The Week in Fact-Checking: Facebook is shaking things up. Or maybe it’s just a jiggle.
Almost eight months into its partnership with third-party fact-checkers, Facebook is shaking things up. The social network says it will be using “updated machine learning” to detect more potential fakes to flag to fact-checkers. Fact checks will also be appearing more often in related articles. Fact-checkers are being paid, a spokeswoman confirmed to The Wall Street Journal. (Meanwhile in Kenya, the company published its tips to fight false news in a full page ad, which made some observers detect hypocrisy).
Quote of the week
“The age of the internet, even with all of its problems, empowers individuals to learn the truth, spread it, gather others who agree with your point of view and then use reason-based argument as a basis for bringing about rational change that can save the future of our civilization. I don’t think that is a Pollyanna-ish view.” — Al Gore, former U.S. vice president, on KPCC
The facts behind the rhetoric
Neat visualization from ABS-CBN in the Philippines.
PolitiFact’s big 1-0
PolitiFact editor Angie Holan reflects on 10 years of fact-checking at the Pulitzer prize-winning project of the Poynter-owned Tampa Bay Times. “‘Politi-What?’ press secretaries would say when I called,” Holan recollects. Name recognition is no longer a problem, she adds, but political discourse has changed dramatically,
The gamification of facts
On the IFCN listserv this week, fact-checkers around the world weighed in with some games designed to make it fun to figure out fact from fiction. Here are a few: OjoPublico’s game for Peruvian audiences; PolitiFact’s mobile app game for iPhone and Android; Chequeado’s games including a board game and “How many like you?”; and the Post Facto game by Tamar Wilner and Amanda Warner.
When free Facebook meets fake Facebook
The free version of Facebook available in some developing countries doesn’t allow the user to see the photo and content of shared articles — both important steps in spotting fake news, notes Global Voices.
A familiar playbook
A majority of the most viral articles about Angela Merkel over the past five years were fake, according to a BuzzFeed analysis. That echoes previous results from the United Statesand Italy.
Comic Sans? Really?
India’s Boom FactCheck checked out a viral story that alleged Google had offered a high school student a high-paying job — and showed people why they never should have believed the offer letter it in the first place. One hint: the lame font.
Checking in on RT Fake Check
Russia Today’s fact-checking initiative was launched to a skeptical reception in mid-March. Now four months old, can RT’s FakeCheck be taken seriously? To answer that question, Poynter looked at the selection, sourcing and conclusions of the articles published by FakeCheck.
Following a fact-check
This week, “This American Life” podcast tells the surprisingly engaging story of an Alaskan man who sets out to fact-check a controversy in his hometown. It’s a great reminder how difficult it can be to separate truth and fiction when you don’t do it for a living.
Hitting fake news creators where it hurts
Fake news impresario Paul Horner — ICYMI a colorful guy — says he used to make a lot of money. Now, he says, Facebook fact-checkers have “hurt my wallet for sure.”
‘How we know what we know’
That’s how Brooke Borel describes her new podcast, “Methods,” which launched this week. The Chicago Guide to Fact-Checking author interviews writers and experts about methodology in finding facts on topics from climate change to conspiracy theories.
12 quick fact-checking links
(1) Want to work on automating fact-checking? Apply for these Full Fact jobs by Aug. 6. (2) J.K. Rowling apologizes for getting the facts wrong in a tweet. (3) Don’t miss out on your chance for a $2,500 fellowship to study fact-checking in another country. (4) Africa Check fact-checks the debate that wasn’t. (5) Post-truth headlines are still going strong. (6) The panic over the Facebook chatbots was slightly overblown. (7) Charlie Sykes suggests“taking care of your own nut jobs” (8) RadioLab hosts are “terrified” at the advances made in audio and video editing software and what that means for fighting fake news. (9) PolitiFact partners with the Better Government Association to extend fact-checking in Illinois. (10) Five more fake stories that just wont die. (11) The Whistle officially launches its fact-checking project in Israel. (12) Vox debunks a documentary that wants us all to be vegans.