Coronavirus Resource Center
Inoculation Against Misinformation
A crisis on the scale of the coronavirus pandemic brings with it an unprecedented deluge of falsehoods, unfounded rumor and speculation, and snake oil profiteering. There is, as yet, no vaccine for the coronavirus, but we can inoculate ourselves from misinformation.
Drawing upon the unique expertise of institutions such as the Committee for Skeptical Inquiry and Quackwatch, the Center for Inquiry is doing what we do best: confronting and exposing pseudoscience and misinformation.
This is our effort to collect, curate, and communicate the most relevant and useful science and reality-based resources for information regarding the coronavirus disease, COVID-19, from CFI’s own platforms and all around the web, focusing on material that separates fact from fiction and scientific theory from conspiracy theory.
Please, take advantage of these resources and share them with family and friends so we can slow the spread of misinformation just like we’re trying to slow the spread of the virus. No matter your belief system or political affiliation, we are all in this together.
Your help in advancing reason, science, and humanist compassion is more important than it has ever been. We cannot do this kind of work without your support. Please donate now, and be a part of the solution.
Quackwatch, which is operated by Stephen Barrett, M.D., is a network of Web sites and mailing lists maintained by the Center for Inquiry (CFI). The sites focus on health frauds, myths, fads, fallacies, and misconduct. Their main goal is to provide quackery -related information that is difficult or impossible to get elsewhere.
287 Fearrington Post, Pittsboro, NC 27312 Telephone: 919 533-6009
|health fraud and quackery||http://www.quackwatch.org|
|guide to questionable theories and practices||http://www.allergywatch.org|
|skeptical guide to acupuncture history, theories, and practices||http://www.acuwatch.org|
|guide to autism||http://www.autism-watch.org|
|guide to intelligent treatment||http://www.cancertreatmentwatch.org|
|skeptical guide to chiropractic history, theories, and practices||http://www.chirobase.org|
|guide to health-related education and training||http://www.credentialwatch.org|
|guide to dental care||http://www.dentalwatch.org|
|guide to questionable medical devices||http://www.devicewatch.org|
|guide to weight-control schemes and rip-offs||http://www.dietscam.org|
|guide to the fibromyalgia marketplace||http://www.fibrowatch.org|
|guide to homeopathy||http://www.homeowatch.org|
|guide to trustworthy health information||http://www.ihealthpilot.org|
|guide to an equitable health-care system||http://www.insurancereformwatch.org|
|guide to infomercials||http://www.infomercialwatch.org|
|guide to the mental help marketplace||http://www.mentalhealthwatch.org|
|skeptical guide to naturopathic history, theories, and practices||http://www.naturowatch.org|
|activities of the National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine (NCCAM)||http://www.nccamwatch.org|
|nutrition facts and fallacies||http://www.nutriwatch.org|
|guide to the drug marketplace and lower prices||http://www.pharmwatch.org|
|National Council Against Health Fraud archive||http://www.ncahf.org|
|guide to telemarketing scams||http://www.stop-robocalls.org|
|consumer health sourcebook||http://www.chsourcebook.com|
Editor, Consumer Health Digest http://www.quackwatch.org/00AboutQuackwatch/chd.html
And this excellent objective site about alternative medicine by Prof. Edzard Ernst, MD, PhD, FMedSci, FRSB, FRCP, FRCPEd. https://bit.ly/32VkJNB
“During the last 25 years, Ernst’s research focused on the critical evaluation of (almost) all aspects of so-called alternative medicine (SCAM). He does not aim to promote this or that therapy; his goal is to provide objective evidence, reliable information and critical assessments.”
