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Home » Is This Legit: A media literacy skills recap

Is This Legit: A media literacy skills recap

Have you ever encountered something suspicious online and wondered: “Is this legit?” 

Welcome to our Season 3 final episode of Is This Legit. Maybe you’ve followed the content we’ve created at MediaWise through YouTube and TikTok and used some media literacy tips we’ve shared. Or perhaps it’s your first time reading one of our articles on Poynter’s website. Either way, this season finale will highlight some of the skills we’ve taught over the year – and give you some activities to practice what you’ve learned. 

Misinformation is all over social media – and it’s our job to sort fact from fiction to put a stop to it. So, let’s get started.

The first thing you should do when coming across a suspicious meme or video is to check your emotional reaction. Do you feel anger, fear, disappointment, sadness or anxiety? You might be looking at misinformation. Posts that trigger emotion are designed to get people to share them, so it’s best to pause, take a deep breath and do some fact-checking first

Watch how one of our fact-checkers, Saahil, debunked this claim about Fentanyl and Halloween candy.


When researching a claim, these three questions from the Stanford History Education Group are a great starting place:

  1. Who is behind the information?
  2. What is the evidence?
  3. What do other sources say?

Teen fact-checker Clara used these questions to check out this Tweet that said young boys always wore dresses back in the day. Watch as she figures out who is behind the information.


Go directly to the primary or original source mentioned in a post or article to answer the second question, “What’s the evidence?” This is called reading upstream, which you can do by clicking any hyperlinks in an article to follow upstream and see if the context matches what the video or post claims. This skill is also helpful when using Wikipedia.

Teen fact-checker Katherine went to a primary source to debunk a claim that “a deadly fungus is taking over America.”


Now for the third question: What do other sources say? Lateral reading is when you leave the site where you found a claim, do a keyword search for the person or claim you’re fact-checking, and then open a new tab in your browser for each link you click on. Click through the tabs and read across the pages “laterally” to find credible information.

Teen fact-checker Bella uses lateral reading to investigate the persistent claim that the Denver airport has an underground bunker to “house elites” during the apocalypse, a persistent conspiracy theory that won’t go away. 


“Deepfakes” are a new source of misinformation. These are digitally manipulated videos that make it look like someone said or did something they didn’t. Here’s how fact-checker Sophia debunked some weird TikToks about Keanu Reeves.


Still, images can also be digitally manipulated. Our fact-checker Jessai debunked this claim about Beyonce being chased by a camel by doing a reverse image search. That’s when you take a screenshot of an image, drop it into a search engine and find out where else it may have appeared and when. Let’s take a look.


We covered some valuable tips for sorting fact from fiction online. But if you’d like to learn more, follow us at @mediawise on YouTube, TikTok and Twitter.

Thank you for tuning in to this wrap-up article for season 3 of Is This Legit. We hope you’ve enjoyed our videos and hope to see you for Season 4.

NOTE TO TEACHERS: This article is featured in a free, one-hour lesson plan that reviews some of the media literacy skills taught throughout the year and offers activities for students to practice what they’ve learned. The lesson is available through PBS LearningMedia, and includes a lesson summary and a handout, among other resources. 

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