Crap Detection Resources

Crowdsourced guide to tools and resources to check and verify information validity - created by Howard Rheingold, curated by Robin Good

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Crap Detection Resources

Crowdsourced guide to tools and resources to check and verify information validity - created by Howard Rheingold, curated by Robin Good

medialiteracy, misinformation, fakenews, journalism, criticalthinking


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A Guide to Crap Detection Resources

How this came about, how you can help:

This document is a resource for assessing the accuracy or veracity of online information, organized under a number of headings. The objective of the resource is to improve the digital lives of individuals and to improve the quality of the online commons by increasing the number of people who know how to separate good info from bad information. It began as a chapter for my 2012 book, Net Smart: How to Thrive Online.

I wrote the book to improve the quality of the commons and lives of individuals by introducing them to five fundamental literacies. In the order I presented them, these literacies involve skills (both individual and social) having to do with attention, crap detection, participation, collaboration, and network know-how. Attention came first because it is basic to thought and communication of any kind. Crap detection came next because we have lived since the invention of the search engine in a world where almost everybody almost everywhere can ask any question and receive many answers in a fraction of a second -- however, after millennia of vesting authority in the authors of texts, it is now up to the information seeker/user to decide whether the answers they receive are accurate, inaccurate, outright bogus, or deliberately misleading.

In addition to writing the book, I’ve made available a syllabus for others to adopt and modify. Access to all the published information in the world is a danger rather than a benefit to those who don’t know how to test it. Here are some tools that anybody can use to judge the quality of online information. If you have a suggestion for an additional resource, criticism of an existing resource, suggested correction, you can email [email protected]. First, make sure that what you want to add is an effective tool. Then, make sure that your candidate resource isn’t already here.

-- Howard Rheingold


This curated catalog is maintained by:

Howard Rheingold

Robin Good

Michael Auerbach

Daithí de Brún

Amy Burvall

Martin Camenzind

Rachel Cao

Dylan Conn

Molly Duff

Kathy Gill

Paul Luke


J.P. Rangaswami

Dan Russell


100+ Crap Detection Resources - Clickable Index

Identity (7)

Political (14)

Consumer/Business (7)

Medical (14)

Images (12)

Urban Legends, Hoaxes, and Emails (7)

Journalism (17)

Collective Intelligence & User-Based Detection (4)

Academia and Education (4)

Events (3)

Miscellaneous (12)

Web Sites (7)

Web Pages (9)

Twitter (4)

Video (2)


Identity (7)

WhoIs: ICANN’s portal that lets you see information about who owns any domain on the Internet.

ARIN’s Whois: This is American Registry for Internet Numbers (ARIN)’s portal to the whois database that shows who is responsible for IP addresses. This data is updated by the various regional Internet registries (RIR) and ISPs that have direct address assignments from the RIRs. It isn’t 100% accurate but can give you a good clue who “owns” that IP address. An international directory of free public records.

Reverse street address lookup

Phone lookup Tells you your public IPv4 and IPv5 (Internet Protocol) address Instantly verify whether a celebrity is dead or alive.

Political (14)

RAND: Fighting Disinformation online: “As part of its Countering Truth Decay initiative, and with support from the Hewlett Foundation, RAND is responding to this urgent problem. Our researchers identified and characterized the universe of online tools developed by nonprofits and civil society organizations to target online disinformation. These tools were created to help information consumers, researchers, and journalists navigate today's challenging information environment.”

Media Bias/Fact Check Icon: Chrome browser extension by Jeffrey Carl Faden shows an icon denoting the political bias for any web page being viewed according to Media Bias/Fact Check. You can click the icon to read more notes about the site, or visit MBFC for more details.

Media Bias Fact Check: Information resource for media bias online. Find out source bias and political “preference” for over 800 media and news source online.

Truth Goggles: Bookmarklet tool that highlights claims on a page when activated, and tested against Politifact related claim.

