A Facebook newsfeed can be a dangerous place to get your information. Note for instance the coverage of the FBI probe regarding Hillary Clinton’s email use as Secretary of State. In a single newsfeed I captured three articles, two of which say she will be indicted and one of which says she will not be.
The interesting thing about this is that the proof is so easy. By its very nature, it is a binary: either she will be indicted or she won’t be: yes or no, 1 or 0. There is no in-between. Yet on the internet there is apparently sufficient gray area to have articles propounding both.
Basic information literacy awareness compels us to ask why, and it does not take too much effort to discredit the first source, which is donaldtrumpnews.com. An obvious conflict of interest should make readers skeptical, and indeed, reading the contents of the site reveals a lot of dated speculation. In short, this is a word-for-word re-posting of an article that appeared on an anti-Hillary site (hillarydaily.com) in April 2016 but which was recycled by donaldtrumpnews.co on the occasion of the FBI’s decision not to indict her.
The second article, which at first seems to be NBC News because of the image, is actually usanewsflash.com. The article suggests that there is a separate investigation of which the public has not been made aware, and which will involve scrutiny of charitable gifts to the Clinton Foundation.
Again, the article posits a great deal of speculation to make it seem as if charges are imminent.
But the article is short on hard facts and evidence. To lend itself credibility, it links to some other blogs, but the primary link is dead:
The end of the article asks its readers, “Do you think that the FBI needs to arrest Hillary immediately?” One is left with the impression that the blog intends to be clickbait and generate ad revenue more than it intends to inform its readership.
The third source cites to left-leaning organizations who, despite their known biases, cite a credible source in their reportage that Clinton will not be indicted, namely, FBI Director James Comey:
Information literacy asks us to dig deeper than headlines and determine which claims are factually supported with credible sources. While an internet newsfeed might be a great place to start your research, it is almost never the best place to end it!