In 2016, U.S. fact-checkers drew record traffic — but the Pants-on-Fire candidate still became the Pants-on-Fire president. This complicated reality could have led to big changes to the ways fact-checking is conducted in America. Yet the formats, tone and methods adopted by fact-checkers have barely changed since Trump’s inauguration. Read about the first 100 days of Trump’s presidency from a fact-checker’s perspective.
Quote of the week
“Fake news is shaping up to be a serious threat to democracy, as you can’t be guided by the will of the people when they’re misinformed. At least that’s the way it’s supposed to work, although in practice modern democracies tend to be oligarchies in disguise with the powerful few lying to the masses who place more stock in feelpinions than facts anyway.” — Adam Turner in the Sydney Morning Herald
The technology of fact-checking
The Google News creator says there are ways social media platforms can check and correct misinformation in real time. And The New York Times writes about automated fact-checking, but omits important efforts.
Final fact checks from France
On Wednesday night, the contenders for France’s presidency went head to head in the final debate before the second round of voting on Sunday. Le Monde’s fact-checking unit summarized it thus: “Marine Le Pen indulged in an onslaught of approximations, lies, untruths and hoaxes aimed at her opponent, while Emmanuel Macron was more sober.” Also from France, a new study seems to indicate that fact-checking can improve understanding but not change voting intentions. (Similar findings in an earlier study on the U.S.)
No money, please, we’re fact-checkers
Correctiv, the only announced partner for Facebook’s third-party fact-checking work in Germany, doesn’t want the social network’s money. “If Facebook starts paying you, then you are dependent,” said its chief editor to the Financial Times. “When you’re in such a situation, they can tell you what to do, and when you’re working as a fact-checker you need to work independently.”
Who are you calling fake news?
CNN refused to air President Trump’s not-a-campaign ad, which contained this frame. Is that wise?
Three steps for reducing fake news
Academics at Harvard and Northeastern universities put together the proceedings of a “fake news” conference held in February. Their recommendations include citing more conservative voices, better academic-journalistic collaboration and more data from social platforms. Here’s the report and key excerpts.
How ‘corporate citizens’ can fight fakery
Good advertisers do business with good news organizations, says John Avlon in the Daily Beast. “Supporting real news sites—whether national, local, or political—is a sign of social responsibility.”
‘The King of Fake News’ speaks
The man behind “National Report” and several other fake news sites tells the story behind his career of deception and has some tips for journalists on dealing with sites like his. Read his confession in Nieman Reports.
Facebook drops ‘fake news’
A mere four months after rolling out tools specifically meant to address “fake news,” Facebook has abandoned the term. First, Adam Mosseri used the term “false news” at the International Journalism Festival. Now Facebook Security writes that “the use and misuse of the term ‘fake news’ can be problematic because, without common definitions, we cannot understand or fully address these issues.” (Incidentally, it is also hard to understand the issues if Facebook doesn’t share more data.)
African fact-checking awards, round 4
Through its fact-checking awards, now in their fourth year, Africa Check encourages other journalists around the continent to begin and expand fact-checking. Here are a few thoughts from past winners.
Follow the money
Storyful, a content verification unit of News Corp, and online analytics company Moat, teamed up to launch a fake news tracker aimed at choking these sites’ advertising revenue.
Madonna says a new screenplay about her life is “all lies,” so the BBC did some fact-checking. … This podcast fact-checks Hollywood legends and tales “by researching them from all angles.”
13 quick fact-checking links
(1) Will this new law help kids get smarter about bad information on the Internet? (2) Fact-checkers crowd-fund in Brazil and the United Kingdom. (3) Climate Feedback took a look at that Bret Stephen’s op-ed on climate change and found very few facts. (4) The International Fact-Checking Day lesson plan had a potential reach of 120,000 students. (5) A great dissection (in Italian) of whether ‘post-truth’ means anything. (6) Facebook gave up the term ‘fake news,’ see above, but Italian media didn’t notice. (7) ICYMI: Did fake news sway Jakarta’s mayoral election? (8) Fact-checking science? Here’s a free workshop in St. Petersburg, Fla. (9) Right or wrong, you’re getting Trump tweets. (10) Seattle librarians launch a “Fake News Survival Guide.” (11) Misinformation plagues a California police department. (12) The Knight Center and Lupa launch a MOOC on fact-checking in Portuguese. (13) Fake news is at the heart of the Star Wars saga? Link ≠ endorse.