- Fakery and misinformation are challenges for journalists and news consumers, especially in the era of social media and digital platforms. Fact checking is a practice that aims to verify the accuracy and reliability of claims, statements, or sources.
- Fact checking has a long history, but it has become more prominent and popular in recent years, partly as a response to the proliferation of fake news and partly as a way to document issues more thoroughly than in routine news reporting.
- Fact checking is not only done by journalists, but also by independent organizations, researchers, academics, and citizens. There are more than 50 dedicated fact-checking outlets across Europe, and many more around the world.
- Fact checking is not a perfect solution, however. It faces challenges such as limited resources, partisan bias, public trust, and effectiveness.
- Some studies suggest that people who actively seek fact-checked information often still share misinformation on social media.
This page is an article from the RMIT ABC Fact Check website (see below), which is a fact-checking journalism project that verifies the claims of influential people and organisations in Australia. The article discusses the following points:
- The problem of fake news: The term ‘fake news’ has been misused and abused by politicians and others to dismiss or discredit news reports that they do not like or agree with. The term also fails to capture the complexity and diversity of misinformation and disinformation that circulate online and influence public opinion and behaviour.
- The role of fact-checkers: Fact-checkers are journalists who research and verify the accuracy and reliability of claims made by public figures, organisations and media outlets. They use various tools and methods to assess the evidence and sources behind the claims and provide verdicts based on facts and data. Fact-checkers also educate and engage with audiences and stakeholders to promote informed and rational debate.
- The challenges and opportunities for fact-checking: Fact-checking faces many challenges in the fast-changing and saturated news ecosystem, such as the speed and scale of disinformation, the difficulty of reaching and convincing loyal supporters of certain claims or ideologies, and the need to adapt to new technologies and platforms. However, fact-checking also has opportunities to improve its practices and impact, such as developing new skills and credentials, collaborating with tech giants and other fact-checkers, and exploring new formats and topics for fact-checking community partners.
RMIT FactLab is a fact-checking organisation and research hub dedicated to fact checking viral misinformation and disinformation and building critical awareness of the real-world harm that they can cause.
With false and misleading information on the rise worldwide, RMIT FactLab not only tackles harmful information directly but helps develop tools and strategies to combat its viral spread. This includes providing education and training, and conducting original research into the digital information ecosystem.
Combining the best of quality journalism and academic excellence, RMIT FactLab combats the damaging impact of harmful information through:
We’re making Australia a harder target for scammers.
To do this, we raise awareness about how to recognise, avoid and report scams. The new National Anti-Scam Centre shares information from scam reports and works with government, law enforcement and the private sector to disrupt and prevent scams.