Poynter: “Almost half of Americans believe that fact-checkers are biased, and the majority of these skeptics are Republican. But fact-checkers are still much more highly trusted than traditional media, a new study from Pew Research Center shows. A new report by Mason Walker and Jeffrey Gottfried reveals that American’s’ opinions of fact-checkers are highly polarized along partisan lines. The study, which looks at how adults in the United States feel about news and information in the digital age, found that 70% of Republicans believe fact-checkers tend to favor one side, while only 29% of Democrats say the same. Overall, exactly half of American adults believe that fact-checkers are unbiased. This is much higher than the 26% of Americans who believe the same about traditional news organizations…”
‘Birtherism 2.0’ targets Kamala Harris
. . . technology
- In March we wrote that the U.S. Census Bureau has asked Big Tech to help it fend off fakery that would dissuade people from participating in the 2020 count. Politico this week has an update on Facebook’s efforts. The New York Times explained why we should be worried about the census.
- Facebook is demoting miracle health claims, the company said in a new blog post. Reports in The Washington Post last week and The Wall Street Journal this week described how social media is rife with false claims about potential cures. The company’s move came after it announced in March that it would limit the reach of vaccine misinformation.
- The distribution of deepfake revenge porn is now illegal in Virginia. In the U.S. Senate, lawmakers have proposed a bill that would require the Department of Homeland Security to annually assess the technologies used to create deepfakes and propose potential regulations. But Mathew Ingram of CJR wrote about why legislation aimed at curtailing the spread of deepfakes is a bad idea.
. . . politics
- Exposure to Russian propaganda “may have helped change American minds in favor of Republican candidate Trump,” a researcher from the University of Bristol wrote in The Conversation. Here’s another analysis from NBC News. But The Washington Post debunked the study, saying that “the correlation between the two sets of data isn’t really that robust.”
- The website joebiden.info says (in very small print at the bottom) that it’s a parody. The New York Times calls it a “slick little piece of disinformation” created by a Republican political consultant in Austin. The Times says it’s more like the disinformation campaign spread by Russian trolls in 2016 than typical political messaging.
- A survey from the Pew Research Center found that Americans generally think that fact-checking projects treat both sides of the political divide more fairly than mainstream news organizations. But Republicans were far more likely than Democrats to say that fact-checkers tend to favor one side.
. . . the future of news
- After the 2018 shooting at Santa Fe High School in Texas, national news organizations interviewed a man who said he witnessed the shooting and identified himself as David Briscoe. Turns out the school has no record of a teacher with that name, the Texas Tribune reported. CNN and The Wall Street Journal have updated and corrected their stories.
- The Wall Street Journal has assigned 21 people to be on call to be on call to answer reporters’ queries about whether a piece of content has been manipulated. Digiday reported that “after each query from a reporter, members write up a report with details of what they learned.”
- Collaborative fact-checking initiatives like Comprova, which united 24 newsrooms to cover the 2018 Brazilian election, can have a measurable effect on the spread of misinformation, according to new research from First Draft. So why won’t U.S. fact-checkers create a similar coalition? Cristina Tardáguila of the IFCN asked that question.
- Writing for The Atlantic, Taylor Lorenz examined how verification scams are rampant on social media — and what they show about the seemingly arbitrary system tech companies employ to verify users.
- In Tortoise media, Nicky Wolff profiled the creator of 8chan. The story, called “Destroyer of Worlds,” lives up to its ambitious headline.
- The deadline for the African Fact-Checking Awards, coordinated by Africa Check, has been extended. Submit entries by July 17.
- BuzzFeed News found that a network of conspiracy sites about Kamala Harris and Mark Zuckerberg is being run by a Montessori school director in Michigan.
- Mother Jones dove into the origins of the concrete milkshakes hoax and how it developed into a right-wing meme.
- Here are The Washington Post Fact Checker’s most-read stories of 2019 so far.
- As part of its coverage of the 50th anniversary of the Apollo 11 moon landing, the New York Times explored how some conspiracy theorists are claiming it’s a hoax, “using irony and nonchalance to refurbish old conspiracies for new audiences.”
- Amnesty International has launched a network of researchers to verify video footage and data about potential human rights violations.
- Arguing with climate change deniers might seem futile, but a new study found that there are some strategies that may help people change their minds.
- Are you a fact-checker who wants to learn additional skills or strategies from another organization? Apply for this year’s IFCN fellowship program, which grants two fact-checkers $2,500 each to travel to embed with another outlet abroad. Applications are open until Aug. 9.
ASIC’s review of how insurers investigate motor vehicle claims suspected of being fraudulent has found that investigation practices are leading to poor consumer outcomes. Many consumers who had their claim investigated and eventually paid reported poor practices by insurers and their investigators