The Week in Fact-Checking: Facebook is helping more fact-checkers in more places, but is it enough?

In the past month, Facebook has doubled the number of countries using its fact-checking tool. The program, arguably Facebook’s most visible effort to combat fake news on the platform, is now active in India, Mexico, Indonesia, the Philippines and Colombia. Previously, it was only available to fact-checkers in the United States and four European countries.

While fact-checkers say the tool’s growth outside the West is a step in the right direction for fighting misinformation, it comes with limitations. In India, BOOM will only be able to fact-check English stories in the state of Karnataka, and there are still no partner organizations on the African continent. Facebook told Poynter they’re working to expand the program to more countries soon, but would not identify them.

Research you can use

  • Artificial intelligence can be a two-edged sword when it comes to misinformation, says a researcher from the Computational Propaganda Project.
  • Journalist’s Resource has rounded up some of the latest research on misinformation.
  • Who reads fact-checking and why? Here’s what British fact-checking outlet Full Fact found in its first large-scale audience report.

This is how we do it

This is bad

  • Anatomy of a mistake: How the wrong photo of a civil rights icon was distributed and why it still remains on some websites.
  • Some interesting information is emerging from the Brexit misinformation investigation, including a comparison between Hitler and President Trump’s campaign.
  • Which is scarier: political campaigns that distribute misinformation about their opponents, or the opponents who “correct” them?

Memes: Fun, entertaining, or one of the things that ruined the Internet?

A closer look

  • CNET says we’re all ignoring one of the biggest misinformation problems on social media: The memes.
  • Many things ruined the Internet, with fake news and misinformation among the biggest offenders. New York Magazine’s “Select All” column offers apologies from Internet pioneers who “are aghast at what they created.”
  • When a doctor sued a popular Italian debunking site, a judge ordered the entire thing offline. Here’s what happened.

Coming up

  • Next week is the Web Conference in Lyon, France, which has an entire day dedicated to misinformation research.
  • April 29 is the deadline to apply for The TruthBuzz fellowships, which will embed five journalists in newsrooms to improve the reach and impact of fact-checking.
  • May 31 is the deadline to submit ideas for the Misinformation Solutions Forum sponsored by the Rita Allen Foundation.

If you read one more thing

A filmmaker in Los Angeles wondered if he could make a viral video. This month he did, on his first try. Gizmodo talks with Andrew Oleck about his motivations (and points out how you can tell the video’s a fake).

10 quick fact-checking links

  1. Truth Goggles are apparently coming back — this time to help package factual content for partisan readers.
  2. U.S. Ambassador Nikki Haley accuses Russia of orchestrating a “disinformation campaign” about chemical attacks on Syrian children. Here are some of the things that got traction online.
  3. Trolls on 4chan are spreading fake Starbucks coupons for black customers following news that the chain would host mandatory “racial-bias education.”
  4. U.S. Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke regularly hosted conspiracy theorists on his radio show, CNN reported.
  5. Facebook’s privacy changes could make it harder for people to research the platform.
  6. Missed the International Journalism Festival? You can replay the panels onfact-checking.
  7. This wrongly attributed video of an airplane crash earned more views on Facebook even after Agence France Press debunked it.
  8. A sentiment analysis found that the two-word terms that most accompany Facebook coverage are “fake news” and “Cambridge Analytica.” In 2004, they were “college students” and “waste time.”
  9. The latest American Bar Association Legal Fact Check is a timely look at attorney-client privilege.
  10. Fergus Bell says we need to spend less time defining what “fake news” means and more time working on the problem — collaboratively.
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