Where do you get your facts from?
In 2017, it’s never been more difficult to tell lies form the truth: White House spokespeople spout ‘alternative facts’, fake Twitter accounts spread fake stories that fool journalists, and propaganda-pushing rumour mills compete on an even playing field with established, mainstream media. But help is at hand: we present a sample of the world’s leading fact-checking resources to help you get your facts right.
Created by: Barbara and David P. Mikkelson
Managing Editor: Brooke Binkowski
Alexa rank: 1,897 (February 2017)
Snopes aims to debunk or confirm widely spread urban legends. The site has been referenced by news media and other sites, including CNN, Fox News Channel, MSNBC, and Australia’s ABC.
Fake stories recently debunked include:
- “Did police raid and burn a standing rock protest camp?”
- “Was Donald Trump seen at a Swiss resort with Vladimir Putin before the election?”
- “Did KellyAnne Conway say being labelled racist is ‘a small price to pay’ for making America great again?”
Created by: Brooks Jackson and Kathleen Hall Jamieson
Director: Brooke Binkowski
Alexa rank: 18,112 (February 2017)
FactCheck.org is a nonprofit website that describes itself as a non-partisan “consumer advocate for voters that aims to reduce the level of deception and confusion in U.S. politics”. It is a project of the Annenberg Public Policy Center of the Annenberg School for Communication at the University of Pennsylvania.
- “Christian refugees ‘Unfairly’ kept out?”
- “In the election, did Hillary Clinton only win 57 out of 3,141 counties?”
- “Did the Obama White House hold Islamic prayer five times a day, and provide prayer rugs for Muslim employees and visitors?”
Created by: Bill Adair
Editor: Angie Drobnic Holan
Alexa rank: 8,087 (February 2017)
PolitiFact.com is a project operated by the Tampa Bay Times, in which reporters and editors from the Times and affiliated media fact check statements by members of Congress, the White House, lobbyists and interest groups.
- “Is Donald Trump’s executive order a ‘Muslim ban’?”
- “Two Iraqis came here to this country, were radicalized and they were the masterminds behind the Bowling Green massacre... It didn’t get covered.”
- “Trump claims Obama made deal to take thousands of illegal immigrants from Australia.” (rated Half True)
Created by: Rich Buhler
Alexa rank: 77,747 (February 2017)
Topics are researched and rated ‘Truth’ or ‘Fiction’. When the accuracy is not known with certainty, the stories are rated ‘Unproven’, ‘Disputed’, ‘Reported to be Truth’ or ‘Reported to be Fiction’. Partially true stories are rated ‘Truth & Fiction’, ‘Truth but Inaccurate Details’, or similar.
- “Trump executive order leads to capture of ISIS leader at JFK airport.”
- “Donald Trump’s mother Mary Anne Macleod an illegal immigrant.”
- “800,000 illegals voted for Hillary Clinton in 2016.”
Created by/Editor: Glenn Kessler
Kessler and his team rate statements by politicians, usually on a scale between one and four Pinocchios – with one Pinocchio for minor shading of the facts and four Pinocchios for outright lies. A truthful statement gets a rare “Geppetto.”
- “Was Khalid Sheikh Mohammed ‘waterboarded’ 183 times?”
- “Trump’s claim that he did ‘substantially’ better with blacks than other GOP presidential candidates.”
- “Stephen Miller’s claim that 72 from banned countries were implicated in ‘terroristic activity’.”
Created by: Brett Christensen
Alexa rank: 122,948 (February 2017)
Hoax-Slayer.com is dedicated to analysing the veracity of urban legends. While it is best known for debunking false stories, it also hosts a page listing strange but true urban legends. It originated as a Yahoo! group before the website was established.
- “Urban Legend – NASA Scientists Discover Biblical ‘Missing Day’.”
- “No, WhatsApp is NOT set to start notifying you if someone screenshots your conversation.”
- “Bogus donation request email pretends to be from Prince Harry.”
Created by: Poynter Institute for Media Studies
Director: Alexios Mantzarlis
The Poynter website posts stories about trends and best practices in fact-checking worldwide, as well as updates from the International Fact-Checking Network.
- “Can fact-checkers teach future world leaders to lie less?”
- “Facebook has a plan to fight fake news. Here’s where we come in.”
- “Despite fact-checking, zombie myths about climate change persist.”
Created by: Le Monde
Manager: Samuel Laurent
Les Décodeurs is a section of the website of the French daily newspaper Le Monde and whose purpose is to verify information on a range of topics. The section is based on the work of a team of about 10 people including journalists, data journalists, graphic designers and social networking specialists.
- “When Donald Trump’s advisor invents a massacre that never happened.”
- “Seven statistics on children of immigrants in France.”
- “The nine flaws in François Fillon’s defence.”
Created by: David Schraven, Christian Humborg
Editor in Chief: Markus Grill
Alexa rank: 146,268 (February 2017)
The CORRECT!V is a German non-profit investigative journalism newsroom whose stated goal is “to give citizens access to information.” It claims to be the only nonpartisan, non-profit investigative centre in Germany.
- “Sloppy hygiene in hospitals causes more deaths than road traffic accidents.”
- “How racial profiling works in Germany.”
- “The end of press freedom.”
Created by: First Draft Coalition
Managing Director: Jenni Sargent
Alexa rank: 395,747 (February 2017)
First Draft formed as a non-profit coalition in June 2015 to raise awareness and address challenges relating to trust and truth in the digital age. It offers reference resources, case studies and best practice recommendations, authored by representatives from its nine founding partners, which include Google News Lab, Verification Junkie and Storyful.
- “Turkish nightclub attack raises more issues of mistaken identity and social media.”
- “Lessons from The New York Times Super Tuesday hoax: Five ways to spot fake news.”
- “7 vital browser plugins for newsgathering and verification.”