of the message are strange or extraordinary (eg page metadata leads to a different country than the content of the message suggests)
  • Search engines find the same or almost the same message, but with a much older date·
  • Images related to the message can be found on the web in other connections with reverse image search·
  • The person distributing the message is distributing other suspicious content

Social media constantly prompts us to make choices: should I click, like, share or comment? In a digital world, critical thinking requires reflection, ability to resist your impulses, as well as resilience (against being susceptible) to mis- and dis-information

It is not always easy to know what is true and what is not. Consider at least the following questions:

  • Who is behind this? Who are the producers? 
    • Can the name or the website be found? 
  • Who are in (is) the intended audience? 
    • Where is the information available and why are you the person who encountered it?
  • What is the real message behind the information?
    • Is it an advert or a news article? Is it sponsored by someone? Why is it made? o  Is its purpose to influence you somehow? 
  • What knowledge is it based upon? 
    • Are there links to sources? Where does the knowledge originate?
  • Are the pictures authentic? 
    • Is the picture related to the text? 
    • Are the pictures untouched and unmanipulated?

Factbar EDU will be publishing additional information on information literacy to support distance teachers and distance students in the coming days at . It’s a good idea to always check out what’s been updated!


Käytämme sivustollamme yksityisyyden suojaavaa analytiikkaa palveluidemme parantamiseksi.

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