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The Week in Fact-Checking: With your own two feet

Julien Pain was tired of preaching to the choir. After several years spent debunking viral fakes for France 24’s Les Observateurs, he was on the lookout for a format that would expand the reach of his fact-checking. “I realized I was only reaching people who agreed with me,” he said. Since September, he’s been taking fact-checking to the streets in Facebook Live videos for France Info. Here’s what he’s learned.

Quote of the week
“A response on all three fronts — journalism, libraries, and schools — is essential to beating back this massive assault on truth. Social science tells us that our decisions and judgments depend more on shared community narratives than on individual rationality.” — Librarian Barbara Fister, writing for Inside Higher Ed

Politics co-opts fact-checking
In Le Monde, Mathilde Damgé takes stock of all the ways French political campaigns have tried to co-opt the cues and format of fact-checking to promote their own agenda. “While journalism doesn’t mean absolute neutrality, it starts from a principle of honesty,” Damgé writes. The campaign’s “fact-checking” efforts have a “militant goal” and are often just a new means to pursue old ends.

How Tapper makes facts “so damn entertaining”
GQ magazine goes deep inside the head of CNN’s Jake Tapper, and how he handles the “constant assault on the truth” as he interviews fact-resistant guests on his show.

No, this dog can’t read.

Facebook & facts: Your weekly update
Some people aren’t too impressed by Facebook’s “Tips to Spot False News” and here’s why. … Shareholders want Facebook to produce a report on how “fake news” is hurting democracy and the company itself. … About 30,000 fake accounts were suspended by Facebook in advance of France’s elections, which begin Sunday. … Facebook’s ready to roll out augmented reality, but could that make it even more difficult to determine what’s real?

Shouldn’t we better at this by now?
A sad story from Craig Silverman: He tracks the legitimate news sites that published a fake story about a husband and wife discovering that they’re twins. We repeat two previous pieces of advice: This is a particularly bad time to make dumb mistakes. And, if it sounds too good/bad/ridiculous to be true, do some fact-checking.

Fake news isn’t exclusive to party or candidate
Your regular reminder that fake news is peddled by both the left and the right. And that misinformation against Trump can also spread faster than its related correction.

Celebrating fact-checking in the Balkans
Are you interested in fact-checking in Bosnia and Herzegovina, Croatia or Serbia? Submit your work and win a bursary to attend the Fourth Global Fact-Checking Summit in Madrid. Deadline is May 5.

Follow that money
The non-profit, non-partisan USAFacts launched this week, with a goal of explaining the facts behind government spending — local, state and federal. Former Microsoft executive Steve Ballmer and his foundation are behind it.

Taking the fun out of the funny papers?
If someone — even a cartoon character — is driving the wrong vehicle or using the wrong word, those fact-checking comic page readers are going to catch it.

10 quick fact-checking links 
(1) A New Jersey poll says that people with more political knowledge are more susceptible to misinformation.  (2) Le Monde is using Snapchat to help people spot fake news. (3) So many fake news & fact-checking events. (4) A Turkish fact-checker discusses the referendum and fact-checking on the BBC. (5) If you’re at ISOJ, don’t miss the fact-checking panel. (6) Don’t buy the Facebook PR line on third-party fact-checking. (7) About that fake armada… (8) Keep an eye on Bloomberg and Postlight’s attempt to add a fact layer to the internet. (9) Snopes’ managing editor wins a Sunshine Award. (10) A Virginia congressman starts fact-checking statements made about climate science.


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