“According to Ioannidis et al (2019 PLOS Biology) standardized citation metrics, he is currently ranked No 104 amongst 100 000 scientists of all disciplines and No 1 amongst all researchers in the category of ‘Complementary & Alternative Medicine’. He as published >1000 papers in the peer-reviewed medical literature (H-Index=97 ), >50 books, translated into over a dozen languages, >100 book-chapters. He has given > 700 invited lectures worldwide and supervised >50 MD and PhD theses.”
|An Encyclopedia of Claims, Frauds, and Hoaxes of the Occult and Supernatural Index | A | B | C | D | E | F | G | H | I | J | K | L | M | N | O | P | Q | R | S | T | U | V | W | X Y Z The remarkable magician, debunker, and researcher James Randi writes: At long last we’re able to get this Encyclopedia up online. It’s created with David Joffe‘s dictionary compilation software TshwaneLex, and it’s a labor of love on the part of my good friend Gilles-Maurice de Schryver. We are very grateful for their generous donation of talent, time, and dedication. Thank you, folks. This listing contains the entire text of “An Encyclopedia of Claims, Frauds, and Hoaxes of the Occult and Supernatural”. This Internet version will contain many more illustrations than the printed one, and as time goes on we intend to add more categories and definitions, as well. If you have any suggestions along this line, we invite them eagerly. Please be sure that what you offer us is “in tune” with the subjects we handle, and when possible, give us a reference for the item. This online edition replaces the previous one of Stephen J. Goodson, to whom our sincere thanks are also due. Thanks too to Sean Schricker who proofread the initial batch of data that was imported into TshwaneLex. I hope that you will enjoy this Internet version, and will return to it often for information, entertainment, and perhaps for research purposes. You are free to quote from it, providing full source credit is provided. —— James Randi The James Randi Educational Foundation, https://web.randi.org/ firstname.lastname@example.org|
The best non-partisan news & political fact-checking sites
Politifact is a project of the Tampa Bay Times. It won a Pulitzer Prize for its coverage of the 2008 election, during which it examined 750 claims.
Politifact fact-checks claims by politicians at the federal, state, and local level, as well as political parties, PACs, and advocacy groups. Politifact rates the accuracy of these claims on its Truth-O-Meter, which goes from “True,” “Mostly True,” “Half True,” “False,” and “Pants on Fire.” There are separate verticals of Politifact for global news and select states.
FactCheck.org is the oldest of the big three fact-checking sites; it launched in 2003. The site is a project of the Annenberg Public Policy Center of the University of Pennsylvania. The site fact-checks claims made by president, members of Congress, presidential candidates, and other members of the political arena. It mainly reviews TV ads, debates, speeches, interviews, and news releases. The site’s stated goal is to “apply the best practices of both journalism and scholarship, and to increase public knowledge and understanding.”
Eugene Kiely of FactCheck.org says the organization has “never seen anything” like Trump in its 13 years of operation. FactCheck.org reviews the year’s most egregious false claims in an annual “Whoppers of the Year” story. From Kiely: In 2015, we recognized that Trump had an unusually large number of false claims and that in some instances he would double down on his false claims and insist they were true—even when we and others have proven him wrong. As a result, we named him the ‘King of the Whoppers.’ It was the first time we have ever done it, and we hope the last.
Viral Spiral is a section of FactCheck.org devoted to internet rumors. “We get a lot of questions from readers asking us to fact check claims that they read on the internet. Hundreds a day,” Kiely noted. “It’s discouraging that the internet is used by some to spread misinformation, but on the other hand, the internet provides the resources people need to debunk bogus claims. So it is a double-edged sword. People need to be skeptical of what they read on the internet and use it to check on claims that they suspect may be wrong.”
SciCheck FactCheck.org’s SciCheck feature focuses exclusively on false and misleading scientific claims that are made by partisans to influence public policy. It was launched in January 2015 with a grant from the Stanton Foundation. The foundation was founded by the late Frank Stanton, president of CBS for 25 years, from 1946 to 1971.
Facebook: Debunking False Stories FactCheck.org is one of several organizations working with Facebook to debunk misinformation shared on the social media network. We provide several resources for readers: a guide on how to flag suspicious stories on Facebook and a list of websites that have carried false or satirical articles, as well as a video and story on how to spot false stories.
