Pat Iyer's Blog

The Internet is loaded with misinformation. Make sure you keep your credibility – always check the facts.

Professional speakers share stories of people in their audiences who are fact checking them, and raising their hands to refute something the speaker just said. How embarrassing!

The other day on Facebook I saw a story with a photo that showed an elephant carrying a lion cub while the mother lion walked beside them. The text explained that it was so hot that the cub was in danger of dying. The elephant carried the cub to the closest water hole.

Of course, people loved this photo (which was hailed as one of the best of the century) and story. It was heartwarming, but it was fake. Kruger National Park posted it to its Twitter account on April Fool’s Day in 2018.

For the full story, see https://www.snopes.com/fact-check/elephant-carrying-lion-cub/

We Make Mistakes

In terms of human- or animal-interest stories, the fake alarm doesn’t always ring. A lot of bizarre and even miraculous things happen in this world. I am also not a Photoshop expert, so I wouldn’t easily recognized an altered photograph.

I might have decided to use the photo and story for a blog post. If I had, someone would have told me it was fake. I would have apologized. It wouldn’t have been the end of the world.

I remember the day more than a decade ago when I saw this horrifying picture, which made me empathize with the terror the man felt – dangling right in front of a shark. Turns out the photo was fake. I did not check the facts before I shared it.

When You See Different Versions of a Story

That’s when the red flag should start waving. A story about a black male celebrity and a white female on an elevator in Las Vegas has been circulating for years. Sometimes the celebrity is Eddie Murphy, sometimes Michael Jordan. That discrepancy is a big clue that the story isn’t authentic.

Again, Snopes has the story. https://www.snopes.com/fact-check/hit-the-floor/

Some Good Fact-Checking Sites

Snopes (http://www.snopes.com) is an excellent site for checking questionable Internet news. It’s user-friendly and has a lot of information.

FactCheck.org (https://www.factcheck.org) is a good site for checking on political news and data. You can also find information on economic data such as growth national product statistics, unemployment rate data, and related subjects.

This is a valuable site for business purposes. If you or someone you’ve hired is using facts about, for example, manufacturing figures, income growth statistics, or anything related to a business pitch you may be making to a new client or to an existing client, you need accurate data.

You may want to check out more than these two sites for your information. Many such sites exist. Below are some links.

MediaBistro https://mediabiasfactcheck.com/2016/07/20/the-10-best-fact-checking-sites/
https://www.makeuseof.com/tag/true-5-factchecking-websites/

http://guides.lib.berkeley.edu/c.php?g=620677&p=4333407

A Final Note: Check the Facts

Be very cautious about any information you see on Facebook or Twitter. Charming elephant and lion stories represent only the tip of the iceberg when it comes to false stories and photographs. Always check the facts.

Pat Iyer - Editor, author, ghostwriter, book coachPat Iyer is an editor, author, book coach and ghostwriter who helps individuals create books that allow their expertise to shine and advance their businesses. She has written or edited 48 books.