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A major summit on fact-checking just ended and I am glad to have attended and have witnessed many pioneers of the field.

Here are a few notes. They are not necessarily structured. Also some ideas inspired by the summit.

First of all, I am sure this summit could not be that effective without Alexios Mantzarlis‘ organization.  Secondly, Prof. Bill Adair‘s academic guidance seems to  be another component of success.  the International  Fact-Checking Network (IFCN), who is behind the summit, is affiliated with Ponynter Insitute. With this summit and newly received funding, the network will have a substantive community in near future.

As a funding source, Google representatives were visible (the Summit in fact was held in Google’s Campus Madrid) and Facebook was also there but I did not see any representation of Twitter. I understand Google and Facebook have massive budgets and they are more visible in citizens’ lives and of course they maybe financially more supportive of fact-checking initiatives but Twitter is a vital journalism tool and it could be good to see it around. In the meantime, as their representatives admitted, it is still early to share their data with fact-checking initiatives. I heard about this complaint a lot. Someone suggested these corporations can at least give free advertising to fact-checkers. This might be possible. In fact, my own complaint is that Facebook made it nearly impossible for small initiatives to have organic growth. You have to “boost” your posts to get audiences. Although I appreciate some of Facebook’s moves against fake news, it is too late and too limited. At one point, a Facebook representative said one of the criteria to detect fake news is the low quality of those pages. But as some social bots studies show in order to be effective one has to have big budget and I am sure those fake news pages can turn into “high quality” pages while ordinary honest users may suffer.

Fact-check community reminds me the glorious Global Voices community. Now the blogging/ citizen media is passing away – sort of-, receiving less funding, fact-checking emerges as a new attraction point.

Since this has become a new attraction- that also means more funding sources- one can think some initiatives are just there to benefit from that. While some initiatives were established to meet urgent and substantive demands. Turkish case could be a good example. Turkish citizen media has been substantively involved in verification issues – my own article in Turkish– but one feels a sense of peripheral-ness in listening to presentations. I wish Turkish cases could be more visible.

Of course there comes terminological differences. I guess fact-checking is an older one and more understandable for legcy media and verification is more related to emergence of social media and big data:

Two initiatives from Turkey have showed up in the summit. I believe they all do good jobs in their own expertise:

 

Finally, a somewhat frustrated journalist noted in the summit, fact-checking etc are in fact inherent part of a journalist does. Understandably some journalists are anxious with the emergence of new group of initiatives that challenges their authority. However, collapsing business models for journalism gives less time and financial assistance for journalists to challenge fast-rising user generated content. Verification needs more time and expertise as new media emerge.  Here, fact-checkers can be helpful part of journalistic production instead of being seen as rivals…

Well, this is a quantification: How much a fact-checking review costs in US context:

 

 

Some new initiatives:

 

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