Spot misinformation online with these tips

The COVID-19 pandemic. Elections around the world. Fact-checkers worldwide have had a busy year. More than 50,000 new fact checks surfaced on Google Search over the past year, with all fact checks receiving more than 2.4 billion impressions in Search in that timeframe. 

A growing body of external research suggests that fact checks can help counter falsehoods. In a new report supported by the Google News Initiative published today, researchers Ethan Porter, Thomas Wood and Yamil Velez found that corrections in the form of fact checks reduce the effects of misinformation on beliefs about the COVID-19 vaccine.

Fact-checking isn’t just for the professionals, however. Every day, people seek evidence to confirm or refute a piece of information they’re uncertain about. Over the past 12 months, Google searches for “is it true that…” were higher than “how to make bread,” and that’s saying something given last year’s sourdough craze

We’re committed to supporting all users as they look for reliable information online, and sharing our insights with other organizations to strengthen fact checking.

With that in mind, and ahead of International Fact Checking Day on April 2, here are five simple tips to help you ask the right questions so you can better spot misinformation online. 

1. Find out more about the source. 

Have you ever stumbled across a surprising story from a website you’ve never heard of? First, see whether the source itself checks out.  After searching for the website, you can tap on its menu icon to learn more about the result (in English in the United States only, for now).