Six techniques to check information on a social network

Social networks push us to share content because they move us, amuse us or indignant us, even if we have not always sought (or succeeded) to check them. 

In fact, it is often difficult to distinguish between true and false, especially when it comes to an image or a video. There are however simple techniques to no longer be fooled, believe, or worse, relay a poison without knowing it. The Decoders team has chosen six that it explains to you.

1. Assume that, by default, it is false

When we are dealing with content that has no clear source or evidence – for example, an assertion from which we do not have a source or a quote attributed to a personality that does not specify the context in which it would have occurred pronounced, it is better to consider by default that it is false, rather than the opposite – “in doubt, I shared”, a reflection unfortunately too often heard.

2. Go back to the source, cross with other information

Information rarely comes directly from a social network, it usually has an external origin: an information medium, for example. We must try to find if other media that we know or trust has the same information in substantially identical terms.

If a media that we do not know is broadcasting information that can not be found anywhere else, it is better to be suspicious. Of course, it is possible that a single user or a single blog has a “scoop” that would have escaped all serious media and endowed with consistent means. But this remains exceptional.

3. Pay attention to the date of publication

It is common for Internet users to be made to have another key element: the date. Among the intox often seen circulating are articles, images or videos not wrong, but old. 

A news item several years old will be presented as current, for example, creating confusion, which can have significant consequences.

The error is all the easier to make that the article in question can emanate from a serious and recognized source but be simply old. 

In general, the date of publication of a press article is mentioned in the title area. It is also sometimes found in the URL (the address in the browser bar) of the article.

4. Use reverse image search

Checking an image may seem more laborious. Yet there is a tool that makes it easy to find context: the reverse image search. 

It is possible via Google, either directly with a right click if you use the browser Chrome (right click on an image> “search this image on Google”), or by downloading the image on his computer, then by going to, clicking on the small camera icon to the right of the search bar, then uploading the image.

Inverted image search can find other occurrences of an image. Practical if you want to know its original context, or more simply its date: if an image has already been posted several years ago, it no longer has the same meaning.

5. Install a browser extension

To further simplify the search for images, there are several extensions, small programs that we add to its Internet browser and open other features. 

Examples include TinEye or RevEye, which are used to reverse image searches; or InVid, for videos from screenshots done automatically.

Since 2017, Le Monde has implemented its extension, Decodex, which alerts you from a list of more than 600 websites that we deem doubtful, but also more than 250 into already verified by us.

6. Think before sharing, use common sense

But beyond all technological tools, the best weapon against misinformation remains its common sense. This is already avoided by sharing without thinking, even “in case” “in doubt”: there is a risk of contributing to spreading a poison.

Social networks play on our emotions: we will tend to share what we find funny, shocking, sad.

 But emotion does not help thinking. Taking the time to reflect on what you share or she can help put the emotion aside and bring the intellect back to the fore. In any case, taking a few moments to ask the question cannot hurt.