Insights, tools and research to advance journalism

The Week in Fact-Checking: The EU sees you, fake news

“Denying that the Holocaust happened is the biggest, most extraordinary and unacceptable fake news,” said the President of the Italian Chamber of Deputies at a recent parliamentary committee hearing. While U.S. media were criticizing Facebook and Google for their role in the fake news problem last summer, the wheels turned slower in European institutions. Read more on Poynter.

Quote of the week
“Democracies use common sets of facts to solve problems. Fake news puts toxic facts into our heads. When we let that happen, all sorts of things go wrong. …Without facts, the worst evils become possible.” — Eric Newton, Arizona State University

A roundup from Global Fact 4
There’s a lot to unpack from the Fourth Global Fact-Checking Summit, held last week in Madrid with about 200 fact-checkers from 53 countries. Here are some links for those who missed it: (1) The video that opened the conference. (2) A look at some of the new players in this field worldwide. (3) Local host Ana Pastor on why fact-checking matters. (4) The nth call for Facebook and Google to share more data.  (5) Lessons from collaborative fact-checking projects. (6) Notes from the Duke Reporters’ Lab staff (Day 1Day 2 and Day 3); thoughts from the editors of PolitiFactThe Conversation Fact Check, FactCheckNI and from a Turkish professor.

Fact-checking videos
A new Google Chrome plug-in helps journalists more quickly verify whether a video is real or fake. The EU-funded InVid has launched in open beta.

Wikipedians, prepare thyselves
The Wikimedia Foundation is bracing for another decade or so of misinformation and propaganda. A report written by Nancy Watzman outlines a strategy for the future.

If you know ‘persons unknown,’ read this
Lawyers are trying to stop a social media misinformation campaign that targets a British businessman. But because no one’s sure who’s behind the misinformation, an injunction was filed against “persons unknown.” It appears to have been effective.

Flat-Earthers unite
“Science denialism” and the Internet are helping to stoke the growing numbers of people who believe the earth is flat. Read about a Denver group, including children, that holds regular meetups.

Happy Birthday to Aos Fatos
Aos Fatos turns two, and founder Tai Nalon reflects on the strengths and weakness of the Brazilian fact-checking project.

Tips for fact-checking
The Engine Room Library has a newly updated guide for fact-checking and research. … This new game tests your ability to tell fake news headlines from real news headlines. … Watch this Facebook video on fake news before posting any more videos on Facebook. … Looking for public government data? It may be easier to find on this website.

…and fact-checking tips
Someone sent the Rachel Maddow show “an unbelievably red hot” tip through the show’s tip website. It turned out to be false, and Maddow is warning others to be wary of fake tips.

Legal battle looms over Snopes
A courtroom drama for the debunking world: The owner of Snopes is locked in a legal battle with a small digital services company for control of the hoax-busting site.

Bad bots
Bots “have turned Twitter into a powerful political disinformation platform,” say the researchers behind a study of bots that spread misinformation about French and U.S. political candidates.

12 quick fact-checking links 
(1) Why they invested: Omidyar Network explains the $1 million grant to the International Fact-Checking Network. (2) Africa Check is now on WhatsApp. (3) A brief history of climate denialism in mainstream media. (4) Maybe fact-check your headline first? (5) The Washington Post’s most popular fact-checks of the year, so far.  (6) Faked audio is  “the next frontier in fake news.”  H/T Aaron Sharockman.  (7)  Meet the producer who’s fact-checked 244 documentary films. (8) Fighting fake news in India. (9) Here are the problemswith all those solutions to win the war on misinformation. (10) Can you name two fake news sources that a majority of people think are real? (11) In a new poll from the Media Insight Project, 31 percent of Democrats say they believe the news media are “very accurate” but only 8 percent of Republicans had that response. (12) PBS goes deep inside Russia’s disinformation campaign.

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.

Featured topics

Go deeper on…

Dive deep on everything we produce about these key topics.

Strategy Studies

The best practices for innovation within news organizations

This Strategy Study presents examples and insights about journalism innovation, offering actionable advice and methods to move your journalism and business forward.