3) Washington Post‘s Fact Checker
The Post‘s Fact Checker blog is run by journalist Glenn Kessler. The site assesses claims made by politicians or political advocacy groups and gives out Pinochios based on its level of accuracy.
According to Kessler, one of the most widely read Fact Checker columns was a debunking of the Sean Hannity-backed claim that Trump lent his private plane to transport 200 Gulf War Marines back home.
A separate vertical of FactCheck.org, FlackCheck.org focuses on false claims in campaign ads and other advertising. The site debunks scientific and health claims.
Non-biased OpenSecrets, also known as the Center for Responsive Politics, tracks money in U.S. politics and its effect on elections and public policy. It allows you to easily track campaign spending and contributions without laboring through the Federal Election Commission’s website. OpenSecrets also tracks the money that the private sector, industry groups, unions, and other lobbyists spend to lobby Congress.
5) The Sunlight Foundation
The Sunlight Foundation is a nonprofit that led the way for public accountability data journalism. Its Hall of Justice offers state-by-state data sets on criminal justice.
Snopes.com is the go-to destination for debunking strange internet rumors. California couple Barbara and David Mikkelson founded the site in 1995 to uncover urban legends, rumors, and other questionable bits of folklore that had begun cropping up in chain emails and message boards.
Snopes has spent a large chunk of its time shedding light on Election 2016 rumors that originated from memes and fake news stories. A recent Snopes.com fact check revealed that a meme stating that all living ex-presidents are against Trump is not entirely true (though reports have emerged that George W.H. Bush will be voting for Clinton). Snopes.com also laid to rest a rumor that Clinton sent a body double in her place to a 9/11 memorial service, which reached momentum after #HillarysBodyDouble began to trend on Twitter.
7) Poynter Institute
The Poynter Institute is not a true fact checking service. They are however a leader in distinguished journalism and produce nothing but credible and evidence-based content. If Poynter reports it, you can count on it being true.
8) Flack Check
Headquartered at the Annenberg Public Policy Center of the University of Pennsylvania, Flack Check is the political literacy companion site to the award-winning FactCheck.org. The site provides resources designed to help viewers recognize flaws in arguments in general and political ads in particular.
11) Vote Smart
This is an excellent resource. Vote Smart reports on available facts about politicians at national and state levels. Choose your positions on numerous subjects, then let Vote Smart show your politicians’ positions relative to yours. Everything you need to know to be able to be an informed voter.
12) Full Fact (Great Britain & Europe)
Full Fact fights bad information. We’re a team of independent fact-checkers and campaigners who find, expose and counter the harm it does. The Full Fact Toolkit (look under “Effective”).
14) Guide to Misinformation and Fact-Checking
Thanks to Winston Christensen, Outreach Coordinator of Ohio University Online Master’s Program, for sharing with CFI Tampa Bay this excellent resource for your perusal:
“The best way to counter fake news is to conduct your own research. Through this guide, you’ll learn the basics about misinformation and fake news, how to evaluate sources of information, where to find reputable information, and where to look for fact-checking tools.
15) Lead Stories
Lead Stories is an innovative fact checking and debunking website at the intersection of big data and journalism that launched in 2015. Our editorial team used the technology provided by Trendolizer™ (patent granted) to quickly find the most trending content on the internet to write about but our mantra has always been “Just Because It’s Trending Doesn’t Mean It’s True.”
Nowadays we specifically hunt for trending stories from known fake news, satire or prank websites in order to debunk them as quickly as possible. Often we are one or two days ahead of other fact checking websites because we actively monitor the fake news ecosystem and we don’t have to wait for reader tips or reports before getting started on a story. You can read more about how we work here.
Since February 2019 we are actively part of Facebook’s partnership with third party fact checkers. Under the terms of this partnership we get access to listings of content that has been flagged as potentially false by Facebook’s systems or its users and we can decide independently if we want to fact check it or not. In addition to this we can enter our fact checks into a tool provided by Facebook and Facebook then uses our data to help slow down the spread of false information on its platform. Facebook pays us to perform this service for them but they have no say or influence over what we fact check or what our conclusions are, nor do they want to.