Truth Teller: Allows users to watch a video with Truth Teller and view the transcript with a link to reported claims in real time.

AZ Fact Check: Arizona-specific resource - fact check Arizona politician statements.

Africa Check: Africa-specific resource - fact checking stories, claim, and reports from Africa.

FlackCheck: Sister site to FactCheck.Org, but uses parody, humor, and satire to debunk politics.

Full Fact: Independent fact checking organization based in the UK for statements in the media and politics.

PolitiFact: The site researches statements made by politicians, and rates the accuracy of those statements on their “Truth-O-Meter.”

The Fact Checker: Washington Post blog that fact checks statements by politicians and political advocacy groups of all parties. A site that researches claims made by politicians of all parties.

Project Vote Smart: Project vote smart empowers citizens to make informed political decisions by making voting records, public statements, and other important information about public officials accessible and convenient.

Greenhouse: Free browser extension for Chrome, Safari, and Firefox that displays on any web page detailed campaign contribution data for every Senator and Representative.

thinkContext: Open source browser extension which displays a variety of contextual information for entities, including campaign contribution information for both of political recipients and donors, as well as fact checking information from Politifact. Also includes data from a variety of progressive groups, including company ratings on LGBT policies, human rights, labor, etc.

Factchecker: “The purpose of this Web site, and an accompanying column in the Sunday print edition of The Washington Post, is to “truth squad” the statements of political figures regarding issues of great importance, be they national, international or local.”


Consumer/Business (7) National Consumers League project; allows for consumers to file, report, and look up scams.

Ripoff Report: A collective intelligence site that encourages consumers to report unsavory behavior of companies they have dealt with. You can search by company.

Scam Advisor: Allows users to check a website and lists many details about each domain, including age, website speed, owner city and address.

Investigative Dashboard: Helps investigators expose illicit business ties that cross borders

Consumer Reports: Ad-free magazine and organization that carries out tests on a wide variety of products and publishes review. Full digital access requires a subscription or a library membership - check to see if your library subscribes.

GoodGuide: Information on health, environment and social impact of consumer products

AdDetector: Identifies online content paid for by a corporate sponsor. Browser plugin for Chrome and Firefox.


Medical (14)

ScienceDirect: Scientific database that offers journal articles and book chapters from more than 2,500 journals and almost 20,000 books. You only get access to most of that content if you're affiliated with a college/research library that has a subscription, or your public library bought one. Check with your local library staff to see if you have expanded access.

The Health on the Net Foundation: Source for finding reliable and credible online health information.

PubMed: From the National Library of Medicine, the most comprehensive index of medical literature.

Webcina: Helps physicians enter the Internet era with reliable medical information and selected online medical resources.

Medical Library Association: “A User’s Guide to Finding and Evaluating Health Information on the Web”--This guide outlines the collective wisdom of medical librarians on the Internet. Provides health information from doctors and health communities.

JustAnswer: Get answers to your medical, health, or any general questions. Provides health information from experts and allows you to ask specific health-related questions and get answers. Provides health information, tools, news, and reviews from doctors to encourage healthy living. A peer community that allows you to find other patients like you and share your experience with treatments. Provides tools that allow you to track and manage your health and a peer community that offers treatment ratings and reviews. Curates and organizes health information from thousands of health and wellness professionals Matches patients with peers and experts to foster support groups.

MedlinePlus: MedlinePlus is the National Institutes of Health's Web site for patients and their families and friends. Produced by the National Library of Medicine, it brings you information about diseases, conditions, and wellness issues in language you can understand.

Healthfinder: “a government website where you will find information and tools to help you and those you care about stay healthy.”

Top 20 Health: A curated directory of health-related sites and a “metasearch engine” maintained by “e-patient Dave.”

Demystifying the

Crap Detection Resources
Tags Medialiteracy, Misinformation, Fakenews, Journalism, Criticalthinking
Type Google Doc
Published 23/06/2020, 19:03:14