Facts Source Criticism

To create a healthy climate on the internet, it is important to practice source criticism. Source criticism means reviewing source material and making an assessment of the credibility of the angle or the claims that are presented in the source of the information.

Source criticism is a tool to help us decide whether information feels credible or reasonable. Almost all of the information you take in is presented based on someone’s opinion of the incident. That is why it is good to find out more about the same incident, but from different sources.

Source criticism and the internet

Source criticism is particularly important on the internet, especially if you get most of your information from Facebook or other social media. Your feed is controlled by something called algorithms, which adjust your feed based on your taste. That is why it is almost impossible to get a broad perspective when only looking at your own feed. This is against the basic principle of source criticism.

Because of our age, we are more or less vulnerable to disinformation. 

We are more or less knowledgeable about how to practice source criticism on the internet. According to research, younger people are more used to using the internet and are therefore more resistant to fake news and influence campaigns. 

The nonprofit organization Cyber Hate Examiner (Näthatsgranskaren) works with analyzing and reporting hate crimes on the internet. They report that of the 700 judgements that they have helped bring to justice in court, the average age of the convicted parties is 54 for men and 57 for women. These numbers are from a small selection of a very large group, but they still support the conclusion that young people are more resistant. 

This is a remarkably high average age of the convicted people in this category which is important to remember because cyber hate is often described as a problem for young people. Of the 700 convictions, 80% are men and 20% are women. Unfortunately, there are no statistics on more than two genders.

Practice source criticism on the internet

Advice Use Källkritikbyrån (The source criticism agency)

Källkritikbyrån (the source criticism agency) is a website and a project aiming at helping people to become more confident and aware online users. Here, you can find inspiration and facts about source criticism on the Internet. The website contains insights related to source criticism and guides on what you can do in different situations. 

Advice Find the source of the picture

Find out which situations and at what time the picture has appeared.

Guide: How to find the source of images 

Advice Use Facebook's "About This Site" feature for link sharing

When someone shares an article on Facebook, you can click on the i-symbol to the right and “Show more information about this link”. You will then receive information about the website/news page that is linked.

Advice Use Facebook's "Why am I seeing this?" feature

If you see advertisements in your feed - click on the three dots at the upper right of the advertisement and select "Why am I seeing this?" to get more information about why Facebook decided to show you the ad, and who might have paid for the advertisement.

Advice Find out who owns the address

If you want to know who owns a website, there are services to help. Foreign URLs can be found at http://www.whois.com. Swedish URLs (those ending in .se or .nu) can be found at http://www.iis.se.

Advice Find the source of the text

Cut out parts of the text, put them in quotation marks ("like this") and search for them in google to find if the text has been posted anywhere else.

Tired of no one understanding the problem?

Use our micro activism posters! Send it anonymously, hang it up in the coffee room, or spread it on your social media. The internet is real!


Cyber Hate Examiner (Näthatsgranskaren) (2018), Moa Baldini - research report, Institute for Media Studies: Distrust of media (2017), Expo, mapping cyber hate (2018) The Viral Eye