Who is qualified to fight disinformation?
Journalists, debunkers, scientists, experts in a speciﬁc ﬁeld…
…but how do we avoid
the Buddy Pine/Syndrome effect?
1. A commitment to nonpartisanship and fairness
4. A commitment to transparency of methodology
3. A commitment to transparency of funding & organization
2. A commitment to transparency of sources
5. A commitment to an open & honest corrections policy
➤ 66 veriﬁed signatories, 19 expired veriﬁed signatories
in more than 60 countries
(Duke Reporters' Lab, 2019 census)
Is the newsroom the fact-checker’s
1. All journalists should be fact-checkers and debunkers
2. Media outlets should provide training and dedicated spaces
…what is your experience?
Some best practices:
my (personal) fact-checking Oscars
Life in the newsroom is hectic and constantly under pressure.
In order to produce an effective fact-checking format, we need
to ask ourselves some basic questions ﬁrst:
1. Is it doable with the resources we have?
2. Is it appealing to the readers?
3. Is it easy to grasp?
4. Are we sure that we aren’t just giving ourselves a pat on the back?
A simple format
that doesn’t cost much
and appeals the readers
If you ask any citizen in the world if they’ve come across
disinformation or misinformation in the past year the answer will most
probably be “yes.” “More than once.”
If you keep the conversation going, they will tell you that on many
occasions such deceiving pieces came in the form of images, videos,
memes and screenshots instead of URLs.
If you’re talking to someone that lives in a country that uses
messaging apps such as WhatsApp they will most probably tell you
that they received them on their cellphones.
These are the three assumptions that we made when we at Maldito
Bulo chose our debunking format. The disinformation we were seeing
came in visual layouts, adapted to mobile devices and created to
reach virality by being light to share and easy to consume.
We decided to copy the “bad guys” in order to ﬁght back. (…) We
decided to try to make the facts as viral as the lies. And it worked.
Clara Jiménez Cruz
Sometimes you do not even need a fact-checking format…
…Trump was meandering, combative and inaccurate in
many of his answers — attacking “fake news” CNN,
referencing his uncle “John Trump at MIT” to crow about his
understanding of nuclear weapons and repeatedly
lampooning President Barack Obama, his predecessor. He
again falsely stated that he had predicted Brexit one day
before it happened, while visiting his Turnberry golf club, and
said that the United States was responsible for 90 percent of
NATO spending. (The United States accounted for 68.7
percent of NATO members’ combined defense spending last
year, reﬂecting its superpower status and 3.57 percent of
gross domestic product.) Trump also overstated the trade
deﬁcit with China and the number of troops in Germany.
July 3, 2018
“…In one or two sentences, reporters are
increasingly noting when a politician makes a
We analyzed stories from the AP, New York
Times and Washington Post using this approach
and found a steady increase since 2015.”
Julianna Rennie and Bill Adair, ‘Embedded fact-checks’ shouldn’t
just be about Trump, June 7, 2019
…while sometimes you must use nukes to get what you want
(and if you are VERY good at it, you’ll get it)
Right, now that we enjoyed the pat on our backs….
"19 European media outlets from 13 countries
are fact-checking the May 2019 European elections for you"
But what were the results?
1. Lack of polarization in EU elections
2. Less about people, more about ideas
3. Complexity (28 countries, 26 languages)
4. More interest (and more hoaxes) for local elections
3 days - 3 journalists
42 questions - 30 answers
This is precisely the problem:
Scale and Impact
From the point of view of journalists:
➽ how do we bring the fact-check to the readers?
➽ fact-check yourself ﬁrst, and be accountable:
it is all about rebuilding the trust cycle
➽ it is NOT about how good we are in correcting others,
but about how good we are in admitting our mistakes ﬁrst
From the point of view of academics:
➽ backﬁre effect and polarisation:
how much do we know?
➽ How do we measure the impact
in a world of hyperfragmented information?
"First-generation fact-checking” is no longer good enough.
Here’s what comes next”, Laura Hazard Owen, Nieman Lab, June 21, 2019