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Olga Yurkova
How to thwart fake news

There are hardly any people or objects we touch as frequently as our smartphones. Olga Yurkova, a Ukrainian journalist and activist, is convinced that this is why we’re so quick to believe the fake news displayed on our phones.

When Russia seized the Ukraine’s Crimean peninsula, Olga Yurkova and her colleagues began checking the news on their social networks. But in such a highly politicized crisis, how can we neutrally assess what’s true and what’s “fake news”?

In the political competition between rival claims to truth, "fake news" is one of the few weapons on which no party has a monopoly: it is used by right-wing populists, but sometimes centre-left journalists, too – often in mutual accusations. So Olga Yurkova and her colleagues make a case for trading in the hyperpoliticized category of “truth” for hard facts: clearly verifiable information such as names, academic degrees, places, addresses and photographs. "This,” she says, “is the first step towards a society of truth."