#GlobalFact8: Learning fact-checking from the experts

This past week, I was fortunate enough to spend four days “attending” the International Fact-Checking Network’s eighth annual conference. It was compelling and eye-opening!

Many of the discussions really could have been taking place at a school library conference: questioning how to better teach media literacy, grappling to understand why mistrust in journalism and fact-checking is so high, wrestling with necessary relationships with certain corporations to maintain funding and access without letting those companies set the global fact-checking agenda, and discussing how to do more work with less money. Other topics, like the massive mental toll of both spending your days lurking on lists that are promoting misinformation and possibly worse, and harassment ranging from insulting comments to imprisonment to death threats made or carried out, are elements I am deeply grateful are much less a part of our work lives.

I’ve been noodling on what to share with you all, but also suffering a bit from screen fatigue. Furthermore, I neither want to simply hand out the intellectual property of these individuals who work so hard to find and share what is true, and I want to be thoughtful about naming individuals who are already suffering from harassment.

Due to our very similar fields and goals, however, I am in contact with the IFCN about how our professions might work together — so stay tuned for more (and keep your fingers crossed).

A few, random hot tips, though:

  1. The preponderance of research suggests that educating people to recognize misinformation (“prebunking” or “inoculation”) is much more effective than trying to debunk misinformation in the moment.
  2. TickToc is by far fact checkers’ favorite tool for prebunking education about how algorithms work, since they say (sorry, I have to take their word for it!) it is so very, very clear what the algorithm is doing within that social network.
  3. Fact-checking videos is the hardest, YouTube is not interested in transparency, collaboration or funding fact-checking, and their algorithm very decisively recommends videos that blatantly run afoul of their takedown policy but are up and running and being promoted.
  4. In many countries, the national statistics agencies are run by political appointees. And the resulting statistics may be re-tabulated and/or deleted by subsequent administrations. May be whole different agencies, as well.
  5. The absolute best video for teaching the technicalities of researching if a video is real or a deep fake is this aerobics class. (Reach out if you want more about doing so — don’t want to just share out someone else’s lesson, but here is the actual fact-check on the video.)

In the meantime, at the risk of giving you just a list of resources, I would like to share a slightly annotated … list of resources. The following are some of the most compelling reports, slide decks, and videos that were shared over the course of the conference:

Some context on US situation from the American Press Institute:
*Report: A new way of looking at trust in media: Do Americans share journalism’s core values?
Slides – not from this talk, but much of the same content in shorter form
*Also check out:
–2016 Report: A new understanding: What makes people trust and rely on news
–2018 Report: Americans and the News Media: What they do — and don’t — understand about each other

Sponsors of the conference: International Fact-Checking Network – Poynter
*IFCN Code of Principles
*International Fact-Checking Network YouTube Channel — lots of great content!
–Including: Fact-checking in school: Best practices from around the world (I have not watched this yet, but I did see some of these speakers on other, related topics)
*MediaWise – Poynter – they have a teen fact-checking group

Verification Handbook – a detailed primer by a number of strong professionals in the field.

Inoculation Theory – one researcher argued there is the most evidence that this is the most effective, others have supported the approach in their talks. One paper, as an example. A field that can really guide us in thinking about the most impactful use of our limited time with students.

First Draft News
*A guide to prebunking: a promising way to inoculate against misinformation
*The psychology of misinformation
*Many other useful reports – worth a look!

Global Trends in Fact-Checking: A Data-Driven Analysis of ClaimReview by Thomas Van Damme
*Data visualizations

Why Gendered Disinformation — #SHEPERSISTED – Explains the issue of gendered disinformation that targets female politicians, etc.

Lead Stories – has a “red feed” and a “blue feed” and is clearly run by a beloved and respected member of the fact checking community

Disinformation for Export: how false content generated in the United States reaches Latin America

YouTube Regrets – how YouTube algorithm surfaces and recommends misinformation
*Press release for shorter read

A typology of caveats (from FullFact) – We’re continuing to investigate the type of contextual information that statistics need in order to be meaningful and used correctly.


Is it a Marvel film or a fact-checking newsroom? How Maldita.es uses its readers’ ‘superpowers’
This reminds me of some programs that could be built on preexisting TA programs, etc. in schools

A framework for information incidents – exploring how fact checking organizations should best respond in different incidents that can give rise to misinformation

GlobalFact 8 talk – Why good national statistics are so important for fact checkers – 2021-10-12
Gives insight into why it is so hard to use different country’s statistical data

Fact-Checking – Duke school of journalism

A comparison of reverse image search tools – has a handy summary chart if you scroll down

Weaponizing fact-checking: What Canada needs to know

https://fcl.eun.org/facts4all: The Facts4All – Schools as community hubs against disinformation is a one year project co-funded by the European Commission’s Media Literacy for All Programme project, which aims to increase awareness and critical thinking in relation to online disinformation across generations – in particular young people and their (grand)parents. — There is a MOOC

Headlines Network – Drive conversations towards improving mental health in the media and communications industries.

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