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The Week in Fact-Checking: A field guide to fake news

What does it take to fight misinformation? Technologists, anthropologists, journalists and researchers — and you. The Public Data Lab and the First Draft Coalition are putting together a “field guide” to investigate every aspect of fake news and are asking for input. The project officially launches next month at the International Journalism Festival.

Quote of the week
“Truth is no longer dictated by authorities, but is networked by peers. For every fact there is a counterfact. All those counterfacts and facts look identical online, which is confusing to most people.” — Richard Gray, writing for BBC Future.

More bad news for bad news
Even when it’s eventually corrected, misinformation does unfortunate things to the veracity of your memory, especially when that bad information comes from social sites like Facebook. The journal Nature explains why it’s difficult to erase erroneous memories.

Fact-checking tip
Wondering if the crowd size is really that big? This very intuitive tool will help you measure whether the space can actually fit the number of people claimed. (h/t Libération’s article on Fillon’s Trocadero crowd).

A better way to write about lies, liars and bad information
Start with the truth, says Harvard’s Judith Donath, and don’t repeat the lie. And, she adds, “Use vivid graphics that depict reality.”  See the examples.

‘Powerful Girls’ get a new weapon: verification skills
A new program through Chicas Poderosas (Powerful Girls) helps young women find and investigate news stories, while teaching them fact-checking skills to make their work “irrefutable.”

What does third party fact-checking on Facebook look like?
Recode showcases one flagged fake news post on Facebook and underlines limitations of this approach. Gizmodo is erroneously reporting this was the first time the tag appeared; it has been featured on some U.S. news feeds since the turn of the year.

Fake news is still profitable
Craig Silverman writes about the unchanged financial incentives for fake news writers; for example, the UndergroundNewsReport. The recently launched site launched claims to have made $600 in a week.

Competing for the truth
The International Symposium on Journalism will hold a hackathon next month to improve accountability journalism. … The Craig Newmark Foundation is funding “TruthBuzz: The Viral Fact-Checking Contest” to find a way to distribute fact-checking more widely.

Climate Feedback’s heat
What happens when Climate Feedback fact-checks articles by annotating them? One author appreciated being subjected to that kind of scrutiny. Another publication updated its work slightly.

Fact-checking at SXSW
The legendary music/film/technology festival is coming up, and features several sessions on fact-checking and fake news. If you’re in Austin, don’t miss panels on automated fact-checking, facts in journalism and how to fight fake news.

Big speech, big annotation
Donald Trump was not the only American president addressing Congress in the past few days. Further south, Argentina’s Mauricio Macri was delivering his message to the legislature. Chequeado annotated the speech with fact-checks and other context. See it deployed on La Nacion here.

Fact-checking Hollywood
“Feud,” the not-really-buddy movie about Joan Crawford and Bette Davis, raises important questions that must be answered. Such as: Did the two women really share a wig, and why did one of them soak her face in witch hazel? Those answers and more in this fact check by E! News.

11 quick fact-checking links
(1) We can’t get enough of UNO and Chequeado’s fact-checking GIFs. (2) CrossCheck is now live. (3) Facebook announced the expansion of its flagging tool to France. (4) Speaking of Facebook, here’s a step-by-step guide to using the new “disputed news” flag. (5) ICYMI, because it is still very much out there, the “backfire effect” is not as strong as we thought. (6) “Verify Road Trip,” a Dallas TV station’s effort to bring viewers along on fact-checking trips, is a finalist in the Scripps Howard Awards.  (7) Maybe Google Home needs to go to journalism school? (8) Fake news has a cameo appearance on “The Good Fight.” (9) Today’s massive flow of news has “a paralyzing effect” that allows fake news to take hold, says a McGill professor. (10) Fact-checking can sound “sanctimonious” at times and that’s a problem, says an American University professor. (11) File under unusual responses to a fact-checking inquiry: “Sorry, we’re in combat. Can you call us back later?”


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