Fact-checkers under attack in Brazil
Facebook’s fact-checking tool was rolled out in Brazil last week in partnership with Aos Fatos and Agência Lupa. A flood of accusations of “censorship,” and “extreme-left bias” followed. More worrying still were personal attacks and heavy insults leveled against fact-checkers on social media.
As Alexios wrote for Folha on Friday, in Brazil, polarization seems to be getting in the way of a possible solution to misinformation. (Read the op-ed in English here). Just a year ago, fact-checkers at Agência Publica's Truco received a photo of a rubber penis stamped with “Check This” from MBL, the same group behind a lot of last week’s attacks.
The tense situation will continue. According to researchers at the Fundação Getulio Vargas who analyzed 45,000 tweets, this debate is just the opening salvo of a “virtual guerrilla” set to last until the elections. The Brazilian Parliament was already discussing 20 draft bills on fake news — and announced an unspecified “front against fake news” on Wednesday.
Related: While questioning Mark Zuckerberg at the European Parliament, lead Brexiteer Nigel Farage asked the Facebook boss, “Who are these third-party fact-checkers? Who are these people?” (Nigel, if you’re reading us: Here are those people.)
This is how we do it
- National Geographic fact-checks Hawaii’s volcanic eruption and teaches us the difference between lava and magma.
- Africa Check has launched an election promise-tracker that’s following 10 key promises in Nigeria, South Africa and Kenya. Africa Check also has changed the layout of its reports.
- For people in rural areas with limited — or very expensive — WiFi connections, radio is often still a major form of communication. So these fact-checkers are bringing their work to the Kenyan airwaves.
Research you can use
- A Data & Society report looks at how people interpret the news the same way they interpret the Bible — a process the researcher calls “scriptural inference.”
- Northwestern University’s Knight Lab is working on an automated fact-checking project, starring Alexa.
- Over the course of a decade, this new study analyzed 560 YouTube videos spreading misinformation about vaccines and autism.
— sp.a (@sp_a) May 20, 2018
This is bad
- A Belgian political party published a deepfake video of Donald Trump on Twitter and Facebook.
- Bogus news sites and fake Facebook pages took advantage of the school shooting in Santa Fe, Texas, that left 10 dead. Some TEGNA stations did some basic on-air fact-checking as the news broke.
- People and news organizations shared old photos claiming to depict last week’s plane crash in Cuba.
This is fun
- Characters in the “Murphy Brown” television reboot will feature fake news and “alternative facts.”
- Depending on your perspective (and your gag reflex), this story might be fun. Or not.
- Originally published for International Fact-Checking Day on April 2, here’s a cartoon with seven tips for verifying online information.
A closer look
- Want to stay in the know about misinformation in and about Europe? Here’s a fortnightly roundup with the most important news you need to know.
- BuzzSumo published a meta report on how news about fake news took off after the 2016 U.S. election.
- PBS NewsHour goes inside Facebook’s effort to separate news from junk.
If you read one more thing
In “If Social Media Sites Acted Like Publishers, Fake News Would Vanish,” a former newspaper editor explains how the U.S. Communications Decency Act messed up everything.
12 quick fact-checking links
- The IFCN’s “Fact Forward” innovation fund was awarded to Check News.
- Malaysia’s new communications minister says he’ll revoke the country’s “Anti-Fake News Act.” (Channel NewsAsia)
- Misinformation researcher Brendan Nyhan is moving from Dartmouth College to the University of Michigan.
- At least 19 countries around the world have now taken action against misinformation. Check out Poynter’s updated guide.
- Facebook hires the Atlantic Council to help fight fake news globally. (Mother Jones)
- You might want to get familiar with the term “dissociation” — it’s happening a lot lately in U.S. politics. (The Seattle Times)
- Latest ABA Legal Fact Check: Can a prosecutor really just “step aside” in an ongoing case?
- A California 16-year-old presented his award-winning study on fake news and visual “flags” at last week’s Intel science fair.
- To provide people with “authentic information,” Twitter will soon roll out its new profile labeling for candidates for public office. (The Associated Press)
- On Wednesday, Facebook announced some more details about an academic commission charged with studying the volume and effect of misinformation on the platform. Oh, and the company also created a short film about their behind-the-scenes efforts.
- Major Italian media outlets picked up a likely fake story about an 88-year-old woman leaving her €3 million inheritance to former prime minister Silvio Berlusconi.
- Elon Musk may or may not be starting a fact-checking project.
Until next week,