Everyone use websites daily in their working lives. As web-users we use web-sites extensively as background research tools in the production of work. Each website, however, reflects the bias of its creator or creators and if we use these without critical thought and evaluation we can end up blindly accepting false truths. This holds true regardless of whether you are researching religion and use a church website or are looking at terrorism and follow without question the concepts or facts illustrated.
Wikipedia is not accepted as a credible resource because of the way that it is constructed by contributors. The construction of the material in Wikipedia is supposed to be sourced and then verified by multiple contributors, however, this does not mean that pages are always properly edited, constructed or referenced.
Multiple contributors can have a consistent bias which can be left uncorrected.
Fogg states that “Libertarians and others advocate that Web surfers examine who the author is, how timely the content is, and how the content compares with similar content from trusted sources, such as experts in the field” (Fogg, 2003). This illustrates the problem with Wikipedia. Wikipedia does not enable you necessarily to compare and check the sources all the time.
The following was found on http://www.consumerwebwatch.org/pdfs/princeton.pdf:
“Consumer Reports WebWatch obtained telephone
interviews with 1,501 U.S.-based adult Internet
users and discovered:
■ Nine out of 10 U.S Internet users over 18
have made changes to their behavior due to
fear of identity theft.
■ Of those changes, 30 percent say they have
reduced their overall use of the Internet.
■ 25 percent say they stopped buying things
■ Among those who shop online, 29 percent say
have cut back on how often they buy things.”
The following was found on http://www.consumerwebwatch.org/dynamic/web-credibility-reports-experts-vs-online-abstract.cfm:
“The online consumers in the Stanford PTL study and our expert panel of evaluators diverged greatly in their credibility assessment criteria. Overall, our experts were far less concerned about visual appeal as a marker of credibility than the Stanford PTL consumers, and they were more concerned about the quality of a site’s information.”
- There will be and have been high profile cases were the web is shown to be misleading or detrimental.
- The web is used and will be used for fraud.
- The web will be and has been used nefariously e.g posting pornographic information on a dead child’s Facebook page.
- Web links re-direct users to links which can download corrupting soft ware or malware on to their computer. For example the 2011 China Google fiasco.
- Phishing or internet theft affects millions of people everyday and has a negative effect on peoples confidence not to mention businesses and the economy.
- Pornographic images are easily accessible to children by accident on the internet.
- Anonymity can be detrimental to credibility. The fact that people can publish under a persona means that individuals can be left unaccountable, and allows for the introduction of malicious posts.
- Google has earned credibility. It is trusted by millions as their search engine.
- The BBC has reputable credibility. The BBC has earn a reputation for breaking accurate world news.
- Wikipedia has presumed credibility. It is presumed to be accrurate and informative.
- Black Swan Theatre Company’s website has surface credibility because it looks professionally designed.