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The Week in Fact-Checking: Check, rinse, repeat

You are likelier to think something is true if you’ve encountered it more often, a phenomenon psychologists call the “familiarity effect.” This has bedeviled efforts to root out widespread misperceptions because debunking them inevitably requires repeating them. A new study offers some hope (and tips) for fact-checkers.

Quote of the week
“On the internet there is an incalculable flow of erroneous information that can not be completely eliminated by checkers’ armies. The falsehoods will always find channels to reach those who cling to fantasies.” — Silvio Waisbord in The New York Times en Español 

Turkey’s faux fact-checkers
Turkey’s government harsh treatment of journalists is well-documented. Less covered is a campaign of misinformation orchestrated by bogus fact-checking groups with ties to the government. Read the report on Fact Check Armenia and Fact Checking Turkey.

WhatsApp: The ‘paper of record’?
In countries where people “are spoon-fed propaganda in the guise of news,” people apparently have gone to the other extreme by accepting as fact anything that shows up on their favorite digital platform. Journalist Sandip Roy writes about the “deadly consequences” of WhatsApp misinformation. And BuzzFeed’s Alexandre Aragão reports on some financial and personal consequences of viral WhatsApp rumors.

Fact-checking that body slam
Abby Ohlheiser takes a close look at how party politics played a role in whether people chose to believe that a reporter was assaulted by a Montana politician.

How to fake out fake news
If you know the four key ingredients that make fake news successful and viral, you can use them to fuel your own battle. This Nieman Lab article explains the process.

Finding fakery in unexpected places
A small-town newspaper in Texas is surprised (and unhappy) to get caught up in a Ukrainian fake news operation. And BuzzFeed explains how fake news sites are targeting, of all things, Indian restaurants.

Co-opting fake news in South East Asia
More than a few politicians across South East Asia have taken up the “fake news” insult with glee. Quartz explains why fakery is “super sticky” across the region.

Crowdfunding for fact-checking
Two fact-checking crowdfunders are in the final stretch. Full Fact, fresh off a £40,000 contribution from the Nuffield Foundation, has seven days to go to meet its £100,000 goal. Aos Fatos has five days left on its R$ 50,000 campaign.

Kenyan unemployment rate not 70 percent
Donald Trump is not the only one throwing around preposterously high figures for unemployment. Africa Check corrects a trade union official.

A festival to fight fake news
Byline Festival organizers say this year’s event is designed to “fight back against fake news” with workshops on fact-checking, verification, legal issues and “helping the public to become citizen editors.”

Some fact-checking fun
Comedy Central plans a special called “The Fake News with Ed Helms.” … Funny stuff needs fact-checking, too: Amy Sherman of PolitiFact investigates claims from a recent “Full Frontal with Samantha Bee” episode.

11 quick fact-checking links 
(1) Ohio Gov. John Kasich hosted “The View” and Democrats complained that no one fact-checked him.  (2) The “fake news” usage recommendations published by the Associated Press are in the latest edition of its Stylebook. (3) CNN asks a congressman for a retraction of his statement on a retraction that never happened. (4) Twitter jumps into the debate over fake followers of @realDonaldTrump.  (5) Apple hires an editor-in-chief to help fight fake news. (6) The Center for Investigative Reporting’s Reveal project has a new “fake news” guide.  (7) Apply to the African Fact-Checking Awards. (8) Here’s a tweet for thought re: media outlets’ responsibility to inform audiences of corrections and retractions. (9) U.S. election misinformation is doing very well indeed, thank you. (10) Zuckerberg is going to hear about “fake news” at Facebook’s annual stakeholder meeting. (11) PolitiFact’s Joshua Gillin profiles a prolific fake news publisher, a 45-year-old Maine man who possibly umpires Little League games.

Photos: Flickr Creative Commons

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