Insights, tools and research to advance journalism

The Week in Fact-Checking: Facebook therapy, a new cookbook, Sweden’s fake news problem

It’s been a rocky year or so for Facebook’s and fact-checkers’ efforts to combat fake news on the platform. The Buzzsumo-crunching Craig Silverman found in December that engagement for major fake news stories was doing just great, thank you very much. Academics Guess, Nyhan and Reifler determined Facebook is by far the key referrer to fake news websites.

But there may be a light in the end of the tunnel: At an IFCN-brokered meeting in Menlo Park on Feb. 6, Facebook product manager Tessa Lyons promises to discuss data that will help “understand the actual impact and results of the partnership.” We’ll see.

Research you can use

This is how we do it

  • In Iran, verifying details about the recent demonstrations over the economy can be challenging for journalists and fact-checkers. Here’s why.
  • The Public Data Lab, with support from First Draft, has released a new cookbookfor investigating fake news.
  • How does journalism work? ProPublica explains.


  • A photo intern at the Tampa Bay Times recounts what it was like to see one of her photos used for a viral hoax about DACA recipients.
  • This is how a fake-news site works during a breaking news story.
  • Swedish officials worry about how fake news will impact the country’s 2018 elections.  

This is fun

Comedian Steven Colbert is promoting President Trump’s “fake news awards” with full-page advertisements. (Meanwhile, an attorney warns that White House officials could get into legal trouble if they help Trump with his “contest.”)

Coming up

  • Global Fact V deadline is now Feb 14, not Feb 28Sign up here.
  • Want to turn your own big idea into reality? The IFCN is putting $50,000 towards paradigm-shifting innovations in fact-checking.
  • In case you didn’t notice, we redesigned this newsletter for the new year. Love it? Hate it? Let us know what you think.

Quick fact-checking links

Binge-watch these examples of video fact-checking around the world.  //  The Boston Globe has Facebook’s fake news problem on its list of New Year’s resolutions.  //  Facebook is funding two news literacy projects in Brazil ahead of this year’s elections.  //  Why Twitter polls should have warning labels.  //  Pic Pedant can’t stop, won’t stop.  //  Politico has a pro and con debate over the French president’s proposed laws on misinformation.  //  PolitiFact wrote a fact-checkers’ guide to Michael Wolff’s “Fire and Fury: Inside the Trump White House.”  //  Trump blocked this reporter on Twitter for fact-checking him, but that’s okay.


Need to Know newsletter

The smart way to start your day

Each morning we scour the web for fresh useful insights in our Need to Know newsletter. Sign up below.

The American Press Institute

Our mission

We help transform news organizations for an audience-centered future.

Our programs for publishers focus on four things:

  • 1. Understand your audience
  • 2. Get your audience to pay
  • 3. Transform your culture
  • 4. Do your best journalism
  • Find out more about API »

API solutions for publishers

What we can do for you

API offers a suite of original tools and services for solving the biggest challenges in news:

  • Decide what beats to cover and how
  • Identify and develop the skills you need
  • Assess and improve your culture
  • Drive more reader revenue
  • Drive loyalty through accountability journalism
  • Make analytics work for you
  • Contact us to find out how »