Building news savvy: Best practices
Share the Facts
WHAT IS IT?
Share the Facts is a widget that highlights relevant, credible fact-checks of politicians and other public figures and makes them easily shareable. The widget enables Google, Amazon and other platforms to more readily identify fact-checks through machine-readable code. Journalists can embed a related factcheck in a story. News consumers can embed the widget to share on Facebook and Twitter. Since the project launched in 2016, participants have created 15,000 widgets.
WHO’S BEHIND IT?
Share the Facts was developed by the Duke Reporters’ Lab and Jigsaw, a technology incubator within Alphabet, the parent company of Google. Fourteen organizations in seven countries use the widget, including PolitiFact and The Washington Post. Partners are vetted by the Reporters’ Lab and a majority of them are members of the International Fact-Checking Network.
DOES IT WORK?
The widget has enabled Google and other platforms to spotlight fact-checks, according to Erica Ryan, project manager. Share the Facts partners say their digital traffic from search engines grows after they start using the widget. In general, more research is needed, but one study suggests that popular storytelling formats (such as video) make fact-checks more consumable, and another says Twitter users are more likely to accept corrections from friends and followers and less likely on political stories.
HOW TO DO IT
Fact-checkers can contact firstname.lastname@example.org. The Reporters’ Lab vets fact-checkers to determine whether they are unbiased, clear communicators. Approved partners gain access to a simple online widget maker form that complies with the ClaimReview format that search engine machines use to read content. The widgets can be customized with the fact-checkers’ logos and ratings, such as Pinocchios or the Truth-O-Meter. The Reporters’ Lab also created guidelines for using the widget.
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Sayo Akao is a recent graduate from Arizona State University’s Walter Cronkite School of Journalism & Mass Communication. As digital communication specialist in the News Co/Lab, Akao is assisting the team to create positive change in news literacy through a variety of different approaches.