COM0011 – Blog#2: “Is this Real, or is it Fake?” – How to Spot Disinformation & Misinformation on Social Media.

With so much information and marketing being blasted at us on social media, how can we tell what is fake and what is real. We must be vigilant and have a critical thinking approach to gaining real information from the multitude of social media platforms.

The New York Times defined “fake news” on the Internet as false articles deliberately fabricated to deceive readers, generally with the goal of profiting through clickbait. Clickbait is content whose main purpose is to attract attention and encourage visitors to click on a link to a particular web page.

This iconic selfie of a pilot photographing himself in the air was actually a photo of him when he was safely landed, but it’s important to mention, that even on the land, it’s a pretty cool selfie!
Venice is definitely one of the most beautiful places to visit around the world so there is no need to photoshop a photo of frozen Lake Baikal in Russia to make the place look even more stunning.

Above are faked viral images that people believed to be real from list of photos compiled on a website called “boredpanda”

Another website called Politifact by the Poynter Institute provides fact checking journalism on political social media statements.  Their core principles are independence, transparency, fairness, thorough reporting, and clear writing. The reason we publish is to give citizens the information they need to govern themselves in a democracy.

The PolitiFact national staff (2020).

There is so much on the internet around misinformation or disinformation on social media that I could not possibly cover it on one blog. However, below are 8 simple steps to keep in mind when trying to decipher fake information (taken from Simon Fraser University website

Consider the source

Click away from the story to learn more about the website, including its stated mission and contact information. For a picture, try a reverse image search to find out where it was originally used, and whether it has been altered.

Read beyond

Beware of outrageous headlines, statements in ALL CAPS, and sensational images designed to get clicks. Read the full story and then investigate further.

Check the author

Do a quick search on the author to find out if they are credible (or even a real person). What is the person’s background? What qualifications do they have, and how are they related to the topic they are writing about?

Supporting sources?

Check to make sure the links support the story — and are credible.

Check the date

Is this an old story? 

Is it a joke?

If the image looks unbelievable or the news sounds too outrageous, it may be satire. Research the site and the author to check.

Check your biases

Consider whether your own beliefs might affect your judgement. 

Ask the experts

Ask a librarian, or visit a fact-checking site. 

Internet is an awesome tool for learning, communication, and marketing. However, stay vigilant and alert so that you are not fooled or make improper decisions. There are all kinds of people, groups, agencies, and businesses with agendas. The important thing is to be properly informed.

  • Next time you read something on social media, will you read the information with a grain of salt?
  • Try some of the steps above with Twitter comments or Facebook websites that seem strange or bizarre


Simon Fraser University – Library:

Author Community Member: Rugile –May 2019,Bored Panda.

The Poynter Institute: Politifact –

You Tube: 3 Expert Tips to Stop Bullshit (2021 March 30 –

The New York Times:

COM0011- Benefits of Immigrants to Canada

My father and mother immigrated to Canada in 1974 from Pakistan. My Uncle lived in Montreal and sponsored by dad. My father had a done a law degree but did not practice, and became a professional salesman, and worked hard at his trade. We were a middle income family in Pakistan and lived in a beautiful home in Karachi (a large city in the Sind Province).

My parents wanted a better life for us kids (I was 11 years old, my sister was 5 years older, and my brother was 10 years older than I). Pakistan was unstable, with just finishing another war with India in 1972. There was also a lot of corruption, and education was okay but not universal. My parents made a major sacrifice leaving most of the extended family and friends behind to give us a better future.

Once arriving in Montreal in March of 1974 (middle of a snow storm might I add), it was a real shocker. My parents sacrificed a lot, as we lived in a 2 bedroom apartment with all of five of us. My mom had never had a job before in her life and she went and found work in a toy factory to make ends meet. My dad looked for sales jobs but being an immigrant, it was tough to get a job. He finally got a sales job selling life insurance. Again, he worked really hard to build a clientele, and succeeded over time. All 3 of us children went through our own trials and trepidations yet have been blessed to get university educations and built our own beautiful families. My parents never took advantage of the Canadian welfare system, and worked hard to always have jobs and provide for the family. Most immigrants that I have come in contact with have similar stories.

Most of the immigrant families that my parents made friends with also worked and provided for their kids. This country is built on immigrants as detailed out on the link “150 years of immigration in Canada”

There are people and politicians today that create fear of immigration. The view being that immigrants take away Canadian jobs, and are a drain on our welfare system. Nothing is further from the truth. The fact of the matter is we have a vast country with hardly any population (just over 38 million people in all of Canada compared to say around 39 million people just in the State of California). Our birth rate cannot provide enough workers to support our aging population. We need immigrants! Immigrant professionals, skilled trades, and basic service industries require people. Attached is a good article from Government of Canada that gives an excellent view of our needs

The benefits of social media on immigration has been transformational. When my parents came to Canada, they felt like being on a life raft in the ocean. They felt alone and it took them time to connect with people and build a network. Now days, it has become a lot easier through Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and various newsrooms to reach out as well as gather information. Here is government link as an example

Here is an example of a Canadian meetup group for new immigrants

What are your thoughts?

  • Should Canada open up more immigration, less immigration, or keep status quo?
  • Do we have the right infrastructures to support new immigrants across the country?
  • How can social media help new immigrants to Canada?