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Media Literacy and Fact-Checking: Step 3: Check Biases
The news you see might not be the same as the news your neighbor sees. Much of the information we see is delivered by online platforms that are driven by algorithms predicting what we want to see. Broaden your news by intentionally seeking out news that doesn't come to you through a filter. Click on (and read) news from across the spectrum to disrupt the algorithms that shape what is delivered to you.
The mission of AllSides is to present media from across the political spectrum. See how left, right, and center news sources report the same topic differently, and what different topics they cover.
! Tip: Try clicking on news stories from across the spectrum. Not only does it provide you with multiple perspectives on the same issue, it will also confuse the algorithms that drive what information finds you, so that you get more balanced information.
This study from Project Information Literacy reports on a year-long study of students and their awareness and concerns about algorithmic-driven platforms that shape and influence news and information they receive.
Identifying Your Own Bias
It's important to be aware that we bring our own biases to the information we encounter. Confirmation bias is a well-established tendency to search for and interpret information in a way that aligns with what we already believe. This bias is so strong that psychologists have found that pain centers of the brain are engaged when we encounter information contrary to our deeply held convictions (Kaplan, Gimbel, & Harris, 2016).
Coupled with algorithmic bias that tends to bring us information that we're predisposed to agree with, it's easy to end up in an echo chamber and let down our guard about fact-checking information that "feels right." That's why it's important to apply fact-checking practices early in the process of encountering new information.