Thursday, March 19, 2020

COVID-19 #2 of 8 March 2020 -- vital to SIFT through online info

For April -- I have updated this March COVID-19 Post on the blog. 
I will be leaving all the March ones here as "archived" and will add links to updated April versions. 

Most recent info on the subjects covered in this post can be found on this link:


ARCHIVED POST -- information from here on was up to date as of 3.31.2020

Putting this essential reminder here in its own post.

Always SIFT through online info...

Fact check/find corroborating stories from credible sources.
Trace claims, quotes and media to its original context.

The flurry of memes and mis-information is not helpful.

Check before you post.
Is what you're sharing from a credible, original source?
Does it pass the fact-check test?
If not, investigate. Be curious. Be a critical consumer of online content.
(photo below from Google Images)

We need to raise expectations now more than ever. The internet has great potential to educate.  Don't let it be used to bully or abuse. Don't facilitate the spread of rumors.

Fact check/find corroborating stories from credible sources.
Trace claims,  quotes and media to its original context.

SIFT before you share.

This link is where I first read about the SIFT system method coined by Washington State University digital literacy expert Mike Caulfield

Top places to find credible info:
World Health Organization (WHO)
videos on COVID-19

your local/State Department of Public Health. Here's link for California:

American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA)


WHO link for MYTHBUSTING regarding COVID-19

The week of 3.16.20, there was a flurry of posts about animals swimming in the clearer waters of the Venice Canals. These were popular posts and frequently shared. Sadly, these were fakes. This fascinating article from National Geographic not only debunks these stories, but unravels the emotional appeal of postings that go viral. People don't mean to lie and mislead, but as the "likes" pile up, they don't want to edit or delete either..

Credible news sites are reporting stories on all the ways the internet is being used to proliferate rumors and hoaxes related to the virus:

Fighting the false information online -- I'll be adding links here...
One thing everyone agreed on: You have a responsibility to help correct bad information. "When the misinformation can literally damage people's health, I do think we all have a responsibility," Silverman noted. "You don't want people to be doing things that are bad for them or bad for society," added Rand.
And Vraga acknowledged it is not always easy to correct close family or friends. "These are relationships we care about, people whose good opinion we want to maintain and carry forward," Vraga said. But she said, "It's a way of looking out for each other, and it can be uncomfortable in the moment, but hopefully in the long-run it's doing more good than harm."

SIFT case study 
This chart is an interesting SIFT case study. It was shared on Facebook

I traced the chart to a website page for Channel 11 TV in Georgia.

The TV Channel's website page has this chart along with text that gives a hyperlink to CDC. That CDC hyperlink goes to an informative PDF, but the chart doesn't appear there.

 In the upper right hand corner of the chart, the fine print is "Source: Mayo Clinic," but I don't see this chart on the Mayo Clinic COVID page.

The bottom left of the chart has this credit line 
With allergy season approaching, we want to make sure you're aware of the differences in symptoms between them, Coronavirus and the Flu.

which can be seen on the TV Channel's website page with text and chart, but this credit line doesn't transfer when just the image is saved. Tegna is a media company connected with many television stations.

So where does this chart really come from? and where does it fit on the SIFT system??? 

Some might assume the chart came directly from the Mayo Clinic and/or CDC.
My investigation of this image suggests to me it was put together by staff at the Tegna Media company using info from one or both of Mayo Clinic and CDC sites. I don't know for sure. This is my guess.

It seems reasonable that Media companies and TV stations would be producing graphics like this that are posted as a public service. You would hope public service info like this is also thoroughly fact checked by a staff member at the company.

Is this chart reliable?

Likely -- but since I can't click on a link that takes me directly to this chart on a page for the CDC or Mayo Clinic sites, that indicates to me there is a layer of information assembly one step away from the credible, original source(s). I'm not saying the chart is wrong... I'm just saying for me, I would have more confidence in it and posts like these when they trace back to an original, scientific source. 

Not every post has to be SIFTed to source material. I'm using this an an example. Getting back to the credible, original source is how to connect with information that I personally can have the most confidence in. Do I always get it right? No. But this is an example of how I investigate before I share.

Please note the links on my posts are for general information purposes only and my comments/summaries are not tax/business/legal/medical advice. Please consult your own resources for advice that best suits your individual situation.

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