We cannot please everyone as We know so well ... So in the end the best path on offer is the one Aristotle trod more than 2000 years ago: to search for the common good, to try and find the greatest benefit for the greatest number.
Fact-checking ephemeral content
- Since launching its partnership with fact-checking sites in December 2016, Facebook has expanded the program around the world to combat the spread of misinformation. Last week, it added five new partners in the European Union ahead of next month’s parliamentary elections. That brings Facebook’s total fact-checking partners to 52 in 33 countries — more than quadruple that of this time last year.
- Speaking of Facebook, the company has finally announced which researchers it will work with to study misinformation on the platform. In partnership with Social Science One and the Social Science Research Council, more than 60 researchers from 30 institutions around the world will be given access to previously unseen data about advertising, post sharing and URLs.
- Last week, we reported in this newsletter that cutting off social media platforms in Sri Lanka following several terrorist attacks on Easter didn’t actually limit the spread of misinformation. But a poll from Morning Consult and Politico found that the majority of American voters thought it was the right move.
- The Washington Post Fact Checker’s conclusion that President Trump had surpassed the 10,000 mark in false or misleading claims since becoming president has prompted some soul-searching in the media. CJR asked whether we are any better at calling out the president’s lies. Wrote The Post’s Margaret Sullivan: “At some point, and we’ve definitely arrived there, the number of presidential falsehoods overcomes the public’s ability to care.”
- Singapore is currently debating legislation that would punish people who post false information with “malicious intent” with fines of up to $740,000 and jail sentences of up to 10 years. In response, academics and legal experts have issued nine statements and letters opposing the bill.
- Democratic presidential candidate Pete Buttigieg this week became the target of a smear involving false allegations of sexual assault. A pair of right-wing provocateurs are being accused of attempting to recruit young Republican men to make the accusations against the South Bend mayor. USA Today has details from a Michigan man who says he was recruited for the scheme by Jacob Wohl and Jack Burkman.
… the future of news
- Fact-checking site Teyit tried to crowdsource one of its debunks during the recent election in Turkey. It learned that a.) Experimenting with a new format during an election period isn’t a great idea, and b.) Twitter isn’t the best platform to try crowdsourcing fact checks.
- In a study published by the Institute for the Future, researchers found that only 14.9% of American journalists surveyed said they had been trained on how to best report on misinformation. And 55% of journalists said they wanted more resources on how to cover it.
- This week, the IFCN launched a new project: a database of more than 500 websites that fact-checkers have labeled as misleading, false or otherwise unreliable. This is an ongoing effort, which we hope will be useful for journalists, researchers and advertisers alike. Learn more about our methodology here and suggest new websites for us to include here.
- Full Fact: “This image about vaccine ingredients is extremely misleading” (Fact: 1.9K engagements // Fake: 409 engagements)
- Agence France-Presse: “Notre-Dame: Why these videos of beams that do not burn are irrelevant”(Fact: 1.4K engagements // 55.4K engagements)
- Factcheck.org: “Viral Claim Blurs Marijuana, Gun Policies” (Fact: 1.2K engagements // Fake: 424 engagements)
- India Today Fact Check: “Viral claim comparing nominations of Rahul Gandhi and Modi is misleading” (Fact: 1.1K engagements // Fake: 33.6K engagements)
- Chequeado: “No, the photos of the owner of a bookstore hit because he refused to sell the CFK book are not true” (Fact: 769 engagements // Fake: 15.5K engagements)
- BuzzFeed News has a new YouTube show called “Trackback” in which reporters explain debunk and explain misinformation on the platform.
- Congratulations to Africa Check founder Peter Cunliffe-Jones — the IFCN’s new senior adviser!
- A bogus press release published on a site falsely claiming to belong to U.S. Rep. Adam Schiff (D-Calif.) actually originated in Russia, BuzzFeed News reported. But it tricked some media outlets.
- After a shooting at the University of North Carolina at Charlotte, several false claims made the rounds. WCNC, the local NBC affiliate, debunked some of them.
- The actress who played Marcia on The Brady Bunch is fighting back against anti-vaxxers who are using a clip from a show as a way to suggest that measles is no big deal, BuzzFeed reported.
- A CNBC story suggests that YouTube’s efforts to stem harmful content has come at a cost to parent Alphabet Inc.
- Africa Check has a new monthly podcast in which it debunks misinformation on WhatsApp. The name? “What’s Crap on WhatsApp?”
- How did the internet become what it is today? Law professor Jeff Kosseff has a new book on the legal shield that has enabled the user-generated internet to prosper. Read Susan’s review in The Washington Post.
- Populists around the world are significantly more likely to believe in conspiracy theories about vaccinations, global warming and the 9/11 terrorist attacks, according to a new study, the Guardian reported.
- Africa Check is calling for entries to its annual African Fact-Checking Awards.