The Week in Fact-Checking: Don’t give up on the fact-resistant
Americans’ infatuation with misinformation — as depicted in this widely viewed Vox video — could make a fact-checker despair. But there are ways to potentially reach the fact-resistant, and we’d like to see fact-checkers give them a try.
Quote of the week
“it is also tempting to dismiss the impact that actual fake news has on those who read it uncritically and allow it to feed, water and fertilize the unexamined bias and bigotry that frames their worldview. However ― given the very real threat the toxin of that fertilized polarization poses to the foundations of our democracy ― we ignore it at our peril.” — Episcopal priest Susan Russell, writing for HuffPo
Encouraging noises, but still no data, from Facebook
A Facebook product manager told POLITICO that “We have seen data that, when a story is flagged by a third party fact-checker, it reduces the likelihood that somebody will share that story.” The publication adds that “She declined, though, to provide any specific numbers.”
Hackers target Verrit fact-checking site — but is it, really?
We’re all for innovations in fact-checking, like shareable cards and authentication codes. But is Verrit -— targeted by hackers and haters alike this week — actually a fact-checking site, as advertised?
Smart kids vs. fake news: Guess who won?
Kids enrolled in the Newseum’s “Fighting Fake News” course discovered that fact-checking is hard work, and that even a “super-smart” student can be tempted to give up.
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Once again: Fake news is nothing new
Why do we keep hearing about the smarmy history of fake news? Is it supposed to make us feel better? Somehow, we just feel worse.
Behind a ‘malignant’ fake news empire
The Sunday Times and an African consortium of investigative reporters examined the organizations behind South Africa’s propaganda war. The network has “entered a new phase of heightened activity.”
The National Weather Service fights back
The U.S. agency tasked with tracking hurricanes is having none of the fake posts about Irma using the NWS logo — and has advised followers how to spot the imposters.
Match your crowdfunding campaign
The IFCN is matching at least $85,000 worth of crowdfunding hauls from fact-checking projects around the world over the next 30 months. Find out more and apply here.
No backfire effect (again) and the importance of critical thinking
At least five recent studies have relevant findings for fact-checkers. One study found that voters gradually change their opinions when presented with the facts. Another indicates that critical thinking, rather than partisanship, determines a person’s likelihood to fall for fake news.
#FakeClownFacts was trending on Twitter last week, and we learned that clowns hunted reindeer to extinction, clowns are happy even when they’re alone, they wear big shoes because they have big hearts, and more.
11 quick fact-checking links
(1) St. Louis remembers a favorite fact-checker. (2) Why do people share hoaxes during a natural disaster? (3) Penn State gets a grant to fight fake news. (4) Mark Cuban invests in the UK’s Factmata. (5) Chequeado is hiring a new editor. (6) Philippine government officials are urging the country’s young people to stop sharing misinformation. (7) The African Fact-Checking Awards drew in a record 159 entries. (8) Will Snap’s fact-checking make business sense? (9) Craig Silverman and “fake news” are one of the top 50 ideas blowing up American politics, per POLITICO. (10) The International Fact-Checking Network has two new staffers. (10) The International Fact-Checking Network has two new staffers. (11) The Internet Archive’s Face-O-Matic’s data is now available for downloading and analysis.