In My Opinion: How to trust what you read online

Billy JonesCommentary 

We all know that rumors can spread like wildfire, and in today’s rapidly advancing technological world, misinformation on social media platforms like Twitter, Facebook and Instagram is only a click away.

The internet provides endless information and resources, but it’s important to take the time to differentiate between fact and fiction. Fortunately, there are several easy steps you can take to ensure the information that you’re getting is the real deal.

One of the best ways to weed out false news stories is to do some investigating on your own.

The International Federation of Library Associations and Institutions (IFLA) recommends doing a couple of quick searches to be sure that you’re getting the whole truth.

This can include investigating sites that the story and supporting sources come from and researching the author to ensure the outlet is legitimate and unbiased.

It’s also important to get your news from different media outlets so you’re not just getting one perspective. If ever in doubt, I encourage you to consult your local librarian or a fact-checking site like factcheck.org, which is run by the nonpartisan Annenberg Public Policy Center.

Government websites, including the Assembly’s website, can also be a great resource to help you stay up to date on what’s going on in our community, such as public hearings, community forums, proposed legislation and new laws.

I encourage you to stop by my website at nyassembly.gov/jones to learn about what I’m doing to help make the North Country a better place to live.

Another longstanding priority of mine has been helping seniors connect to the internet through the Older Adults Technology Services’ (OATS) Senior Planet program, which offers free digital technology courses at the Champlain Centre Mall and the Malone Adult Center.

One of the many resources the program offers is an “Introduction to Social Media” course to help seniors navigate the positive and negative aspects of technology.

To better support this critical program, I secured $700,000 for Senior Planet over the last three budget cycles.

Media literacy is an important skill regardless of age.

With fast changing technology, it’s important everyone is aware of both the benefits and potential pitfalls of social media.

My door is also always open.

Please don’t hesitate to contact my office with questions about this or any other community issue at 518-562-1986 or JonesB@nyassembly.gov.

Assemblyman Billy Jones represents the North Country in the New York State Assembly’s 115th District. Reach him at 518-562-1986 or JonesB@nyassembly.gov. His district office is located at 202 U.S. Oval in Plattsburgh.