16) Science Feedback
Accurate information is the foundation of a functioning democracy. What we do: Science Feedback is a worldwide network of scientists sorting fact from fiction in science based media coverage. Our goal is to help readers know which news to trust.
Our job is to independently fact check statements by influencers, as well as reporting by other news outlets. We also vet the many widely-shared claims that rocket across the internet every day.
We additionally welcome our readers to send us claims to fact check. If you believe a story or statement deserves a fact check, or an error has been made with a published fact check, please contact our editor at email@example.com..
Our mission is a non-partisan one. We’re loyal to neither people nor parties — only the truth. And while the fact-checking industry continues to grow, there are still countless assertions that go unchecked. We exist to fill in the gaps.
We commit to being fully transparent with how we conduct our fact checks. Whenever possible, any reader should be able to retrace the steps we took in establishing the truth.
Find world fact-checkers near you
International organizations verified by The International Fact-Checking Network (IFCN):
Africa: Africa Check
Australia: The Conversation FactCheck; RMIT ABC Fact Check
Bosnia & Herzegovina: Istinomjer
Brazil: Aos Fatos; Agência Lupa; Agência Pública – Truco
France: France 24 Les Observateurs; Le Monde Décodeurs; Libération Désintox
Ireland: TheJournal.ie Fact Check
Italy: Pagella Politica
Georgia: FactCheck Georgia
Northern Ireland: FactCheck Northern Ireland
Portugal: Observador Fact Check
Spain: El Objetivo
Turkey: Dogruluk Payi; Teyit.org
USA: AP Fact Check; Climate Feedback; Factcheck.org; PolitiFact; Snopes; The Washington Post Fact Checker
From Ohio University: Credible Sources: Where to find reputable information
Though you can’t trust everything you read, there are still plenty of reliable places to find credible information on the internet.
- Associated Press News: A not-for-profit news agency and winner of 53 Pulitzer Prizes, the AP has an unincorporated structure with over 1,000 members, including U.S. newspapers and broadcasters.
- Reuters: Often the source of information for other news sites, Reuters has a sterling reputation and is owned by Thomson Reuters, which limits corporate influence.
- PBS: A nonprofit organization, the Public Broadcasting Service subjects content to a test to ensure it does not serve the interests of funders.
- The Economist: Despite the liberal bent of its editorials, The Economist has a reputation for reporting factual information free from bias.
- BBC: Primarily funded by a license fee paid by British households, BBC News is independent and regulated by a separate entity called Ofcom that receives direction from the British Parliament.
Some of the other publications with top ratings include The New York Times, Christian Science Monitor, and ProPublica. Although it’s not a news publication, C-SPAN is an excellent source of firsthand information about what’s happening in Washington.
Media bias fact-checking sites
These sites are to be taken with a grain of salt, if there can be accuracy of rating news media.
Media Bias/Fact Check https://mediabiasfactcheck.com/
Fact-checking resources: A guide to finding reliable answers to timely questions
September 8, 2014 The American Press Institute is curating this page of timely questions and vetted resources for fact checkers — along with our tips on how to navigate the data. We’ll update it often. Send us your suggestions and questions.
So, what would you like to know? Get started with these topics:
Campaigns and Voting Records
Social Media Users
Social Media and Web Content
Photos and Video
From Society of Professional Journalists (SPJ)
- Tips for Spotting a Fake News Story from Harvard University
- Tips and Strategies for Evaluating Fake News from William H. Hannon Library at LMU LA
- The Quick Guide to Spotting Fake News from Freedom Forum Institute
A list created by Dr. Jonathan Jarry at https://jonathanjarry.com/links/
(Des liens vers des ressources francophones sont publiés plus bas!)
