Tackling bad information can help the next government rebuild trust in politics

11 April 2024 | Chris Morris, Chief Executive of Full Fact

This week, we published the Full Fact Report 2024, Trust and Truth in the age of AI, an in-depth examination of how generative AI is changing the game for all of us committed to fighting bad information, and a roadmap for how to strengthen UK laws and regulations to secure our information environment and protect freedom of expression. 

Read the report

The report is the product of dedicated, intensive analysis by the Full Fact team,with input from trusted colleagues across our fact checking community. It states plainly that we’re at a critical moment for the UK’s information environment. Here’s why. 

First, the forthcoming general election is expected to be both the dirtiest contest ever and the first in which popular generative AI tools will make it quicker, easier, and cheaper than ever to spread highly-plausible manipulated or synthetic content. Full Fact scrutinises all sides in any political debate impartially, and holds everyone in public office to high standards. Last year, we published 776 fact checks and secured 130 corrections from newspapers, broadcasters, MPs and the Prime Minister. But our experience leaves us worried about the standards of honesty and transparency at the next election. With record-low public trust in politics it is absolutely critical that the political parties compete for the high ground rather than tussle together in the muck. 

Next, despite the pace of misinformation and generative AI accelerating, our report outlines several yawning gaps which remain in legislation, regulations, and policy. From the UK’s Online Safety Act which contains just two explicit areas of reference to misinformation, through to wide variation in how online platforms and search engines deal with misleading AI-generated content, all of the key actors with a duty to strengthen our information environment have a great deal more to do. 

Our report calls on the next government to put these vulnerabilities front and centre—strengthen the relevant laws, tool-up regulators like Ofcom, and bring our elected representatives into the process to ensure that decisions about protecting UK users online are made here in Westminster rather than in Silicon Valley. We cannot afford to be left behind by the breakneck speed at which our challenges are proliferating, and learning how to evade scrutiny. 

Full Fact campaigns to ensure a better information environment for everyone. But we also appreciate that media literacy needs to be stronger across the board—everyone needs to understand the basics in how to check a source, verify an image, or spot a potentially dangerous bit of information that could cause real harm. Our report calls for the Government to provide the resources that UK citizens need to step-up their media literacy in the age of AI and build a more resilient, information-savvy electorate. 

These recommendations and many more are outlined in the report, which you can read in full here. It’s not all bad news—we also highlight how Full Fact successfully secured a change to Parliamentary procedures making it easier for any MP to correct the record, as well as a wide range of case studies where we’ve rebutted bad information robustly and comprehensively. We truly believe that a better future is possible—but only if political parties and the next government get serious about restoring trust in our system by campaigning transparently, honestly, and truthfully.

We’re also optimistic about the huge opportunities created by generative AI as well as being mindful of the threats. Our own automated fact checking tools have now been used by fact checkers in 20 countries around the world - operating in English, French and Arabic - and enable us to begin tackling misinformation on a global scale. We are excited about new products we are developing which will take this process further.

This was our fifth report produced thanks to the support of the Nuffield Foundation and my first as Chief Executive. It’s been a fantastic process working with so many brilliant people within and beyond our organisation. My sincere and heartfelt thanks go out to each and every one of you, as well as to every wonderful Full Fact supporter reading this post to whom we owe so much. I look forward to working alongside you throughout the critical year ahead. 


Full Fact fights bad information

Bad information ruins lives. It promotes hate, damages people’s health, and hurts democracy. You deserve better.