Who do you trust on the Web?

BBC News reports on Tim Berners-Lee’s warning about trust on the Internet and the fact that unfounded rumours, such as those about the LHC, grow very quickly:

Sir Tim told BBC News that there needed to be new systems that would give websites a label for trustworthiness once they had been proved reliable sources.

Sir Tim and his new foundation are looking at ways to rate trustworthiness on the Web with something like Google Page Rank. I’m not sure that an external evaluation tool is really necessary and in the meantime each of us can have our own system. I know that I do.

I have developed relationships with:

  • people whom I know personally and trust
  • people with whom I connect on the Web who are consistently trustworthy in what they publish online (at least they admit their mistakes)
  • sources of information that are consistent and I have learned to trust at some level

Quite often I will check on a piece of information before writing about it. Google Search shows me what is being served up on the subject and Technorati tells me who’s blogging about it. I can send out a quick question on Twitter and that network may have some more information.

If I want to check the trustworthiness of a piece of information, I have many options. I can even blog about it –  and we know that there is no greater urge known to humankind than to correct someone who is wrong on the Internet. I’m sure I’ll be told that I’m wrong and then I can make a note about this on my original post and voilà, the Internet is fixed once again 😉

We have many of the tools that we need to check sources and make sure that we are not being duped. Perhaps we lack the techniques and the motivation to do so. I hope that the next generation finds it more natural to think critically than our television generation does.

One Response to “Who do you trust on the Web?”

  1. ismael

    I fully agree. We keep on asking the Internet many more things (requisites) than we do to real life. We have librarians that give us advice on a specific book, but passer-bys are not tagged to know whether they are trustworthy (only in the worst passages of History we find that).

    I won’t complain about the Web being more organized, credited, reputed, but I agree with you that it is mostly a matter of digital (informational, media) literacy.


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