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The Week in Fact-Checking: An open letter to Facebook

Fact-checkers from around the world have written to the CEO of Facebook, offering their support in the battle against fake news. It begins:

“Dear Mark Zuckerberg:

“Last week you wrote that the problem of fake news and false information online is particularly complex. In your words: ‘Identifying the ‘truth’ is complicated.’ We agree. It also cannot be the exclusive responsibility of any one organization.” Read more.

Quote of the week
“Use your knowledge and experience to give context; call a misrepresentation just that; and embrace the difference between objective truth and relative truth.”   Former cable TV host Campbell Brown’s advice for journalists, post-election

One final word
The Oxford Dictionaries declared “post-truth” the word of the year (evidently they were unimpressed with our counterarguments). And now for a live feed from the International Fact-Checking Network headquarters:

A fact-checker’s work is never done
Did you think fact-checkers were done with the 2016 U.S. presidential campaign? Nope. There’s still that rumor that Hillary Clinton could actually become president. Is that true?  And those stories about election protests? Read before you believe.

All the fake news coverage
In a week of high-level criticism, big slip-ups and internal unrest, Facebook tweaked and Google promised to update their ad policies. Fake news sites declared themselves not bothered. Most damning was Craig Silverman’s calculation of fake election news on Facebook. Here are the top 10, compiled by the Mercury News. And now…

Some questions to consider
(1) How does Facebook even know that 99 percent of its content is “authentic”? (2) Are we sure we want a more muscular policing of the “truth”?

Moving forward on automation
Google awarded Full Fact $50,000 as part of its Digital News Initiative to develop the first end-to-end automated fact-checking tool. Another $50,000 for automation is up for grabs through the HeroX challenge, which announced its three finalists on Nov 15.

That doesn’t look right…
Cameroon’s state-owned broadcaster accuses CNN of lying – using a fake image as proof, Africa Check reports.

Another weapon in the fight against misinformation: Librarians
Librarians have always been all about information literacy. But that’s become sooo much more complicated now, with “information overload” compounded by a lack of understanding of the internet. Read The Verge’s interview with a top librarian.

Some fact-checking fun
This is a game show only a fact-checking nerd could love. “Tell Me Something I Don’t Know” is a WBEZ podcast featuring fascinating tales and an on-air, live fact-checker. Listen to an episode, and become addicted.

Quick fact-checking links
(1) Are we worrying too much about fake news? (2) The paradox of media fact-checking in an age of low trust. (3) dishes out its first “Nonsense” rating for a claim on Trump refugees. (4) Whither fact-checking? Glenn Kessler looks into it. (5) Getting verbally abused for being an Asian-American, female fact-checker. (6) Students developed a Chrome extension to flag fake stories.


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