Morning MediaWire: Fact-checkers face off with Facebook today

February 6, 2018
Category: Newsletters

More than a year after Facebook launched a project that allowed fact-checkers to label content on its platform as false, the two sides are coming together today for a check-in to see how things are going.

The confab at Facebook's Menlo Park, California, campus came at the behest of the International Fact-Checking Network, based here at Poynter. Representatives from IFCN, along with fact-checkers from organizations such as Libération, Snopes, PolitiFact and hope to press the company on how the flagging system is working so far.

Fact-checkers are hoping the company will release more information and be more transparent.

Daniel Funke, who covers fact-checking for the IFCN and Poynter, talked with four fact-checkers about their expectations and their experiences so far with the Facebook project. Most agreed that things were better, but that they still had a long way to go. Here's his story setting the stage for the meeting.

We'd love to tell you that we'll be live-tweeting the meeting or following up on this story. But there's just this one thing: Unfortunately, the meeting is being conducted off the record, at Facebook's request.

The Dow fallout, annotated

Poynter's Al Tompkins gives us some perspective this morning on Monday's stock market meltdown. In a word: chill. Here's an excerpt from his story

"But let's add some context. The stock market always needs context. Monday, the market dropped 4.6 percent. It has done that before. In fact, it has done far worse in a single day." 

"The scary headlines focus on the 'points' that the Dow dropped. True, 1,175 points is a record for a single day. The record before Monday was in 2008, when the market dropped 777 points, which accounted for a nearly 7 percent drop. As a percentage, the single worst day on the Dow was in 1987 when the Dow shed 22 percent of its value."

CNN had a nice explainer about how computers, not humans, seemed to be the culprit for the fast tumble. Maybe that explains this tweet from New York Times Washington correspondent Binyamin Appelbaum:

And The New York Times reports this morning that global markets are off, and it's likely to be another rough day in the U.S. as well.

Quick hits

CHAOS AT NEWSWEEK: The magazine, once a fierce rival to Time, fired editor in chief Bob Roe, executive editor Ken Li and reporter Celeste Katz on Monday. The Newsweek staff was also sent home for the day. CNN reported that the fired editors had all published pieces reporting on the company's recent financial troubles. Senior writer Matthew Cooper submitted his resignation Monday, said CNN, which also reported people were drinking in the newsroom and openly expressing fears about their jobs.

A CAUSE FOR ALARM: You might have missed it in the run-up to Super Bowl on Sunday, but Politico published a chilling piece examining how Russian bots and Trump fans made #ReleaseTheMemo go viral. An excerpt: "In the space of a few hours on January 18, #releasethememo exploded on Twitter, evolving over the next few days from being a marker for discussion on (Devin) Nunes’ memo through multiple iterations of an expanding conspiracy theory about missing FBI text messages and imaginary secret societies plotting internal coups against the president. #releasethememo provided an organizational framework for this comprehensive conspiracy theory, which, in its underpinnings, is meant to minimize and muddle concerns about Russian interference in American politics."

EYES TO THE SKY: Elon Musk, the founder of SpaceX, is set to launch the world's most powerful rocket into space today. The window is from 1:30 to 4 p.m. Eastern time. Read this New York Times backgrounder on the effort.

ANATOMY OF A 'STANDOFF:' The Dallas Morning News has a compelling interactive explaining how police took down the gunman who killed five officers in July.

THE PULITZER FOR MAGAZINES: The National Magazine Award, staged by the American Society of Magazine Editors, has announced finalists. Leading the pack was New York Magazine with 10. The New Yorker received eight nominations, followed by The Atlantic and National Geographic, each with five. Winners are announced March 13.

TROUBLE AT TEXAS MONTHLY: The Daily Beast asks, "Can the best magazine in Texas be saved?" Apparently 11 top editorial fixtures have left the venerable magazine since the new owner, private equity firm Genesis Park, took over.

RISE AGAINST THE MACHINES: Not exactly machines, but some of the early employees at Facebook and Google have formed a coalition to challenge the companies they helped build, reports The New York Times.  "The cohort is creating a union of concerned experts called the Center for Humane Technology. Along with the nonprofit media watchdog group Common Sense Media, it also plans an anti-tech addiction lobbying effort and an ad campaign at 55,000 public schools in the United States."

A MISS ON STEVE WYNN?: The Las Vegas Review-Journal, reporting on its own newsroom, says a 1998 story alleging sexual misconduct by casino magnate Steve Wynn was killed. From the story: "After killing the article, the newspaper ordered the reporter who wrote it to delete it from the newspaper’s computer system. The Review-Journal’s decision came after Wynn’s attorneys met with the reporter and the newspaper paid for lie-detector tests for two women who alleged a culture of harassment at the Wynn-owned Mirage. Allegations about Wynn’s conduct appeared in a Wall Street Journal story last month." Meanwhile, the reporter, Carri Geer Thevenot, who had kept a printout of the story, talked with the Washington Post on Monday.

FILE THIS UNDER WEIRD: A Philadelphia journalist is the inspiration behind a new Justin Timberlake song. But he couldn't care less. says "It appears that a fiery two-year-old Twitter exchange in which Philadelphia Magazine’s LGBTQ editor Ernest Owens accused pop star Justin Timberlake of cultural appropriation inspired a track on Timberlake’s new album, Man of the Woods."

DEADLINE APPROACHING: Copyright registration fees are about to go up, and the National Press Photographers Association is warning members to beat it or else face steep increases.

FOODIE FIGHT: Food personality Anthony Bourdain took a shot at restaurant critics for staying silent about sexual harassment in the industry. That didn't sit well with New York Times critic Pete Wells.

AD INFINITUM: So which Super Bowl ad was the best? AdWeek has its usual list, and the winner is … Amazon. Here's the entire list, with rankings from 1-55 (Diet Coke, in case you were wondering about 55).

New on 

THIS ISN'T GOOD: A new report from the Local Media Association about newsrooms' efforts at digital transformation summed it up nicely with this quote: "It's like mowing the yard when the house is on fire." CEOs, according to the report, didn’t think they’re getting much out of what they’ve invested in digital. Digital leaders surveyed didn’t think the CEOs get how long it takes to truly transform. The report goes on to list all the things that anger people about their organizations' efforts. (No surprise: Unrealistic budgets is one of them.)

CALENDAR ROULETTE: In his latest Try This! newsletter, Ren LaForme tells us about a time-saving scheduling app called Calendly. Best of all, it's free.

MUSEUMS SHOW THE WAY: Newsrooms all over are looking for ways to engage with their audience, with most of it taking place on social media platforms. This writer recently took part in that fun exercise where you took a selfie and it showed your artistic doppelganger. Why not explore some other ways that museums are engaging with their visitors, she thought. Here are nine ideas that she shared with us.

What Poynter people are up to

  • Indira Lakshmanan, our ethics chair, will be guest hosting NPR's national current affairs call-in show “On Point” from WBUR in Boston all of week. Tune in live online from 10am-12pm or whenever it airs on your local NPR station. Tuesday's shows will look at an explosive AP report that the Pope ignored detailed reports of clergy sex abuse in Chile, and a new book by New Yorker contributor on pushing our bodies and minds to the limits of human endurance.
  • Al Tompkins is in Washington, D.C., training with employees at Voice of America. 

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