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The Week in Fact-Checking: Students get sued; cool tools; and a great GIF

A project conducted by students from the Cologne School of Journalism got into legal trouble for assigning truth rankings to the politicians they fact-checked. The right-wing AfD party pounced on methodological flaws to persuade a court to order the project organizers to retract or correct their work. The legal issues faced by “Faktenzoom” put into sharp focus the challenge of quantifying truthfulness across politics. Read the article on

Quote of the week
“I mean, it’s pretty darn easy these days to just say whatever the heck you want on national TV and have it pass off as truth,. And, you know, it’s…just pretty incredible to me how easy it was to get the coverage we got.” — Fake news creator “Dom Tullipso” in an interview with Fox News host Tucker Carlson.

Quantifying the effect of fake news
How likely is it that fake news won Donald Trump the U.S. election? Not very, a new study concludes: “A single fake article would need to have had the same persuasive effect as 36 television campaign ads.”

GIF of the week
A debunking plus a throwback to an iconic “Friends” scene? Yes please.

Happy birthday. Here’s your fact check.
When South Africa’s ruling party celebrated its 105th birthday this month, Africa Check fact-checked a glowing speech made by President Jacob Zuma.

Fact-checkers face vetting process
The International Fact-Checking Network announced a new vetting process that will evaluate whether signatories of its code adhere to the five principles listed.

Fact-checking, by law
Schoolkids in California would be required to learn how to “judge the credibility and quality of information found on Internet Web sites, including social media” under a proposal from a state legislator. A similar proposal would require “media literacy” for students and teachers.

The Truth Squad 
PolitiFact aims to “find a financially sustainable model for public accountability journalism in the 21st century.” As a part of this quest, they’ve announced a new membership program.

‘How do you know?’
A newspaper in Washington state is asking its readers to ask themselves “four simple words” before sharing their opinions in online comments or letters to the editor.

Can readers tell what is fact-checkable?
Chequeado asked readers to differentiate between claims you can fact-check and ones that you can’t. Respondents got it right 69 percent of the time.

The best of fact-checking tools
A Wall Street Journal writer compiles “the best nonpartisan tech tools I could find to empower us to keep politicians honest.” See them here.

Quick fact-checking links
(1) Fake news used to mean this, before it got hijacked. (2) The Trump-O-Meter is up and running. (3) Facebook opened up to third-party fact-checkers in Germany, too. (4) In Guatemala, Plaza Publica fact-checked Jimmy Morales’ presidential address. (5) The Washington Post Fact Checker is looking for a video editor/reporter. Application deadline is Jan. 20. (6) First Draft News released a Chrome extension to help with verification processes. (7) Another painful lesson in thinking before retweeting. (8) The BBC’s temporary “Reality Check” team becomes permanent.  (9) This week in “Who Isn’t Dead.”  (10) takes a look back at President Obama’s whoppers.

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