Fake news and misinformation on social media platforms are wreaking havoc to society and democracy all around the world. While apps like WhatsApp are slowly realizing how their platform is being used for spreading misinformation, it’s now more important than ever for us to acknowledge the problem of fake news that runs deep in our society. In such a scenario, one must remain vigilant and counter misleading users with facts and proper sources. So in this article, we bring you the 10 best fact-checking websites which will help you find proper information with authentic sources. Some of the websites have debunked urban legends and myths from all over the world. However, most of the websites below cater to the US, UK, Europe and of course, India. Now with all that said, let’s go ahead and find the best website to bust fake news in your region.
Best Fact-checking Websites on The Internet in 2020
Many readers think that fact-checking websites are biased. Well, a fact by the nature of its being, is unbiased. That being said, the opinion expressed with those facts might be a little biased, as no-one can remove their biases completely. It is up to us, the readers, to take the facts and form our own opinions. All the websites mentioned below provide you with unbiased facts and fact checking tools. If you find something that doesn’t sit well with you, it might be that you have a difference of opinions. Remove the opinion from the piece and focus only on facts.
Over the years, Snopes has been the go-to place for fact-checking myths and rumors and now, it has become an authoritative reference for debunking half-truths and outrageous claims. If you are unaware, Snopes is one of the oldest fact-checking websites on the internet and it was started by David and Barbara Mikkelson in 1994. Apart from its huge repository of debunked stories, Snopes still tackles fake news and misinformation in a smart way. As fake information is getting more sophisticated in its language and tone, users are easily falling for it. So to counter the misinformation, Snopes offers detailed explanations from genuine sources (like WHO, CDC) and sets the facts straight.
Recently, it has started giving a rating against hoaxes which ranges from False, Mostly False, Mixture to Unproven, Scam, Satire, Legend and more. Apart from this, Snopes also features in-depth explanations from experts to puncture all kinds of claims, especially now when there is so much fake news out there about Coronavirus. I would say, if you get a piece of new information, make sure to check it on Snopes to ascertain the veracity of the claim. This way, you will always be on the right side of the news.
While Snopes deals with almost everything including politics, history, science, and technology, PolitiFact is all about fact-checking political claims. In fact, PolitiFact is one of the largest political fact-checking newsrooms in the US and for its impressive work in 2008, the website was awarded Pulitzer Prize for National Reporting. During the 2008 presidential election, PolitiFact debunked more than 750 stories about misdirected political claims and brought the truth to the citizens by separating rhetorics from facts. It’s run by the prestigious Poynter Institute (founder of International Fact-Checking Network) and reporters from the independent Tampa Bay Times.
From speeches to Facebook posts, PolitiFact exposes all types of misinformation with great detail and nuanced reporting. PolitiFact also runs a Truth-O-Meter where it gives a rating against a claim from True, Half True to False and Pants on Fire. Again, similar to Snopes, PolitiFact uses a similar methodology for fact-checking political claims. However, it provides a long list of sources at the end of the article to verify the claim by yourself. I would say, if you are in the US, PolitiFact is easily one of the best fact-checking websites on politics and you should verify information of PolitifFact before forwarding any message.
FactCheck.org is one of the most popular fact-checking websites on the internet and it has garnered several Webby awards for its investigative body of work over the years. Similar to PolitiFact, Factcheck.org primarily deals with political claims and rhetorics. However, the website also tries to bring accountability to public officials by exposing deception and their lies. It’s an attempt to bring more factual accuracy to the public discourse which is not just limited to politics, but also extends to TV ads, speeches, interviews, and news releases.
Basically, the website tries to debunk every information made by public representatives so that the citizens can remain vigilant and not fall for any deceptive tactics. As for funding, FactCheck.org is run by the Annenberg Public Policy Center of the University of Pennsylvania and is primarily funded by the nonprofit organization, the Annenberg Foundation. Currently, the website is running a live Coronavirus debunking section where it separates the wheat from the chaff and informs netizens with correct information from the CDC and WHO. Simply put, FactCheck.org is among the best fact-checking websites on the internet and you should keep a tab on the website for authentic information.
ProPublica is an independent online newsroom that thrives on investigative journalism. It’s not a mere fact-checking website, but a portal where you can dive deep and find the hidden truth. For its far-reaching work in the public interest, ProPublica has been awarded several Pulitzer Prizes for public service, explanatory reporting, national reporting, and investigative journalism. As for the coverage, it goes beyond politics and looks into healthcare, education, finances, criminal justice and more. The website is funded by the Knight Foundation, MacArthur Foundation, Ford Foundation, and other few philanthropic institutes.
ProPublica heavily relies on local information so it has created one of the largest local reporting networks. As a result, ProPublica is able to bust the information from all parts of the country in a timely and effective manner. Right now, ProPublica is bringing light to healthcare information amid the Coronavirus outbreak in the US. To put it straight, if you have a penchant for investigative stories that go beyond the usual trope then ProPublica is the best place to find genuine information.
