“ClaimReview”

What is MediaReview?

FAQs on the new schema we're helping to develop for fact-checks of images and videos.

By Joel Luther – June 11, 2020 | Print this article

MediaReview is a schema – a tagging system that web publishers can use to identify different kinds of content. Built specifically for fact-checkers to identify manipulated images and videos, we think of it as a sibling to ClaimReview, the schema developed by the Reporters’ Lab that allows fact-checkers to identify their articles for search engines and social media platforms.

By tagging their articles with MediaReview, publishers are essentially telling the world, “this is a fact-check of an image or video that may have been manipulated.” The goal is twofold: to allow fact-checkers to provide information to the tech platforms that a piece of media has been manipulated, and to establish a common vocabulary to describe types of media manipulation.

We hope these fact-checks will provide the tech companies with valuable new signals about misinformation. We recognize that they are independent from the journalists doing the fact-checking and it is entirely up to them if, and how, they use the signals. Still, we’re encouraged by the interest of the tech companies in this important journalism. By communicating clearly with them in consistent ways, independent fact-checkers can play an important role in informing people around the world.

Who created MediaReview?

The idea for a taxonomy to describe media manipulation was first proposed at our 2019 Tech & Check conference by Phoebe Connelly and Nadine Ajaka of the Washington Post. Their work eventually became The Fact Checker’s Guide to Manipulated Video, which heavily inspired the first MediaReview proposal.

The development of MediaReview has been an open process. A core group of representatives from the Reporters’ Lab, the tech companies, and the Washington Post led the development, issuing open calls for feedback throughout the process. We’ve worked closely with the International Fact Checking Network to ensure that fact-checkers operating around the world have been able to provide feedback. 

You can still access the first terminology proposal and the first structured data proposal, as well as comments offered on those documents.

What is the current status of MediaReview?

MediaReview is currently in pending status on Schema.org, which oversees the tagging that publishers use, which means it is still under development. 

The Duke Reporters’ Lab is testing the current version of MediaReview with several key fact-checkers in the United States: FactCheck.org, PolitiFact and The Washington Post.

You can see screenshots of our current MediaReview form, including working labels and definitions here: Claim Only, Video, Image.

We’re also sharing test MediaReview data as it’s entered by fact-checkers. You can access a spreadsheet of fact-checks tagged with MediaReview here.

How can I offer feedback?

Through our testing with fact-checkers and with an ever-expanding group of misinformation experts, we’ve identified a number of outstanding issues that we’re soliciting feedback on. Please comment on the linked Google Doc with your thoughts and suggestions.

We’re also proposing new Media Types and Ratings to address some of the outstanding issues, and we’re seeking feedback on those as well.

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We want your feedback on the MediaReview tagging system

The new tagging system will allow fact-checkers to alert tech platforms about false videos and fake images.

By Bill Adair – June 9, 2020 | Print this article

Last fall, we launched an ambitious effort to develop a new tagging system for fact-checks of fake videos and images. The idea was to take the same approach that fact-checkers use when they check claims by politicians and political groups, a system called ClaimReview, and build something of a sequel. We called it MediaReview.

For the past nine months, Joel Luther, Erica Ryan and I have been talking with fact-checkers, representatives of the tech companies and other leaders in the battle against misinformation. Our ever-expanding group has come up with a great proposal and would love your feedback.

Like ClaimReview, MediaReview is schema – a tagging system that web publishers can use to identify different kinds of content. By tagging their articles, the publishers are essentially telling the world, “This is a fact-check on this politician on this particular claim.” That can be a valuable signal to tech companies, which can decide if they want to add labels to the original content or demote its standing in a feed, or do nothing. It’s up to them.

(Note: Google and Facebook have supported the work of The Reporters’ Lab and have given us grants to develop MediaReview.)

ClaimReview, which we developed with Google and Schema.org five years ago, has been a great success. It is used by more than half of the world’s fact-checkers and has been used to tag more than 50,000 articles. Those articles get highlighted in Google News and in search results on Google and YouTube.

We’re hopeful that MediaReview will be equally successful. By responding quickly to fake videos and bogus images, fact-checkers can provide the tech platforms with vital information about false content that might be going viral. The platforms can then decide if they want to take action.

The details are critical. We’ve based MediaReview on a taxonomy developed by the Washington Post. We’re still discussing the names of the labels, so feel free to make suggestions about the labels – or anything.

You can get a deeper understanding of MediaReview in this article in NiemanLab.

You can see screenshots of our current MediaReview form, including working labels and definitions here: Claim Only, Video, Image.

You can see our distillation of the current issues and add your comments here.

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A better ClaimReview to grow a global fact-check database

Google and the Reporters’ Lab have developed an easier method of labelling and logging fact-check articles.

By Sanha Lim – April 18, 2019 | Print this article

It’s now much easier for fact-checkers to use ClaimReview, a tagging tool that logs fact-checks published around the world into one database. The tool helps search engines — and readers — find non-partisan fact-checks published globally. It also organizes fact-check content into structured data that automated fact-checking will require.

Currently, only half of the roughly 160 fact-checking organizations that the Duke Reporters’ Lab tracks globally use ClaimReview. In response, Google and the Duke Reporters’ Lab have developed an easier method of labelling the articles to help both recruit more users and expand a vital fact-check data set.

The locations of only some fact-checkers tracked by the Reporters’ Lab are visible here. A revised ClaimReview may help more log their fact-checks into a growing, global database.

