The myth busters

Arm yourself with the simple sword of fact-checking websites

Where do you get your facts from?

(Photo by The Climate Reality Project on Unsplash)

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.

Launched: 1995
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:

Launched: 2003
Created by: Brooks Jackson and Kathleen Hall Jamieson
Director: Brooke Binkowski
Alexa rank: 18,112 (February 2017) 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.

Launched: 2007
Created by: Bill Adair
Editor: Angie Drobnic Holan
Alexa rank: 8,087 (February 2017) 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.

 Launched: 1999
 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.

Washington Post’s Fact Checker

Launched: 2007
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.”

Launched: 2003
Created by: Brett Christensen
Alexa rank: 122,948 (February 2017) 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.

International Fact-Checking Network

Launched: 2015
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.

Les Décodeurs

Launched: 2009
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.


Launched: 2014
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.

First Draft News

Launched: 2015
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.