October 12, 2017

The Week in Fact-Checking is a newsletter about fact-checking and accountability journalism, from Poynter's International Fact-Checking Network & the American Press Institute's Accountability Project.

Corrections work — but they're not magic

According to two recent studies, giving people corrective information about economic and political issues helps change their inaccurate views — despite partisan beliefs. The academic articles tackle the efficacy of corrections in two separate contexts: economic opinions in the United Kingdom and historical misperceptions about the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Find out more on Poynter.

Quote of the week

"Objective reality exists, truth matters, and we have to pursue them with purpose and without fear. But in our present moment, truth, including truth that unsettles us, has far too often become subordinate to justifying and defending at all costs our own, often unsound, preconceptions. You can see that in others. But can you see it in yourself?”  —  Peter Wehner in the New York Times

Facebook claims it has receipts

BuzzFeed News obtained an email from Jason White, Facebook's news partnerships manager, to fact-checkers containing some data about the fake news flagging scheme. Debunked stories see future impressions drop by 80 percent, but it takes more than three days for a flag to be added to a false story.

Make that a true daily double, Alex

A familiar topic on "Jeopardy!" this week:


The 'personal toll' of misinformation

What happens when sites like Alt-Right News and Gateway Pundit spread fake news during a tragedy like the Las Vegas shootings? This family can tell you.

Good news about bad news

The Guardian reports that YouTube is taking steps to prevent fakery, prompted by some recent viral "conspiracy theory" videos.  

Can we overcome the dark side of technology? 

Facebook, Google and Twitter are under fire for "undermining the democratic process" and under pressure to fix their misinformation problem. But is the damage irreversible?

The problem with memes

Wired takes a look at how misleading memes are made and their successful efforts to "tap into high-arousal emotions, like disgust or anger." And First Draft suggests there is evidence hoax-carrying memes were targeted to specific populations during the German election.

Editors and designers, take note

People don't understand the difference between commentary and news reporting, and that has "opened the door to fake news," says The Guardian's media writer. 

Winning the fact-checking swag game

Bravo to Les Décodeurs. (h/t Pierre Breteau)

Fact-checking that echoes around the world

Spain's El Objetivo fact-checks about the Catalan referendum also were published by Brazil's Lupa and Argentina's Chequeado.

WhatsApp and the fact-checkers

Poynter's Daniel Funke asked a WhatsApp exec and fact-checkers from Argentina, Brazil, Colombia and South Africa how to deal with misinformation on the popular messaging app.

Some fact-checking fun

"The Daily Show" proposes a meme war with Russia. …  You can test your Donald Trump "bulls**t detector" with this online fake-news game

12 quick fact-checking links

(1) Vice's new feature on fake news: "Can't handle the truth."  (2) In Teen Vogue, a 16-year-old discusses how to fact-check political candidates even though she can't vote yet. (3) Donald Trump said he's the creator of fake news, and Merriam-Webster had a cheeky response.  (4) Listen to this podcast on how "fake news" nearly destroyed two Kenyan communities.  (5) The New York Times uses its new “Reader Center” for a fact check on the Trump-Corker spat.  (6) Chequeado is crowdfunding again. (7) Boston University has a podcast on the facts about health studies. (8) That Putinburger was a nothingburger. (9) Fake support sites are just as adept at hijacking Google as your run-of-the-mill hoaxers. (10) An Italian newspaper took for real a pretty improbable selfie. (11) On Friday and Saturday, you can watch a live stream of the “Telling the Truth” symposium at the University of Albany. (12) New site Snopes Snopes will debunk the popular debunkers (not really).

Until next week,

AlexiosJane and Daniel

Looking for previous editions of this newsletter? You can find them here

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Alexios Mantzarlis joined Poynter to lead the International Fact-Checking Network in September of 2015. In this capacity he writes about and advocates for fact-checking. He…
Alexios Mantzarlis

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