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Screenshot from “These Big Native American Facebook Pages Are Actually Being Run By People In Kosovo And Vietnam,” by Craig Silverman for BuzzFeedNews.

I recently gave testimony at the Miami meeting of the Knight Commission on Trust, Media and Democracy. Here are my speaking notes. I published this piece on Medium originally here.

I have read some of the other testimony before the Commission and was pleased to see people speak about media literacy, the alarming ease with which technology will enable us to create compelling audio and video fakes, so-called “information disorder” brought on by massive changes in communications technology, and the shift in trust from institutions to “people like me.” These are important topics.

I’m here to talk about Native American content on Facebook. …


I recently gave testimony at the Miami meeting of the Knight Commission on Trust, Media and Democracy. The Commission is charged with examining “the causes and consequences of a collapse in trust in democratic institutions, with a focus on trust in the media, journalism and the information ecosystem.” Here are my speaking notes.

I have read some of the other testimony before the Commission and was pleased to see people speak about media literacy, the alarming ease with which technology will enable us to create compelling audio and video fakes, so-called “information disorder” brought on by massive changes in communications technology, and the shift in trust from institutions to “people like me.” …


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Image by Tim Simpson on Flickr. Some rights reserved

Find more reads and resources on newsgathering, verification and eyewitness media at FirstDraftNews.com

At the start of the CNBC Republican debate Wednesday night, PolitiFact put out a call to its followers to help identify checkable statements:

At the same time the team of PolitiFact checkers were watching the debate and listening intently for claims, an automated system was scanning the live debate transcript and tweeting out checkable statements like these:

Those are statements made by debate participants that contain a factual claim. …


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Eliot Higgins speaks at the Norwegian Foundation for a Free and Investigative Press

Find more reads and resources on newsgathering, verification and eyewitness media at FirstDraftNews.com

One of the best ways to enjoy an Eliot Higgins workshop about how he uses open source information to verify details about the shooting down of flight MH17, or other topics, is to turn your back on him and look at the audience.

Eliot will calmly yet speedily take people through a workflow that incorporates analyzing satellite images, YouTube videos, Instagram posts, military equipment databases, shoe size calculators — and on and on — to help answer a single question about, say, a specific munition.

As he breaks down his method, smiles begin to creep across faces in the audience. The smiles then shift to looks of astonishment as they process how this one person can use all of these tools and techniques to answer what may seem like a very difficult or obscure question. …


by Craig Silverman, for First Draft

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A Daily Mirror story about a recent hoax.

Find more reads and resources on newsgathering, verification and eyewitness media at FirstDraftNews.com

Online hoaxes often share the same characteristics and are created and deployed using the same tactics. If you spend enough time tracking and debunking hoaxes, your nose for sniffing them out gets more refined and you’re less likely to fall for them.

But not all of us can dedicate months or years to hunting and documenting hoaxes. So here are some of the things I’ve learned over the years.

1. Timelines don’t add up

People perpetrating a hoax often have to construct a backstory in order to build credibility. This may involve creating a history for a company, person, or other entity. The farther back they go to establish credibility, the more likely they are to make mistakes. …


By Craig Silverman

I recently completed a fellowship with the Tow Center for Digital Journalism that saw me study how news organizations handle online rumors and unverified claims. I also examined best practices for debunking online misinformation.

This research is collected in a detailed report that you can download and read for free. It’s called “Lies, Damn Lies and Viral Content: How News Websites Spread (and Debunk) Online Rumors, Unverified Claims and Misinformation.” You can view the data we collected (and continue to collect) by visiting Emergent, our real-time rumor tracker.

Below is a report excerpt that offers a look at current debunking efforts in journalism, and among the skeptic community. If you like what you see, you should sign up for our weekly rumor roundup email.


I recently completed a fellowship with the Tow Center for Digital Journalism that saw me study how news organizations handle online rumors and unverified claims. I also examined best practices for debunking online misinformation.

This research is collected in a detailed report that you can download and read for free. It’s called “Lies, Damn Lies and Viral Content: How News Websites Spread (and Debunk) Online Rumors, Unverified Claims and Misinformation.” You can view the data we collected (and continue to collect) by visiting Emergent, our real-time rumor tracker.

Below is a report excerpt that offers a case study of the most debunked false rumor we tracked. The Emergent page with the data is here. If you like what you see, you should sign up for our weekly rumor roundup email.


“Man cut off manhood and threw it in bin after girlfriend dumped him over small penis

That’s the headline on a recent Daily Mirror story, and it nicely sums up the basic details of this moderately viral tale.

At the rumor-tracking and debunking site Emergent.info, we currently have this claim marked as Unverified. But at least one core piece of evidence supporting it has been proven false, not that this had an effect on its spread from one media outlet to another.

As you can see from the Emergent claim page about the story, all of the usual viral news early movers have jumped on the story. …

About

Craig Silverman

Media editor of BuzzFeed News. Founded Emergent.info and RegretTheError.com

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