The Week in Fact-Checking: Facts deserve a holiday

On April 2 not coincidentally the day after April Fool’s Day we’ll celebrate the inaugural International Fact-Checking Day. The initiative is a collaboration by fact-checkers and journalism organizations from around the world, with a goal to enlist the public in the fight against misinformation. Check out the promo video featuring some of the world’s fact-checkers, and find out below what you can do.

Use the lesson plan for teachers
Designed by fact-checkers, endorsed by news literacy experts. The International Fact-Checking Day lesson plan is available in six languages, with more translations coming. Suitable for teens and young adults, the lesson lasts 75 minutes in its entirety but can be broken up into three separate components. (Thanks to Gianluca Costantini for his illustrations.)

Refine/refresh your fact-checking skills
If you’re here, you probably have the basics of fact-checking mastered. But refreshing your memory can’t hurt, can it? On you’ll find how-to’s for fact-checking political claims, spotting fake news sites and social media accounts, debunking urban legends and verifying photos or videos.

Hold a trivia night!
Fighting fake news can be fun with our trivia quiz. Sponsor one at your local school, library or bar, and check our map to see if there’s a trivia competition near you.

Fact-check Wikipedia entries
Some people rely on Wikipedia — but Wikipedia relies on people, too. With this simple guide, see how you can help fix its citations.

Celebrate fact-checking
On this map you can find a growing list of activities being held on or around April 2 to celebrate fact-checking. Don’t see anything near you? Organize something and register it through the online form.

Quote of the week
“It is no small irony that the communications systems that we built…are imperiled, both by those who would explode the social norms of civic discourse for their ideological ends, and through resultant attempts to control extreme or misleading expression. It is easy to find fault with the technologies that facilitate our collective civic life. It is much more difficult to look at our civic life as a whole and determine whether and how it may be failing.” Ivan Siegal, executive director, Global Voices

Norwegian media rivals unite over fact-checking
Imagine that The New York Times, The Washington Post and PBS launched a joint fact-checking project. That is, roughly speaking, what happened in Norway earlier this week.

Fact-checking the French presidential debate
As the campaign heats up in France, fact-checkers assessed the truthfulness of claims made by presidential candidates in this week’s debate. Find their fact checks on Le Monde and Libération.

Repetita iuvant?
New evidence seems to run counter to previous studies that advise journalists not to repeat a falsehood when fact-checking said falsehood.

Fact-checking via WhatsApp
La Silla Vacia, a digital news outlet in Colombia, launched a service that fact-checks viral chain messages that circulate on the WhatsApp messaging platform. The journalists say they receive about 15 chains a week — and they ask readers to disseminate the fact checks to their friends.

North Carolina to the Internet: You can’t fool us
More than 75 percent of North Carolinians say they come across “fake news” on a regular basis. But no worries: Almost 82 percent say they’re good at spotting fakery on the Internet. For the other 18 percent, presumably, the state’s Davidson College has launched a free, two-week online course called “The Story of Fake News.”

What the Middle East can teach us about fake news
An expert on the Middle East has a theory about why so many Americans — besides North Carolina, of course — believe blatant falsehoods and conspiracy theories. He blames poor education in civics.

Lying blogger convicted 
Belle Gibson, the blogger who fooled thousands of followers with fake stories about her cancer diagnosis, has been found guilty in a Melbourne court.

Now that you mention it, it does look a little flat.

Maybe Shaq could ask SciCheck about the flat Earth thing?
This week,’s SciCheck launched a question-and-answer feature. We suggest that Shaquille O’Neal and his basketball friends submit a question to clear up their confusion over the shape of the earth.

Fact-checking fun
The Daily Show’s Trevor Noah explains “live-lying,” which is the opposite of live fact-checking.

10 quick fact-checking links
(1) Africa Check debunks an implausible-but-viral story about bananas and the AIDS virus. (2) The history of Facebook and fake news, as told by TechCrunch. (3) A psychology expert is concerned that the media and others will suffer from exhaustion after a prolonged period of rebutting government untruths. (4) A “news junkie” teacher tackles misinformation in her community. (5) Facebook is now using misinformation pop-ups; here’s how it works. (6) Look who’s fact-checking now. (7) PolitiFact’s Louis Jacobson wins an award. (8) Tanzania suspends journalists over fake news. (8) Syracuse dean Lorraine Branham says this could be a “Watergate moment” for today’s students. (9) ESPN fact-checks five Sweet 16 myths. (10) A public radio listener writes a poem about fake news.

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