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Evaluating Information: Social Media

Evaluating Social Media

Finding Credible information on Social Media sites can be a daunting task. Our evaluation checklist on our the 'getting started' tab is still relevant when evaluating whether to use information from a social media site. Below are some further tips and guidelines on evaluating social media content.

Evaluating Social Media Checklist

  • Content -  Can you confirm the accuracy of the information against other sources? Can you find similar content elsewhere?
  • Reliability - Is the source of the information reliable?  Is the person who is posting the content an expert in the area? Check out their user profile to find some background information on the author. Does this person or organisation have expertise in the area. Does this person, organisation or root web address of their account appear in WIkipedia? Wikipedia can be a useful starting point in finding background information on a person or organisation.
  • Location - where is the person sharing the information located? Is the person in the actual place they are tweeting about. 
  • Context - Does this person usually tweet/post information about this issue. Have look through their past posts.
  • Network - who follows this person? Looking at a person's followers may help confirm their credibility as a source.
  • Images - Examine any images posted. It is possible sometimes to find the original context of an image by using sites such at tineye or google images to do a reverse image search.
  • Age of Account - How long has the social media account been in operation?


Source: John Hopkins Sheridan libraries (2020) Evaluating social media: evaluating information. Available at: (Accessed: 10 November 2020)


Some Social Media posts are posted by Bots. Do not use a source if you are not sure if the post is from an actual person or a Bot.

For more information check out the Atlantic Council’s Digital Forensic Research Lab - DRFLab.

Image Source <a href="">Business vector created by upklyak -</a>

Types of Social Media


Examples of the different types of Social Media sites include:  

  • Social Networking Sites: Facebook, Twitter, Linkedin
  • Media/Image Sharing Sites: Instagram, Snapchat, Pinterest
  • Video sharing sites: Youtube, Vimeo, TikToK
  • Discussion forums: Quora, Reddit
  • Blogging and publishing networks: Tumblr, Wordpress

mage Source <a href="">Background vector created by iuriimotov -</a>

Citing Social Media Sources

Please click on the style guide for the referencing style that you use:

Harvard style guide

APA Style guide