Person holding a newspaper out to read
Person holding a newspaper out to read

Avoid news overload with the SIFT technique

Now more than ever, it’s important to stay well informed. However, consuming too much news about COVID-19 can be unhealthy, particularly if it includes fake or misleading news.

The SIFT technique can help you filter and assess the news you consume, meaning you can stay well informed while protecting your mental health.

The term ‘infodemic’ was used by the World Health Organization to refer to an over-abundance of (mostly false) information about the coronavirus outbreak. A lot of inaccurate information has been circulated in the news since the outbreak of COVID-19, causing widespread confusion and anxiety.

Fortunately, there are things that can help you sort fact from fiction. The SIFT technique 1 is a simple way to evaluate online information in four easy steps.

Gaining a sense of control over what you consume and limiting your exposure to unhelpful and/or untrue information may help support your mental health during this challenging time.

How the SIFT technique works

Stop and think before you take anything as fact.

Investigate the source – who is providing this information?

Find better coverage. Cross-check the information with trusted sources.

Trace claims, quotes, and media to the original context. In other words, click back to find the original source of the information.

1 A method of evaluating online information developed by Mike Caulfield of Washington State University Vancouver


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