“I’m sometimes asked for names of people and organizations who do good work separating sense from nonsense on matters of health. The following is not an exhaustive list but a starting point. If you’re hungry for more, you can see whom I follow on Twitter (though not everyone I follow spreads good information; I have to keep an eye out on Dr. Oz and his ilk, you know?)”
A website dedicated to providing an up-to-date critical analysis of pseudosciences like acupuncture and homeopathy and to criticizing bad studies in medicine. Coverage of the infiltration of alternative medicine in academia; book and movie reviews; articles about bad science in pediatrics and dentistry; and posts on how critical thinking skills can be applied to healthcare. Some of the posts seem to be written more for fellow healthcare professionals than a non-expert public, but well worth bookmarking. If it’s a health fad, they’ve probably covered it.
Quite possibly the best known critic of health-related pseudoscience in Canada. Health policy expert by day, writer and TV show host by night, and Twitterer… well, seemingly 24 hours a day.
Books: 1: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/12850570-the-cure-for-everything?from_search=true
3: TV Show (now on Netflix!): https://www.imdb.com/title/tt7532396/
McGill Office for Science and Society
Bias alert: I work there. For nearly 20 years, this (possibly one of a kind) office at McGill University, under the direction of Joe Schwarcz, Ph.D., has debunked quackery, investigated questionable claims, and provided the public with fun facts about chemistry.
1. Website: https://www.mcgill.ca/oss/
2. Cracked Science on YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLNo_TfnLoHWZBfovVLL9IYBECHUtlY314
3. Books: https://www.mcgill.ca/oss/books
4. Dr. Joe’s column in the Montreal Gazette: http://montrealgazette.com/author/joe-schwarcz-special-to-the-montreal-gazette
Dr. Joe’s radio show: https://soundcloud.com/cjad800/sets/dr-joe-schwarcz-show
Michael Marshall, The Good Thinking Society, and the Merseyside Skeptics Society
A fantastic network of resources from the United Kingdom on critical thinking and skeptical activism. They showed the world that “homeopathy, there’s nothing in it”; they pressured the government in England to stop funding it; and they continue to impress by being active defenders of good thinking.
1. Podcasts: InKredulous and Be Reasonable http://www.merseysideskeptics.org.uk/podcasts/
2. The Good Thinking Society:
Healthy But Smart
A website that looks into common health claims (does chamomille have any health benefits?) by essentially conducting systematic reviews of the evidence. Their in-depth coverage of the evidence makes good use of highlights and “bottom line” conclusions, and they are very transparent in the studies they looked at. Some of their articles tend to be overly generous with regards to lower-quality evidence but overall, well worth a look!
An incredible website dedicated to investigating rumours on the Internet. Did the American government admit that the flu shot was the most dangerous vaccine in America? Did this woman break her neck twerking? Did a brain-eating amoeba kill a woman who rinsed her sinuses with tap water? Basically, if your question is, “Is it true? I saw it on the Internet”, they’ve looked into it.
Britt Hermes and Naturopathic Diaries
An ex-naturopath and whistleblower. If you really want to know what naturopathy is about and what naturopaths learn in school, this is the place to go.
Because parental intuition does not always lead you to the right decision, these pro-science moms are leading the pack in showing you what’s dangerous and what’s not. Hormones in meat, genetically engineered food, vaccines, head lice and more!
An investigator and debunker of pseudoscience with a background in chemistry, Myles has made numerous, in-depth videos about AIDS denialism, the 9/11 Truther movement, the anti-vaccination movement, glyphosate, extreme health quackery and conspiracy theories of all types.
Nick Saik and Know Ideas Media
A filmmaker dedicated to highlighting good information about agriculture and our food supply.
A resource dedicated to fighting back against the mangling of scientific studies by the media. A great way to find out about the differences between observational and experimental studies, and about how common studies on nutrition get progressively distorted, from the researchers’ original article all the way to major journalistic publications.
Ryan pushes back against alternative medicine in Canada (particularly Ontario). Involved with Bad Science Watch and owner of the blog Post-Truth Health. Particularly active on Twitter.
