Nieman Foundation at Harvard
HOME
          
LATEST STORY
The Honest Ads Act would force Internet companies to change their disclosure practices by January 1, 2018
ABOUT                    SUBSCRIBE
Aug. 4, 2017, 8:13 a.m.
Audience & Social

Facebook is paying its fact-checking partners now (and giving them a lot more work to do)

Plus: Surrounding fake news with real news, fake news games, and Kenya faces an election.

The growing stream of reporting on and data about fake news, misinformation, partisan content, and news literacy is hard to keep up with. This weekly roundup offers the highlights of what you might have missed.

Facebook is paying its factcheckers now (and giving them more work). Facebook rolled out an update this week that will surround popular articles in the News Feed with related articles — “part of Facebook’s strategy to limit the damage of false news without censoring those posts,” reports The Wall Street Journal’s Deepa Seetharaman. The article also notes that Facebook has started paying its factchecking partners (like Snopes and PolitiFact), who “will start seeing more articles in their queues.”

“We don’t want to be and are not the arbiters of the truth. The factcheckers can give the signal of whether a story is true or false,” Facebook product manager Tessa Lyons told TechCrunch’s Josh Constine.

The amount of work that the factcheckers do for Facebook seems to vary. USA Today’s Rachel Sandler spoke to some of them:

Aaron Sharockman, the executive director of Politifact, told USA Today he sees about 200 flagged stories per day. A small amount of those stories are patently false, he said. The rest are either completely true stories reported by trolls or misleading — but not necessarily false — hyper-partisan clickbait…

Lori Robertson, managing editor at FactCheck.org, told USA Today the organization debunks between two and three articles per week for the Facebook partnership. She added that the partnership with Facebook has made the nonprofit shift more resources to debunking fake viral claims.

Similarly, Sharockman said Politifact fact checks one or two fake stories per day for Facebook. The Associated Press does “a handful a week, often many more,” said AP social media editor Eric Carvin. ABC News has debunked a total of two dozen stories since January.

‘We’re seven people total and we’re also fact checking a White House that’s certainly making a lot of news, so we’re getting to one or two things, but we’re only getting to one or two things,’ Sharockman said. ‘That means it may take a few days before we get to fact check even a popular story.’

It does seem to be working. Paul Horner, who owns more than a dozen fake news sites (like St. George Gazette, ABC.com.de, and CNN.com.de), told USA Today, “There’s definitely been a huge change, a dramatic change. It’s hurt my wallet for sure with how difficult it is now to get something to go viral and people so quick to call things fake news.”

Guys, haven’t you been listening? It’s easy to spread fake news German researchers find it surprising that it was so easy to create a far-right fake news blog (“one false story claimed that asylum seekers were having free sex with prostitutes funded by a local council”) that got traction. “It was striking that our Facebook profile was never questioned — not by Facebook, that is, the institution itself, nor by other users,” Professor Wolfgang Schweiger, who probably needs to go talk to Paul Horner, told the BBC.

But wait, there’s more…

  • Facebook educates on fake news in Kenya ahead of its general election. (Quartz)
  • The ongoing battle between science teachers and fake news. (NPR)
  • My colleague Christine Schmidt wrote about fake news games this week. (Nieman Lab)
  • Illustration from L.M. Glackens’ The Yellow Press (1910) via The Public Domain Review.

POSTED     Aug. 4, 2017, 8:13 a.m.
SEE MORE ON Audience & Social
PART OF A SERIES     Real News About Fake News
SHARE THIS STORY
   
Show comments  
Show tags
 
Join the 45,000 who get the freshest future-of-journalism news in our daily email.
The Honest Ads Act would force Internet companies to change their disclosure practices by January 1, 2018
Plus: A former Russian troll speaks out; a definition of disinformation; Wikitribune’s preferred news sources.
From Nieman Reports: The powers and perils of news personalization
News personalization could help publishers attract and retain audiences — in the process making political polarization even worse.
In the Arab media world, politics is in the spotlight. This site is breaking the mold by using music as its lens
As a site focused on independent music, the five-year-old Ma3azef.com still has limited competition — and is trying everything from new print products to multi-country live music festivals.