Internet Accuracy

August 1, 2008 • Volume 18, Issue 27
Is information on the Web reliable?
By Marcia Clemmitt

Introduction

Wikipedia banned Stephen Colbert, host of Comedy Central's
Wikipedia banned Stephen Colbert, host of Comedy Central's "The Colbert Report," from editing articles on the popular online site after he made joke edits. (Getty Images for Meet the Press/Alex Wong)

The Internet has been a huge boon for information-seekers. In addition to sites maintained by newspapers and other traditional news sources, there are untraditional sources ranging from videos, personal Web pages and blogs to postings by interest groups of all kinds — from government agencies to hate groups. But experts caution that determining the credibility of online data can be tricky, and that critical-reading skills are not being taught in most schools. In the new online age, readers no longer have the luxury of depending on a reference librarian's expertise in finding reliable sources. Anyone can post an article, book or opinion online with no second pair of eyes checking it for accuracy, as in traditional publishing and journalism. Now many readers are turning to user-created sources like Wikipedia, or powerful search engines like Google, which tally how many people previously have accessed online documents and sources — a process that is open to manipulation.

ISSUE TRACKER for Related Reports
Computers
Feb. 26, 2016  Virtual Reality
Feb. 12, 2016  Video Games and Learning
Jan. 15, 2016  The Dark Web
Feb. 15, 2013  Improving Cybersecurity
Apr. 13, 2012  Internet Regulation
Sep. 16, 2011  Computer Hacking
Sep. 24, 2010  Impact of the Internet on Thinking
Feb. 26, 2010  Cybersecurity
Aug. 01, 2008  Internet Accuracy
May 02, 2008  Cyberbullying
Jul. 28, 2006  Cyber Socializing
May 12, 2006  Controlling the Internet
Jun. 10, 2005  Identity Theft
Sep. 17, 2004  Cyberpolitics
Sep. 26, 2003  Cybersecurity
Apr. 12, 2002  Cyber-Crime
Oct. 27, 2000  Computers and Medicine
May 26, 2000  Future of Computers
Jan. 28, 2000  The Digital Divide
Feb. 05, 1999  Digital Commerce
Jun. 30, 1995  Regulating the Internet
May 21, 1993  Software Piracy
Sep. 30, 1988  Management's High-Tech Challenge
Jan. 09, 1987  Power Surge in Personal Computers
Feb. 13, 1981  The Computer Age
Nov. 03, 1978  America's Information Boom
Jan. 06, 1978  Computer Crime
May 12, 1971  Reappraisal of Computers
Jul. 25, 1962  Approach to Thinking Machines
BROWSE RELATED TOPICS:
Education Standards and Testing
Freedom of Information
Internet and Social Media