May 27, 2021

Factually is a newsletter about fact-checking and misinformation from Poynter’s International Fact-Checking Network. Sign up here to receive it on your email every Thursday.

Take care before you share

Facebook announced Wednesday it would begin limiting the reach of individual users who repeatedly share posts flagged by members of its Third-Party Fact-Checking Program. (Fact-checkers are required to be signatories to the IFCN’s Code of Principles to participate in the program).

This announcement marks a change in the company’s approach to handling misinformation, which previously only reduced the distribution of individual posts flagged by members of the 3PFC. Now, users who repeatedly share misinformation will have the reach of all their posts reduced regardless of whether those posts contain misinformation — i.e a user who repeatedly shares U.S. election and COVID-19 falsehoods would also see reduced distribution of their vacation pics or posts about a family apple pie recipe.

Facebook noted in its announcement it has taken actions in the past against pages, groups, and individual Instagram accounts that have repeatedly shared misinformation, but this is the first time the company will levy repercussions on individual Facebook users.

Users will also start seeing pop-up notifications anytime they try to join a group that has been repeatedly shared false information. This has the potential to limit the reach of groups spreading anti-vaccine misinformation, especially those targeting new moms.

Facebook has had different versions of these sorts of pause notifications both in its fact-checking program and its efforts to fight COVID-19. In a March op-ed for Morning Consult, Guy Rosen, Facebook’s vice president of integrity, cited a statistic that 95% of users did not click on a post that had a fact check warning label.

The last big change is a redesign of how users are notified that something they’ve posted or interacted with has been fact-checked. Now, users will be given a link directly to the fact check article and will also be given the opportunity to share, which has the potential to increase both the visibility of fact-checkers on the platform and the traffic to their individual sites.

Interesting fact-checks

Photo courtesy of MediaWise

  • MediaWise “Derek Chauvin’s lawyer didn’t blame aliens for George Floyd’s death” (in English)
    • MediaWise reporter Heaven Taylor-Wynn showed viewers of this video fact check how to use keyword search and reading upstream techniques to suss out that this viral clip of Derek Chauvin’s lawyer was a truncated version of his entire speech. Taylor-Wynn also reminded viewers to be wary of posts online that elicit a strong emotional response as this is a common attribute of disinformation.
  • NewsMobile “Did NYT Publish Crocodile In Tears Picture To Say PM Modi Cried? Here’s The Truth” (in English)
    • An image claiming to be the front page of The New York Times international edition used a picture of a crocodile under the headline, “India’s PM cried.” NewsMobile discovered this was a photoshop by a Times parody account that went viral in a climate of political tension over Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s handling of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Quick hits

AP Photo/Ng Han Guan

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Harrison Mantas is a reporter for the International Fact-Checking Network covering the wide world of misinformation. He previously worked in Arizona and Washington D.C. for…
Harrison Mantas

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Comments are closed.

  • It’s about the easiest 2+2 in the world to note that social media’s fact-checking partners ultimately guide the hand of social media censorship, but somehow the IFCN fact-checking reporter can’t even seem to mention the words “censor” or “censorship” in this week’s newsletter.

    That’s hardly surprising when it seems like it’s the overall policy of the IFCN to deny that fact-checking has anything at all to do with censorship. But that’s true for fact-checking orgs that aren’t hired by social media companies to point the finger at things social media companies intend to censor. Fact-checking orgs that hire out to social media to help with their censorship programs are involved in censorship. It’s as simple as that.

    And of course it won’t be surprising to see Poynter keep this comment in moderation until somebody decides to delete it. That would be typical of Poynter’s commitment to openness and transparency.

    Your operation stinks of corruption. You probably ought to do something about it, unless everybody’s in on it.