Duke Study Finds Fact-Checking Growing Around the World

Our Spring 2014 tally of global fact-checkers finds 59 sites that have been active in the past few years

By Bill Adair – April 4, 2014 | Print this article

With sites such as Faktomat in Germany, Chequeado in Argentina and Les Decodeurs in France, political fact-checking is expanding rapidly around the globe, according to a new analysis by the Duke University Reporters’ Lab.

The study found 59 sites that have done fact-checking in the last few years, including 44 currently active.

More than two-thirds use rating systems such as the Truth-O-Meter, El Poligrafo or Pinocchios. The ratings typically include a true to false scale, although some use terms as such “Rubbish,” “Deceitful” and “Insane Whopper.”

The Reporters’ Lab analysis, which was done in advance of a Poynter Institute conference to be held in London in June, is believed to be the first study to examine the growth of fact-checking around the world. The second phase of the study, to be conducted by University of Wisconsin journalism professor Lucas Graves, will be a qualitative analysis of global fact-checking that will be presented at the conference.

The Duke study found that about half the sites are affiliated with newspapers, television networks or other legacy media organizations. The other half are run by startup companies or not-for-profit groups.

Much of the growth has come in the last two years, with 27 new sites since January 2012. But some sites were temporary and were suspended after elections.

The largest number of fact-checking sites are clustered in Europe (21 active) and North America (15 active). The analysis found two active sites in South America and one in Africa.

The study counted organizations with dedicated fact-checking operations of one or more people. It does not include news organizations whose reporters do fact-checking as part of their day-to-day work.

— Shannon Beckham contributed research assistance for this article.