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The Week in Fact-Checking: PolitiFact looks back

PolitiFact’s championing of structure and ratings has informed the work of dozens of organizations around the world. As the website turns 10 this week, here’s a look at the global trend it helped inspire.

Quote of the week
“Democracy, like a muscle, needs to be worked out. …It means that news organizations must redouble their efforts not only to convey correct facts, but to present the contextual and fact-checking resources that readers need to understand what’s happening.” — Charlottesville, Va., Mayor Michael Signer, writing for The New York Times 

Serial fakery
The governing BJP party in India seems to have a serial problem with fake images. BOOM documents 10 instances of BJP representatives misusing photos on social media, including a cheap Iwo Jima knock-off.

The fake news ‘twins’
Illegitimate web sites designed to look like real ones are getting more sophisticated, warns the Guardian. And their major targets appear to be people who don’t speak the native language.

Breitbart’s (sort of) correction 
Right-wing publication Breitbart used a stock photo of German soccer player Lukas Podolski to accompany a story about gangs moving migrants on jet skis in Spain. The striker has threatened to sue, and Breitbart appended this “correction.”

Research corner 
Three new studies look at how information is absorbed when politics is a factor (H/T @JohnHolbein1). One study found that more information can make citizens less likely to vote purely by partisan preference, and another says they display “Bayesian learning” when it comes to political facts. Politicians on the other hand…


How business fights fake news…or not
Starbucks, Costco and Ulta are among the companies that have been targeted by fake news often enough that they have a battle plan. But then there are digital advertisers who don’t seem to mind the flood of fake news, says Quartz.

‘How I became fake news’
A Charlottesville man who witnessed the deadly crash during the city’s “Unite the Right” rally was targeted by conspiracy theorists. So were his parents.


The eclipse equation
Flat-earthers — those who don’t believe the Earth rotates and that the planet is shaped like a hockey puck — say the Aug. 20 eclipse is factual proof of their beliefs. Mic explains.

Tips for teachers and everyone else
Here’s what to do when the most powerful man in the world tweets misinformation just like your Aunt Mabel does: First, don’t retweet it; and then act swiftly to debunk it. … Mike Reilley of MediaShift explains how to use Google fact-checking tools in the classroom.

Quick debunks 
After the Barcelona attack last week, BuzzFeed moved fast to create and update a list of untrue stories being circulated about the alleged suspects, additional attacks and more. 

Is this the Facebook update that will fight fake news?
On Tuesday, the social network announced that it would make publishers’ logos more visible in News Feed. Some think this could help users distinguish real news from fake. Meanwhile, its PSA-style campaign, graphics unvaried, debuts in Norway.

9 quick fact-checking links
(1) Fact-checking internships are available at Full Fact. (2) Africa Check highlights the IFCN principles. (3) These are the facts journalists should know when covering the opioidepidemic. (4) Here’s one of the most popular hoaxes pulled off by one of the most popular fake news sites. (5) ProPublica looks at the problem of fake hate crimes. (6) Australian officials say Facebook’s moving too slowly on fake news. (7) WhatsApp’s looking for more ways to defeat fake news. (8) PolitiFact Texas has a sticker for you. (9) Meet the volunteers who hunt for “Trump bombshells.”

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