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.
- 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.
From the news:
- “To combat coronavirus vaccine misinformation, Colorado turned to a counter-terrorism expert,” from The Colorado Sun. Clint Watts, who’s testified before the Senate Intelligence Committee and fought information wars against Al-Queda and the Islamic State, is part of a team advising the state of Colorado how to respond to vaccine misinformation.
- “Timeline: How the Wuhan lab-leak theory suddenly became credible,” from The Washington Post. Fact-checker Glenn Kessler traces the origins of the lab leak theory and explains how evidence to support and refute it has changed over time.
- “Floyd’s Death Leads To Disinformation About Black Lives Matter Movement,” from NPR. Falsehoods about the Black Lives Matter movement have ranged from George Floyd not being dead to the group being responsible for the Oregon wildfires.
From/for the community:
- “Can COVID-19 uncertainty be fact-checked?” from Poynter. PolitiFact editor-in-chief Angie Holan wrote the challenges of fact-checking during the COVID-19 pandemic while urging readers to get more comfortable with changing information and not having all the answers.
- “How the Africa Facts network is growing fact-checking on the continent,” from Africa Check. Fact-checking in Africa has blossomed from a handful of organizations to 20 spread across the continent all collaborating to fight the spread of falsehoods.
- “ICFJ Knight Awards to Honor Brazilian Fact-Checker and Czech Investigative Reporter,” from the International Center For Journalists. Agência Lupa head of content Natalia Leal has been awarded for her organization’s work fighting both the pandemic and the deluge of falsehoods from Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro.
If you are a fact-checker and you’d like your work/projects/achievements highlighted in the next edition, send us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org by next Tuesday.
Thanks for reading Factually, and a special thanks to Alexa for joining us this week.