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The Week in Fact-Checking: Happy Birthday, here’s a survey

Guinea pig birthday party, nbd.

A year ago, Poynter and the American Press Institute combined their respective fact-checking/accountability newsletters to create this newsletter. We want to know how we can improve this year, and we hope you’ll take a moment to answer this quick survey. Thanks for your support.

Quote of the week
“This problem has nothing to do with freedom of expression. It would be like saying you can sell stale meat or contaminated water because we’re in a free market.” — President of the Italian Chamber of Deputies Laura Boldrini, speaking about fake news to BuzzFeed.

‘Trump bump’ buoys fact-checker fund
PolitiFact, the fact-checking outfit of the Poynter-owned Tampa Bay Times, seems set to benefit from a Trump bump. Between donations and pledges, PolitiFact raised $105,000 in 20 days through its newly launched membership program. That’s more than the fact-checkers had hoped to raise in all of 2017. Read about it on

Fact-checking image of the week
There was a lot of evidence to contradict The White House’s list of allegedly under-reported terrorist attacks. This single screen by CNN is probably one of the most effective (h/t @poniewozik).

Fighting fakery when the troops are down
Media organizations in France are working with Facebook and Google to thwart misinformation during this election season. But the efforts are stretching the resources of already-diminished newsrooms, Digiday says.

Just stop
There’s never a good time for media to make mistakes, but now may be the worst ever. Read about these fake stories and fake tweets journalists recently have fallen for, then fix the problem or “watch your profession go down in flames.”

Fixing facts with technology
Two Indian engineers are fighting hoaxes on WhatsApp. And here’s a roundup of academics around the world and their tech solutions for misinformation.

Researching fakery
Here’s why humans accept fake news, says a professor writing for Salon. And two marketing professors say the Twittersphere helped Donald Trump win.

Fact-checking & Model United Nations
It may be too late for the current crop of world leaders to get better about facts — but what about future Presidents and Prime Ministers? Chequeado deployed the fact-checking approach within the popular format of Model UN simulations. Here’s how it worked.

An MIT Ph.D. candidate conducted an experiment on Reddit and found that encouraging users to fact-check increased the prevalence of links by a factor of two.

This is how you talk about post-truth
On Stratfor, Jay Ogilvy lays out the philosophy behind humanity’s doubts about truth as a concept. But he still concludes with a hearty endorsement of facts. Must read.

Fact-checking Hollywood
While acknowledging “The Space Between Us” is a “bad movie,” Inverse fact-checks it anyway. And the Associated Press assures us that TV personality Sherri Shepherd is still not dead.

Lots of fact-checking fun this week
The People of Twitter entertained us by fact-checking song lyrics.  A North Carolina columnist does some fact-checking of small-town newspaper stories, including obituaries and Dean’s List announcements. A Parisian woman scolds POTUS for messing up French facts.

12 quick fact-checking links
(1) With a new grant,’s “SciCheck” will continue. (2) A South African news organization has launched a pop-up ad against fake news. (4) Fake news: It’s bipartisan, says the Christian Science Monitor.  (5) If Wikipedia can fight fake news, any news organization can. (6) How fake news is distracting journalists. (7) Dove deodorant has a new ad campaign featuring “alternative facts.”  (8) A status report on Europe’s fight against fake news. (9) Fact-checking job: video producer for BuzzFeed, apply by Feb 13. (10) FactCheckNI is crowdfunding. (11) A meetup in Toronto to design better debunks. (12) Lessons from America’s long history of conspiracy theories.


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