Bad Science Watch: https://www.badsciencewatch.ca
Post-Truth Health: https://posttruthhealth.ca
Julia Belluz and Brian Resnick for Vox
Two of Vox’s journalists who are doing excellent work reporting on health, especially with the contextualization of new studies.
Julia Belluz on Vox: https://www.vox.com/authors/julia-belluz
Brian Resnick on Vox: https://www.vox.com/authors/brian-resnick
Medical sciences correspondent for CBC National News.
A cat on Twitter who comprehensively documents every bit of media coverage on health fraud.
A long-running magazine dedicated to promoting skepticism (facts and critical thinking).
Olivier Bernard, le Pharmachien
Un incontournable. A-t-il besoin d’être introduit?
Site web: http://lepharmachien.com
Émission télé: http://pharmachien.exploratv.ca/accueil/
Journaliste scientifique qui écrit pour L’Actualité.
Urgentologue et communicateur médical au sein de L’Actualité.
Journaliste au Soleil.
Média indépendant à but non lucratif qui couvre les nouvelles scientifiques et qui, par son Détecteur de rumeurs, vérifie les nouvelles fausses et un peu moins fausses qui se répandent dans les médias.
Site web: https://www.sciencepresse.qc.ca
Le Détecteur de rumeurs:
Magazine québécois qui informe le public en matière de science et technologie.
Site web: https://www.quebecscience.qc.ca
In this age of “fake news” and “alternative facts,” how do we know that the so-called fact-checking sources are accurate and honest arbiters of what is true and what is false?
This is a lengthy exposition by Peter Kruger, Updated Nov 12 – Quora http://bit.ly/38aglda
Resource Links for Skeptics courtesy of Tampa Bay Skeptics
- Committee for Skeptical Inquiry (CSI) — formerly known as CSICOP
- Skeptical Inquirer — CSI’s flagship journal
- CSI’s “Skeptical Resources” page
- CSI’s Listings of Skeptical Organizations (including other local groups similar to TBS)
- Skeptics Society — publishers of Skeptic magazine
- SkepticBlog — a collaboration among some of the most recognized names in promoting science, critical thinking, and skepticism
- The Skeptic’s Dictionary: A Guide for the New Millennium — an indispensable resource, by Robert T. Carroll, Ph.D.
- Prometheus Books — the leading publisher of skeptical works
- James Randi Educational Foundation (JREF)
- Bad Astronomy — website of Phil Plait
- Jim Lippard’s “Skeptical Information Links”
- Robert Sheaffer‘s website — expert on UFOs
- James Oberg‘s website — expert on U.S./Russian space programs and UFOs
- Gary Posner‘s website — founder of Tampa Bay Skeptics
- Skeptics UFO Newsletter (SUN) — Philip J. Klass’ cutting-edge publication (1989) was, as its masthead often proclaimed, “shockingly close to the -2003)
- National Council Against Health Fraud
- Quackwatch — by Stephen Barrett, M.D.
- American Council on Science and Health
- National Center for Science Education (NCSE) — creationism vs. evolution
- “Skeptical Quotes” — on the Citatum website
- Saucer Smear — Although not dependably “skeptical,” Jim Moseley’s Saucer Smear (until his death in 2012 “truth” in its reporting/gossip about UFO-related facts(?) and controversies.
- UFO Abduction Insurance — Members of Tampa Bay Skeptics are automatically covered by TBS’s $10-million group policy through the Saint Lawrence Agency, Altamonte Springs, Florida. However, for even greater security, you may wish to consider a policy of your very own!
Center for Inquiry Tampa Bay is a 501(c)(3) charitable and educational organization.
It is the Florida branch of the Center for Inquiry, Amherst, NY.
The Center for Inquiry strives to foster a secular society based on reason, science, freedom of inquiry, and humanist values. Our vision is a world where people value evidence and critical thinking, where superstition and prejudice subside, and where science and compassion guide public policy.”