Verification and accuracy

Factually: Global fact-checkers find strength in numbers

Fact-checking is a form of journalism, and journalism is, at heart, a competitive sport. But when faced with this year’s dual fire hoses of political and COVID-19 misinformation, fact-checkers have had little choice but to work together. The Paris Peace Forum, a yearly gathering of world leaders and nongovernmental organizations working to solve global problems, highlighted […]

Factually: The next COVID-19 misinformation wave

Pfizer’s announcement this week that it had a 90% effective vaccine against COVID-19 provided a glimpse of the wave of mis- and disinformation that could engulf any effort to bring about broad distribution – and acceptance – of such a vaccine. The announcement itself was the subject of a conspiracy theory: that it came out […]

Factually: The wait for final results gives misinformers an opening

This tweet from Factually’s founding father, former IFCN director Alexios Mantzarlis, sums it up perfectly — the longer we go without a definitive presidential election winner, the greater the opportunity there is for misinformation. Nowhere is that phenomenon clearer than in Pennsylvania, a swing state whose results are expected to take longer than most. As New York […]

Factually: Turning human error into election ‘fraud’

Humans make mistakes, and this year’s election – run by humans – will bring plenty of them. Poll workers are managing the vote during a pandemic. Laws are changing, sometimes late in the game because of court rulings. A greater number of people are voting by mail. And with the inevitable mistakes comes a whole […]

Factually: The power of simple hoaxes

Amid all the discussion over coordinated disinformation campaigns from both foreign and domestic actors aimed at this year’s elections, a fake email in Iowa reminds us that falsehoods don’t really need to be that complicated. After an Oct. 15 debate between incumbent Iowa Sen. Joni Ernst and her Democratic challenger Theresa Greenfield, critics pounced on […]

Factually: The Catch-22 for journalists in Trump’s pleas for poll-watchers

The call from President Donald Trump and his allies for an “army” of poll watchers is drawing concern from some election experts that Trump supporters will show up at the polls to create conflict and intimidate voters. There is also concern that even the possibility of such conflict will drive voters away. ​​“It is possible that the […]

Factually: Hoaxers turn to the same tactics all over again

Fact-checkers chronicled a flood of misinformation following President Donald Trump’s COVID-19 diagnosis. A big one was that Trump wasn’t really sick — that his diagnosis was either a fake play for sympathy or part of the larger debunked QAnon conspiracy. But three particularly conspiratorial hoaxes followed familiar patterns. They bear similarities to falsehoods we’ve seen before and serve as […]

Factually: Issues compete with atmospherics in the first presidential debate

In a rational world, politicians would argue for their candidacies by making reasoned statements about issues and policies, and fact-checkers could then measure those statements against the truth. Then there is the world we saw in Tuesday night’s debate between President Donald Trump and his Democratic challenger Joe Biden. It was anything but rational. Amid […]

Factually: Banding together

This week a study by the Oxford Internet Institute showed that only 1% of a sample of YouTube videos spreading COVID-19 misinformation received a fact-checking label when recirculated on Facebook. The study authors concluded that Facebook’s Third Party Fact-Checking program may be overmatched by the sheer amount of false information on YouTube and Facebook. (Full disclosure: Facebook requires […]

Factually: Threats real and imagined

It would be easy if we could just write off conspiracy theories as harmless nonsense. Alas, they might be nonsense, but they’re not harmless. A number of stories this week point to the ways conspiracy theories can lead to harm by causing believers to fear — and sometimes act on — imagined threats, even as […]