ClaimReview was created in 2015 after a conversation between staff at Google and Glenn Kessler, the Washington Post fact-checker. Kessler wanted Google to highlight fact-checks in its search results. Bill Adair, director of the Duke Reporters’ Lab,  was soon brought in to help.

Dan Brickley from Schema.org, Justin Kosslyn from Google and Adair developed a tagging system based on the schemas maintained by Schema.org, an organization that develops structured ways of organizing information. They created a universal system for fact-checkers to label their articles to include the claim checked, who said it and a ruling on its accuracy. “It’s the infrastructure that provides the atomic unit of fact-checking to search engines,” Adair said.

Initially, ClaimReview produced a piece of code that fact-checkers copy and pasted into their online content management system. Google and other search engines look for the code when crawling content. Next, Chris Guess of Adair’s team developed a ClaimReview widget called Share the Facts, a content box summarizing fact-checks that PolitiFact, FactCheck.org and the Washington Post can publish online and share on social media.

The latest version of ClaimReview no longer requires users to copy and paste the code, which can behave inconsistently on different content management systems. Instead, fact-checkers only have to fill out Google form fields similar to what they used previously to produce the code.

While the concept of ClaimReview is simple, it opens to the door to more innovation in fact-checking. It organizes data in ways that can be reused. By “structuring journalism, we can present content in more valuable ways to people,” said Adair.

By labeling fact-checks, the creators effectively created a searchable database of fact-checks, numbering about 24,000 today. The main products under development at the Reporters’ Lab, from FactStream to Squash, rely on fact-check databases. Automated fact-checking especially requires a robust database to quickly match untrue claims to previously published fact-checks.

Bill Adair presenting at Tech & Check 2019

The database ClaimReview builds offers even more possibilities. Adair hopes to tweak the fields fact-checkers fill in to provide better summaries of the fact-checks and provide more information to readers. In addition, Adair envisions ClaimReview being used to tag types of misinformation, as well as authors and publishers of false content. It could also tag websites that have a history of publishing false or misleading articles.

The tagging already is already benefiting some fact-check publishers. “ClaimReview helps to highlight and surface our fact-checks on Google, more than the best SEO skills or organic search would be able to achieve,” said Laura Kapelari, a journalist with Africa Check. ClaimReview has increased traffic on Africa Check’s website and helped the smaller Africa Check compete with larger media houses, she said. It also helps fact-checkers know which facts have already been investigated, which reduces redundant checks.

Joel Luther, the ClaimReview project manager in the Reporters’ Lab, expects this new ClaimReview format will save fact-checkers time and decrease errors when labeling fact-checks. However, there is still room to grow. Kapelari wishes there was a way for the tool to automatically grab key fields such as names in order to save time.

The Reporters’ Lab has a plan to promote ClaimReview globally. Adair is already busy on that front. Early this month, a group of international fact-checkers and technologists met in Durham for Tech & Check 2019, an annual conference where people on this quest share progress on automated fact-checking projects intended to fight misinformation. Adair, an organizer of Tech & Check, emphasized new developments with ClaimReview, as well as its promise for automating fact-checking.

Not much would be possible without this tool, he stressed. “It’s the secret sauce.”

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Reporters’ Lab to launch project to promote ClaimReview

Google-funded project will seek to expand number of fact-checkers using tagging system

By Erica Ryan – October 2, 2018 | Print this article

The Duke Reporters’ Lab is launching a global effort to get more publishers to adopt ClaimReview, a schema.org open standard tagging system or “markup” that search engines and other major digital platforms use to find and highlight fact-checking articles.

The ClaimReview project, funded by a $200,000 grant from the Google News Initiative, will include a partnership with the International Fact-Checking Network, the global alliance of fact-checking organizations based at the Poynter Institute.

The Reporters’ Lab will develop instructional materials about ClaimReview and assist publishers in adopting a new tool to create the markup more easily with help from Google and Data Commons. The Lab also will work to expand the number of publishers around the world that are using ClaimReview. The IFCN will produce webinars and conduct outreach and training sessions at fact-checking conferences around the world, including the group’s annual Global Fact conference.

ClaimReview was developed three years ago through a partnership of the Reporters’ Lab, Google, and schema.org. It provides a standard way for publishers of fact-checks to identify the claim being checked, the person or entity that made the claim, and the conclusion of the article. The standardization enables search engines and other platforms to highlight the fact-checks in search results.

Google and Bing, the Microsoft search engine, both use ClaimReview to highlight fact-checking articles in search results and their own news products. Facebook announced in the summer that it plans to use ClaimReview as part of its partnership with fact-checkers.

The Reporters’ Lab uses ClaimReview as a key element in the Tech & Check Cooperative, our ambitious effort to automate fact-checking. Projects such as the FactStream app for iPhone and iPad and a new app being developed for television rely on the markup.

“ClaimReview is one of the untold success stories of the fact-checking movement,” said Bill Adair, director of the Reporters’ Lab. “It’s helping people find the facts in search results and helping fact-checkers increase their audience and impact.”

Despite the success, the Reporters’ Lab team estimates that roughly half the fact-checkers in the world still are not using the tagging system. Some fact-checkers have found it cumbersome to create the ClaimReview markup in their own publishing systems, while others have been confused about the different options for making it.

The new project will help editors switch to the new Google / Data Commons markup tool, a simpler way of generating ClaimReview, and provide technical assistance when they need it.

“We think of this project as ClaimReview 2.0,” Adair said. “This should expand the number of publishers using it, which should broaden the audience for fact-checking around the world.”

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