Tuesday, February 06, 2018

‘A fact-checking army’

America Is Not a Democracy Atlantic

Trump lashes out at Schiff over Russia memo

#JOURNALISM: The Publisher of Newsweek And The International Business Times Has Been Buying Traffic And Engaging In Ad Fraud

Political donations work. Four of the world’s most powerful institutions and largest political party donors have once again treated the people and the parliament of Australia with disdainPwC, Deloitte, EY and KPMG were invited to appear before the Senate Inquiry into the Political Influence of Donations whose hearings concluded this week. All four declined.

“Both political parties are treating the Big Four auditors as a protected species, shielding them from scrutiny over political donations. From the banking royal commission to tax avoidance and the wilful hollowing out of the public service, the corporate takeover of public services and public revenue is threatening the proper functioning of government. This has got to end.”
Not only are the Big Four global accounting firms among the most lavish donors to both the Liberal and Labor parties, they are the biggest winners of government consultancy mandates, racking up more than $2.6 billion in fees for providing advice to government over the last decade

"The Untold Story of the Pentagon Papers Co-Conspirators: Speaking publicly for the first time, a historian reveals the crucial role that he and a small band of others played in helping Daniel Ellsberg leak the documents to journalists." Eric Lichtblau has this post online at The New Yorker.

Chicago Sun-Times Suspends Film Critic Richard Roeper

"Roeper was one several prominent journalists, sports stars, politicians and celebrities who had paid to increase their Twitter followers with fake accounts, according to a New York Times report published over the weekend. Roeper's Twitter following currently numbers over 225,000, but it was not specified by the Times report how many of those followers were fake." … Read More

‘A fact-checking army’

For U.S. President Donald Trump’s annual State of the Union address Tuesday night, fact-checkers came out in force. They took to a new live fact-checking platform to provide context in real time. They posted fact checks to Twitter and Facebook as Trump spoke — some of which went viral. At one point, PolitiFact’s site went down briefly because of the rise in traffic.
The verdict: “President Trump’s State of the Union speech had soaring rhetoric — and many dubious facts and figures,” according to The Washington Post Fact Checker.

This is how we do it

  • Fact-checkers have started using an automated tool that automatically scans for checkable claims in CNN transcripts.
  • Africa Check has a new step-by-step guide to using reverse image search tools on mobile devices, and a tip sheet for fact-checking photos.
  • A fact-checking project debunking hoaxes about last weekend’s Czech presidential election runoff got about 80,000 pageviews on its first day. 

This is bad

  • Inspired by President Trump, an Idaho state legislator wants to start a “fake news awards” program in her state.
  • An Italian news wire sent out the wrong photo of a woman who died following a train crash (This doesn’t need to happen. See AfricaCheck item above).
  • Maria Ressa, CEO of the Philippines news site Rappler, says some governments use “patriotic trolling” to intimidate journalists. Rappler’s license has been suspended by the government after the publication criticized the current administration.
(Screenshot from YouTube)

This is fun

  • Comedian Stephen Colbert fact-checks (or lie-checks, as he calls it) President Trump’s comments about climate change (or as Trump called it, “heating and cooling.”)
  • A Snopes fact check about a video that claims to depict a showering rat was widely shared this week.
  • Late-night comedians had some fun after this week’s State of the Union address. Here’s a roundup.

A closer look

  • What’s behind fake news? Money, lies and manipulation — and Mirko Ceselkoski, a fake-news mentor in Macedonia who offers no apologies.
  • The United States, along with England, Belgium and Japan, has refused to participate in a global testing program to determine if students can spot misinformation, according to Business Insider.
  • Are Europe’s efforts to legislate against fake news futile? This Daily Beast reporter thinks so.

(Graphic by Isaac Avila Rodriguez)

Coming up

  • Italian fact-checkers: apply to this flash grant by Feb 5.
  • Innovating fact-checkers: apply to Fact Forward by Feb 8.
  • There are two more weeks to apply to Global Fact V (400 people have already done so)

If you read one more thing

Fake accounts and followers on Twitter are annoying, ridiculous — but not harmless. They can “help sway advertising audiences and reshape political debates. They can defraud businesses and ruin reputations.” The New York Times explains.

Quick fact-checking links

Nigeria is getting its first national fact-checking platform, called Dubawa.  //  Facebook’s fact-checking project heads to Italy.  //  How to respond to critics on Twitter.  //  ICYMI, the IFCN has a research database.  //  The American Bar Association weighs in with its Legal Fact Check on foreign influence in elections.  //  A sportswriter who witnessed the real-life story fact-checks the “I, Tonya” movie//  Tom Trewinnard writes about “what we’ve learned from seven years of verifi-checking” at Meedan.  //  A snowy  interview with Craig Newmark at Davos.  //  Those infamous “Jack the Ripper” letters were fake.  //  How to teach children to spot misinformation about energy and climate issues.  //  The government of Nigeria liked this fact check.  // We have more bad news about fake videos.  //  Maybe Instagram is a healthier version of Facebook. Maybe not//  This data scientist had to create her own army of bots to fight bots there were impersonating her.  //  The Guardian published an anonymous account from a fake news writer.  //  Conspiracy theories about the Virginia Amtrak crash abound on Facebook.