The Week in Fact-Checking: Blue Monday isn’t a thing but here are some other things

Our top story this week: Mariya Gabriel, the European Commissioner in charge of Digital Economy and Society, kickstarted on Monday the first meeting of the EU’s High Level Group on fake news.

Alongside a series of public events, the High Level Group’s report will inform a communication from the Commission on the topic expected for April. Communications are policy documents, not legislation, which means action is unlikely to be drastic. (The IFCN is represented and is bringing these recommendations.)

Now on with some highlights from the week in fact-checking and accountability journalism:

This is how we do it

  • In Argentina, Chequeado has launched an automated fact-checking platform. It scans 25 media outlets for claims and matches them against a database of fact checks.
  • Quartz writes about two Kenyan startups that are fighting misinformation with robots, deep data dives and media literacy.
  • If you live in Milan or Rome and want to learn how to become a fact-checker, you’re in luck.

Research you can use

A closer look

  • Can fake news be outlawed? Emmanuel Macron seems to think so, but here’s one take on why misinformation merits a more global solution.
  • Craig Silverman, Claire Wardle and Alexios Mantzarlis talk fake news on a new BBC radio series.
  • Fake news is here to stay, says a U.K. academic. So now what do we do?


  • Slovak social media editor Filip Struharik tells The New York Times that Facebook’s latest News Feed changes could help fake news be even faker. On the other hand, this guy in Forbes couldn’t be happier about it.
  • Conservative outlets chastised Google for allegedly targeting them with fact checks in search results. But that’s not really what’s going on.
  • new Gallup survey reveals that 42 percent of Republicans think negative — but accurate — stories about politicians and political groups are always “fake news.” Meanwhile, 17 percent of Democrats think similarly.

This is fun

  • Ethan Alter, a Yahoo entertainment writer, fact-checks Liam Neeson’s commute in “The Commuter.”
  • Blue Monday is not a thing.
  • SPJ Florida created a fake news game show based on real fake news stories (whew) earlier this year to educate people about misinformation.

If you read one more thing

Last night Donald Trump announced his “fake news awards.” Here’s why they make it harder to actually address misinformation.

Quick fact-checking links

Matteo Salvini and Pagella Politica get in a factual tiff about mandatory vaccination laws.  //  The AP Fact Check is now on Twitter.  //  Miami columnist Leonard Pitts Jr. says he was wrong about the power of fact-checking.  //  “Alternative fakten” is Germany’s unword of the year.  //  Turns out that verifying a design’s authenticity is pretty hard.  //  Marine Le Pen’s campaign team created a fake video during the presidential race that attacked journalists.  //  Chequeado’s GIFs are getting papal.  //  Bogus Black Lives Matter stories keep reappearing.  //  Here’s one thing to remember.  //  A Fox News anchor hits President Trump with “brutal” fact check.  //  Not everyone is happy about how that Aziz Ansari storywas fact-checked.  //  U.S. Sen. John McCain denounces attacks on media and warns against shuttering “one of the key pillars of democracy.”

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