Frequently asked questions
How did you get started?
Full Fact was launched by a cross-party group of trustees, led by Michael Samuel in 2010.
They were –
- Michael Samuel, a businessman who served as the Chief Executive of Mayborn Group PLC. He is also Chair of the Anna Freud Centre, a charity dedicated to providing training and support for child mental health service, and a former Conservative party donor.
- Labour peer Peter Archer—a former Solicitor General, ombudsman of the Mirror Group of newspapers, and founding member of Amnesty International.
- Julia Neuberger, then a Liberal Democrat Peer and Britain’s second-ever female rabbi.
- John Lloyd, a founding member of the Reuters Institute for the Study of Journalism at Oxford University, former Editor of the New Statesman, and a Contributing Editor of the Financial Times.
- Professor Jean Seaton, official historian of the BBC.
Full Fact was initially funded by two donations: one from Michael Samuel and one from the Joseph Rowntree Charitable Trust’s Power and Accountability grant scheme, which is dedicated to addressing the "root causes of conflict and injustice".
At around the same time, Lord David Lipsey established Straight Statistics, a campaign by journalists and statisticians to improve the understanding and use of statistics by government, politicians, companies, advertisers and the mass media. It merged with Full Fact in 2011.
Michael currently serves as the Chair of Full Fact’s Board of Trustees.
Full Fact came out of separate conversations almost two years earlier in 2008. Will Moy, now the Chief Executive, came up with the idea with friends over a conversation in a pub. At the time, Will worked for Lord Low of Dalston, a non-party political member of the House of Lords.
Will and Michael were introduced by Baroness Neuberger, and worked together to found Full Fact. Their first task was to bring together a cross-party board of trustees and ensure that Full Fact started on a cross-party basis, which it did 2010.
A number of decisions taken at Full Fact’s inception helped to establish our independence, impartiality and neutrality:
- 20 months of work went into assembling a cross-party board, including lots of rejections
- Seeking funders who represented different political perspectives
- Forming a representative leadership and advisory team of senior figures with backgrounds in politics, journalism and business
- Ensuring the scope of our work covered all aspects of public life
Most importantly, from the start, we recognised the need for practical action to counter misinformation, political nonsense, and bad journalism, which goes beyond the publication of fact checks.
Unlike fact checking organisations elsewhere in the world, which follow different models, Full Fact pioneered an approach based on securing corrections from politicians, journalists, and other public figures who get their facts wrong.
We also investigate the causes and consequences of misinformation, and advocate for solutions—which includes but is not limited to policy change.
Since our founding, Full Fact has been made possible by a growing team of exceptional staff supported by thousands of volunteers and donors. There are many people who can feel proud of helping Full Fact to get going.
If you’d like to join us, become a Full Fact supporter today. Everyone who does helps us maintain our independence.
How are you funded?
Full Fact is a registered charity. We rely on donations from individuals, charitable trusts, and corporate supporters. We also earn money from running fact checking and statistics masterclasses, and through our trading company, Full Fact Services, and the Full Fact shop. All donations greater than £5,000 are listed on our website.
You can see our full list of funders on our funding page.
How do you stay neutral?
We have a cross party board of Trustees, with supporters of Labour, the Conservatives and Liberal Democrats represented. As a charity, we are under a legal obligation to uphold our impartiality.
The Board of Trustees does not have any control over day-to-day editorial decisions. These are the responsibility of the Chief Executive.
All staff are asked to complete a declaration of personal interests before they start work at Full Fact. Our staff agree to abstain from expressing political opinions in public. Volunteers are also asked to provide similar declarations.
Who checks your facts?
You do. We link to sources for factual statements so you don’t have to take our word for what we say. We’re trying to make it easier for you to check things for yourself–visit our toolkit for tips.
Why should I take your word for anything?
We’d prefer you not to. Anything we publish is attributed and linked to its source, so you can make your own mind up about it.
We’re not trying to provide the final word on any given topic. Our aim is to ensure that no one has to settle for either blind faith or blind cynicism. Many of the issues we write about aren’t black and white – much of what we do highlights the grey areas.
What will you do if you make a mistake?
We correct it. All of our fact checks undergo several stages of reviews, and we strive for the very highest standards of accuracy and transparency. But mistakes can happen.
If something isn’t correct, we update the record as quickly as possible. We also signpost the fact that a correction has been made.
If you see something you don’t think is correct, we encourage you to bring it to our attention.
How can I ask you to check a claim?
We cannot promise to check every claim suggested. Please say what impact you think the claim would have if it’s left unchecked.
How do you spend your money / can I see your accounts?
What kind of sources do you use?
We draw on publicly available information, including statistics and primary research.
We provide links to primary sources for all factual assertions. Where possible, we refer to data tables, legal documents, or other primary sources—rather than press releases or executive summaries of statistical releases.
Do I have to pay to get your content?
No. All of our fact checking content is free.
For copyright and re-publication requests, please contact us.
What does it mean when something is "from our archive"?
From time to time we archive older content that may no longer be relevant or up to date. It’s still visible, but it comes with a red notice at the top of the article to let you know that it might be out of date.
Why don’t you have ratings?
Full Fact was inspired by fact checking organisations in the United States, such as FactCheck.org and PolitiFact. These websites sometimes rate the validity of claims or people, such as PolitiFact’s ‘Truth-O-Meter’.
