Think you can beat the experts in spotting misinformation? Watch this short video and find out.

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Can You Spot Misinformation?

Producer/Narrator: Joseph Hogan
Additional Editing: Cullen Golden

Jennifer Connell was called the “Worst Aunt Ever” on Twitter after she sued her cousin’s son over a broken wrist. But a version of events that spread quickly online (and earned her the nickname Auntie-Christ from a New York City tabloid) wasn’t entirely true.

False headlines. Exaggerated claims. Fishy-looking photos. If you’re not careful, the internet can serve up a tangle of misinformation. The short video above is part of a new Retro Report series that shows how to sort fact from fiction, sidestep online scams and stop the spread of misinformation.

This video shows how to use a technique called lateral reading to find the context behind eye-popping headlines and check the origin of sensational stories.

When you come across an article that might be too good (or too funny) to be true, experts suggest opening up new web browser tabs and conducting a search of the topic. Look for reliable websites and news stories that feature interviews with original sources.

In the case of Jennifer Connell and her lawsuit against her cousin’s son, reliable sources eventually set the record straight. After her injury, Connell required three surgeries, and suing was the only way she could get her cousin’s homeowner’s insurance to pay her medical bills. “This was simply a formality with an insurance claim,” she told Retro Report. There was no ill will in the family.

This video was made in partnership with Stanford History Education Group, Teaching Systems Lab and The Center for Information, Technology, and Public Life.

This project was funded by the National Science Foundation Convergence Accelerator program.

Educators, click below for this story’s lesson plan and check out our education collection, Use the Internet to Check the Internet.

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