GAUGE BIAS

 
 

How to Recognize Biased Content
The old saying of, “If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is” still holds water online. Many advertisers utilize sponsored content or the creation of “articles” about their product as a means of sneaky advertising. Many bloggers also present themselves as authorities on a subject to persuade more people of their viewpoints, when in reality, it is just their personal opinion. We must also be aware of our own leanings when dealing with new information–just because we want something to be true does not mean it is. With 1000's of articles chumming the murky waters of the web, don't let misleading content devour you. 

Confirmation Bias 
Confirmation bias is our tendency to favor information that confirms what we already think or believe. For example, if a person thinks we need stricter immigration laws, they will seek out information to support this thought. Any time they read an article with "evidence" supporting this view, they will become even more convicted in their belief. Conversely, someone with the exact opposite view could read the same article and take away something completely different due to their biases. Confirmation bias impairs us by taking away our objectivity and heavily influences the decisions we make. 

Is the information current? Are there dates listed? If an article is old, it could mean the information is no longer accurate. 

Is the content sponsored? Does it contain advertising? Pay attention to how a product is talked about and how it is presented. If someone is talking about a product like it is the best thing since sliced bread, they are probably getting payed to do so. 

What is the authority of the page? Look for information on the author of the site. On the Internet anyone can pose as an authority.

Does the content use qualifying statements? These often signal a weak argument. If an article contains one of these kinds of statements, it is a pretty good indicator of Grade-A bologna. (See above in Terms to Know)