We feel that such ratings can be reductive in certain contexts, and don’t always fully communicate the nuance behind our findings. It is often the case that a claim is neither simply ‘True’ or ‘False’—but is instead missing vital context.
Full Fact has always sought a less confrontational, more collaborative approach to fact checking. Our mission is to ensure that the public has access to the best possible information. We strive to work with decision-makers and opinion-shapers—as well as fact checking them—to best serve our readers.
How can I make a complaint about Full Fact?
This information can be found on our Feedback and Corrections page.
If you have difficulty using our contact form, contact us through other channels signposted on our website, and we will make reasonable adjustments.
Do you work for Facebook?
Yes, we independently fact check Facebook content as part of its Third Party Fact Checking initiative. Read more about our work checking Facebook content.
Do you work for Google?
No, we don’t. We participated in the launch of the Google News Fact Check label. We won prototype funding from the Google Digital News Initiative in 2016. This was an open call for projects to improve the journalism ecosystem.
Do you provide any fact checking tools?
We produce educational tools for use by students, teachers and the general public. From tips on spotting fake news, videos of our latest talks and what books to read to learn more about data, we provide resources for you to use in daily life to check the claims that matter to you.
What kind of thing do you check?
We fact check claims in public debate which are of public interest. This includes—but is not limited to—claims made by politicians and the media.
We prioritise claims that have the most potential to cause harm to people’s lives. That could mean that they’ve been widely shared online, or feature prominently in newspapers or broadcast media, or are repeated multiple times by a party’s candidates.
We base our core areas of concern to the topics which consistently top the Ipsos MORI Issues Index. They include crime and immigration, the law, education, health and social care, and the economy.
We are a registered charity. We would love to widen our remit in future, but we are limited by resources. Help us deliver more facts by making a donation.
How do you fact check?
First we need to understand what has been said or printed. We don’t only fact check the evidence used in a claim, but also the underlying assumption. Factually correct information can be used to make a point which is misleading or incorrect, so it’s important to draw out exactly what someone means when they make a statement.
Then we contact the claimant. Unless the claim’s source is self-evident, we try to contact the claimant to ask them about their source, and for any other information we need to understand it.
Then we gather our evidence. We always try and gather a wide range of sources of evidence relating to a claim. You can read more about our sources in the “What kind of sources do you use?” question above.
Sometimes we contact experts. We cover a wide range of topic areas, and we’re not experts on everything. We want to ensure we’re giving readers the most complete picture we can, and sometimes we need guidance in finding or understanding information. In these cases we speak to relevant experts for advice.
Once the evidence is gathered and analysed, we can write the article. We don’t want to tell you what to think, articles are meant to guide you through all the evidence as clearly as possible so you can make up your own mind about a claim. We’ll also explain the wider context around the issue when it’s relevant to do so.
We summarise the claims we’re fact checking, and our corresponding conclusions, at the top of each article.
Review before publishing. Everything we publish on our website is reviewed by another researcher before publication in order to make sure that it is correct, impartial and engaging. If the topic is politically sensitive our Director may also review it.
Then we publish. The article will go up on our website, and will be publicised on our social media platforms. Often we have partnerships with different media outlets, who re-publish some of our fact checks.
It doesn’t stop there. If a politician or journalist doesn’t have the evidence to back up what they say, we demand that they publish their evidence. When they get it wrong, we ask for the record to be corrected.
And when and where our press, politicians and internet companies aren’t doing enough to support honesty and transparency, we campaign for change. Find out more about how we campaign for good information.
Why don’t you fact check Scotland/Wales/Northern Ireland?
We check claims that are of national interest in areas where we have expertise. This means that we don’t comprehensively fact check claims that are specific to Scotland, Wales, or Northern Ireland. We would love to in future, but don’t currently have the resources to support this.
How do you conduct live fact checking?
We have fact checked a wide range of topics in the past and we’ve built automated fact checking technology to help us respond quickly to new claims.
We prepare carefully in the run up to political events or programmes, getting to know our way around the relevant sources, and the key claims and arguments.
We also try to work closely with experts in lots of different fields. If you’re an expert and can spare sometimes as little as a few minutes to help us fact check claims in your field, please do get in touch.
Do you offer internships?
Full Fact doesn’t currently run an internship programme,. Although we do occasionally take on interns for specific projects. Please get in touch to find out more.
Can I volunteer?
We are grateful for the support of the many volunteers who have collectively donated thousands of hours of their time to Full Fact. Volunteers help with basic fact checking, targeted research, and monitoring which claims are being made most regularly in public debate.
We only take on volunteers when we have something useful for them to do. Fill in this form if you’re interested in volunteering.
Can I apply for a job?
Current vacancies are listed on our jobs page.
Do you accept freelancers?
On very rare occasions, we recruit freelancers to help us fact check a particular debate. This is normally when we require someone with specific expertise that we don’t have in-house. All our freelancers are subject to the same neutrality and impartiality checks as full time members of staff, and their work is reviewed by our experienced fact checkers.
Freelance opportunities are advertised on our jobs page.
How can I help?
We rely on your donations to stay independent and make sure people are protected from harmful false information. Donate here.
Most importantly, check the facts for yourself. Let us know if you see an unsubstantiated or inaccurate claim doing the rounds - we’ll do our best to get it corrected.