We’re revamping our fact-checking newsletter. What do you want it to be?

November 22, 2018 and
Category: Fact-Checking

We’re rethinking this newsletter

Hey! This newsletter has been going on for two years (depending on how you count them) and we’re around the 10,000 subscriber mark. A lot of things have changed in that time — and we need to as well.

In the new year, we’ll be launching a revamped version of The Week in Fact-Checking to match the growing demand for this kind of journalism. Think of it as a more streamlined, hip version of the newsletter you know and (hopefully) love. We’ll do more analysis on misinformation and technology. We’ll have a new look and feel. We’ll even have a new name.

But first, we want to hear from you. Please take five minutes to take the survey below and let us know more about yourself, what you want from this newsletter and how we can make it happen.

Goodbye, Dulce!

Yesterday was Dulce’s last day at the IFCN, and we’re in our grieving phase.

Dulce was instrumental in a million different things the IFCN did over the past 14 months, but above all for her work on the verification process for the code of principles. Besides launching an entirely new workflow, Dulce took a hard look at how consistent the process had been in its first year. So thorough was her assessment that it (almost?) won over a frequent critic of fact-checkers.

We know she’ll remain an advocate for more and better fact-checking in her next gig. ¡Suerte!

This is new

  • France passed a law that gives judges the power to remove misinformation from websites during election periods.
  • The Facebook fact-checking product is coming to Australia.
  • Instagram is cracking down on fake likes, follows and comments.

Welcome to the future

  • On Nieman Lab, the Wall Street Journal’s R&D boss and a research fellow dissect the state of affairs with deepfakes and how the WSJ is thinking about detecting doctored videos in various forms.
  • But who needs deepfakes when you can create havoc with a right click?
  • Faking fingerprints is easier than you might think.

Show and tell

  • The dramatic flight of a former Prime Minister Nikola Gruevski from Skopje to Budapest was shrouded in rumors about his vehicle and disguise. Many of these have been debunked by fact-checkers on his path.
  • In its post-evaluation of Comprova, the coalition of media outlets that fact-checked the Brazilian election, First Draft called for more collaboration between newsrooms and fact-checkers.
  • Pacific Standard is doing a recurring series on how it researches and fact-checks its stories before publication.
European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker speaks during a media conference with Georgia’s Prime Minister Mamuka Bakhtadze at EU headquarters in Brussels, Wednesday, Nov. 21, 2018. (AP Photo/Olivier Matthys)

The Bad Place

  • A video allegedly showing European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker wearing one brown shoe and a black shoe spread from a Eurosceptic Twitter account straight to top Italian dailies, via Russia Today. The ensuing “correction” was worse than the mistake.
  • China’s Tencent is fact-checking content circulating on its messaging app WeChat — but seems to have also conveniently flagged unflattering an article about its business prospects.
  • YouTube’s automatic recommendations are sending people to conspiracy theory videos about the collapse of the Morandi bridge in Genoa, which killed 43 people.

Research you can use

  • Bots had a disproportionate role in spreading misinformation on Twitter during the 2016 U.S. election, according to a new study from Indiana University. But not all bots are bad: Fact-checkers are using them to automatically correct fake news stories.
  • Enough. With. The. Backfire. Effect. (Here’s why.)
  • People who dislike the media are more likely to be fooled by a fake headline online — but  more confident in their ability to find credible information, according to a new study from News Co/Lab at Arizona State University.
In this Dec. 5, 2016, photo, the front door of Comet Ping Pong pizza shop, in Washington, Monday, Dec. 5, 2016. (AP Photo/Jose Luis Magana)


  • It’s not just QAnon or Pizzagate — satanic pedophile conspiracies go back to the Middle Ages.
  • Hackers are stealing Instagram influencers’ accounts to spam their followers with bogus iPhone deals.
  • Cryptocurrency scammers have been hacking verified accounts on Twitter to spread their scheme — and BuzzFeed News reported that they’re probably coming from Russia.

A closer look

  • Journalists have been debating how to report on notable public claims that are known to be false for the past couple of years. Here’s a proposal.
  • It’s been almost a month since Jair Bolsonaro was elected president of Brazil. Here’s how fact-checkers are adapting to the new administration.
  • The New Yorker published a deep dive about how artificial intelligence and advances in digital imagery could make misinformation much harder to deal with.
(Screenshot from Facebook)

If you read one more thing

The liberal troll who publishes fake news for the hyperpartisan right — and one of his readers — got a profile on The Washington Post

16 quick fact-checking links

  1. ICYMI: Applications for Global Fact 6 opened last week.
  2. Help Alexios make Wikipedia more representative by sending suggestions for notable women in the field of fact-checking.
  3. Adweek wrote about how NewsGuard is using its fake news labeling system to help advertisers avoid funding misinformation. But not all of the startup’s grades make a lot of sense.
  4. This tweet nails the problem with Facebook’s former PR firm.
  5. CJR’s Mathew Ingram talked to Jimmy Wales about what went wrong with WikiTribune, the Wikipedia founder’s crowdsourced news site.
  6. A New Zealand paper confused Stan Lee and Spike Lee. But they also got the wrong winner of the “people’s choice award for dogs that look like their owners” so it was a really bad day for editors.
  7. There have been a lot of conspiracy theories floating around about the ongoing wildfires in California.
  8. Not a correction, just creepy.
  9. Child kidnapping rumors have been revived on WhatsApp in India, Boom reported.
  10. Facebook revealed last week that it had removed 1.5 billion fake accounts in the past six months, and that 3-4 percent of its monthly users were bogus. That’s still more than 68 million accounts.
  11. In a blog post, Witness shared some ideas for how WhatsApp could address misinformation without disrupting its encryption.
  12. Maldita.es is crowdfunding!
  13. Les Décodeurs uncovered a single man behind about 30 fake news sites.
  14. This story is a hot mess.
  15. In Nigeria, the army is now using radio broadcasts to debunk misinformation.
  16. Tim Berners-Lee has weighed in on fake news.

Until next week,

Daniel and Alexios