Full Fact to start checking Facebook content as third-party factchecking initiative reaches the UK

11th Jan 2019 | Team Full Fact

This month Full Fact is going to begin factchecking images, videos and articles on Facebook, in a bid to slow the spread of misinformation on people’s news feeds.

Since 2016, the social network has been working with factcheckers worldwide to develop its third-party factchecking initiative — and now it’s reached the UK.

How it works

Facebook users can flag up content they worry could be false. Our team will identify and review public pictures, videos or stories and rate them as true, false or a mixture of accurate and inaccurate content. You can see the full rating system here.

People will be told if a story they’ve shared, or are about to share, has been checked by Full Fact. They’ll be given the option to read more about the claim’s source — but won’t be stopped from sharing anything. False content will appear lower in news feeds, so it reaches fewer people.

We’ll only be checking images, videos or articles presented as fact-based reporting. Other content, like satire and opinion, will be exempt.

All this will happen alongside our day-to-day work checking politicians, public figures and the media, pushing for corrections and withdrawals and working to stop inaccurate claims being made in the first place.

Tackling misinformation that does most harm

At Full Fact, we believe in giving people the tools to make up their own minds about who and what to believe.

Factchecking Facebook content will help us do that. We’ll be able to give users information to help them scrutinise false or misleading content themselves and hopefully limit its spread — without stopping them sharing anything they want to.

It’ll also let people direct us to potentially false stories that’s making it onto their newsfeeds, helping us identify what’s spreading and prioritise misinformation that carries the most risk of harm.

We’re going to focus on misinformation that could damage people’s health or safety, or undermine democratic processes — everything from dangerous cancer ‘cures’ to false stories spreading after terrorist attacks or fake content about voting processes ahead of elections.

This isn’t a magic pill. Factchecking is slow, careful, pretty unglamorous work — and realistically we know we can’t possibly review all the potentially false claims that appear on Facebook every day.

But it is a step in the right direction, and a chance to tackle misinformation that makes a real difference to people’s lives.

Independent, impartial, open

As with everything we do, our high standards of scrutiny, transparency, impartiality and editorial judgment remain are priority — and we’ve taken a number of measures to protect them.

  • We’ll be publishing all factchecks here on our website, and we’ll be evaluating the project continually.
  • We’ll produce reports every three months to give an insight into the nature of social media misinformation — and to assess how effectively this project is tackling it.
  • Facebook will have no control over what we choose to check, what our factcheckers write or what rating we give.
  • Once we’ve carried out a factcheck, it will automatically upload to the platform. No Facebook staff member will see it before it goes live.
  • We won’t be given access to Facebook users’ private data for any reason.
  • All factcheckers taking part must be accredited signatories of the International Fact Checking Network Code of Principles, which requires rigorous commitments to non-partisanship, fairness and transparency.

 

If you have any queries about our work factchecking Facebook content, you can read our FAQs about the initiative or email facebookquestions@fullfact.org.


We aim for our factchecks to be as accurate and up-to-date as possible. If you think we've made an error or missed some relevant information, please email team@fullfact.org.