OpenSecrets is yet another fact-checking website that operates in the realm of politics. Not just political speeches and claims, but OpenSecrets goes neck deep and finds the effects of money lobbying into electoral politics. It tracks how a politician is being funded and who are the firms that are funneling money into politics. It was started by the Center for Responsive Politics (CSR) way back in 1983. And as a result of the long operation, OpenSecrets has now one of the largest public databases of donors and political beneficiaries.
Mainstream media houses regularly cite OpenSecrets as their reliable source including the New York Times, Reuters, CNN and more. And now that the Presidential Election is right around the corner, OpenSecrets is publishing reports on PACs and exposing the underbelly of dark money. If you are from the US, I would recommend you to explore OpenSecrets for understanding the effect of lobbying in US politics.
6. Washington Post Fact Checker
Washington Post is one of the few mainstream media houses that run a fact-checking column under its diplomatic correspondent, Glenn Kessler. It does not fact-check every claim on politics and economy, instead the website offers critical analysis to what politicians have said this week. It tries to underline facts and context against a seemingly factful narrative. As I said above, currently, fake news is not just about wrong information, but also about setting the narrative on false contexts.
In such cases, it gets harder to distill truth from an already-viral narrative. And that’s where Washington Post Fact Checker fills the shoe. The columns provide well-sourced articles to make a point and explain the issue in great detail. It cites reports from well-established newspapers and journals to make the citizens aware of the missing context. So, if you want to understand the current US discourse then you must visit the WaPo Fact Checker.
7. Full Fact
Full Fact is an indispensable fact-checking website if you hail from the UK and Europe. It’s a one-stop online portal where you can find information on a wide variety of topics. Recently, a hoax about 5G made it to the viral club which claimed that exposure to 5G signals can increase the impact of Coronavirus. Full Fact was quick to debunk the claim with well-resourced articles and by citing research papers by academics and professionals. So, no matter if it’s a post about technology, medicine or some supernatural power, Full Fact sets the facts straight in a timely manner.
It’s a team of independent fact-checkers and campaigners who find a multitude of viral posts from social media and expose them to counter misleading people on the internet. Full Fact runs a “Viral Posts on Facebook” page where it lists out all the outrageous claims and debunks them with detailed explanation and authentic sources. Apart from that, currently, the website is busting many myths around Coronavirus. So, if you are from the UK or Europe, do verify information on Full Fact before sharing them with other users.
8. Alt News
The problem of fake news is not just limited to the US, but it’s also affecting the whole world including India. And to fight this menace in India, Alt News is busting fake claims and political misinformation with technological help and on-ground reports. Alt News is also one of the few fact-checking websites in India which is certified by IFCN (International Fact-Checking Network). It’s run by Pravda Media Foundation and offers its fact-checking service in both English and Hindi. As for funding, Alt News primarily relies on user donations and other independent media trusts. The website is also in partnership with WhatsApp for busting fake news on its chat platform. Apart from that, Alt News regularly debunks claims made on social media platforms covering science, education, and society at large.
9. BOOM FactCheck
Boom is another fact-checking website in India that is considered quite reputable when it comes to exposing fake news on digital platforms. Similar to Alt News, Boom is also a signatory of the IFCN Code of Principles and sticks to a high standard of fact-checking methodology. The website is run by Data journalist, Govindraj Ethiraj who earlier worked at Bloomberg. And like other fact-checking websites, Boom also relies on ads and user donations. Apart from this, Boom has a tie-up with WhatsApp to fight the war of misinformation. Boom offers its service in three languages i.e. English, Hindi, and Bengali. Further, it covers the current news cycle, political rhetorics, viral claims made on social media, urban legends, myths, and rumors. So if you receive any new information that sounds too good to be true then verify it on Boom FactCheck first before sharing it with other users.
10. SM Hoax Slayer
As the name suggests, SM Hoax Slayer is all about busting fake information on social media platforms. Be it a WhatsApp forward or a Facebook post, SM Hoax Slayer is quick to debunk the claim and update the users through its social media channels. According to the founder, the project started as a place to puncture harmless lies, pranks, and rumors, but soon it developed into a full-fledged fact-checking website. Many mainstream newspapers and media houses including Aaj Tak and Navbharat Times cite SM Hoax Slayer as a reliable source for busting fake news. Coming to funding, SM Hoax Slayer is mostly run by volunteers and funded by user donations and ads. So the next time you encounter any outrageous information on social media platforms, make sure to confirm it on SM Hoax Slayer first.
Bonus: Use Fact-Checker Bot by IFCN on WhatsApp
To fight this pandemic of fake news, many international institutions are trying to make it easier for institutions to verify fake news. The latest effort in this regard is the addition of a fact-checker bot in collaboration with Poynter Institute’s International Fact-Checkers Network (IFCN). The chatbot not only lets you check facts but also lets you get connected with fact-checkers in your region so you can fact check the local news. I also love the latest fact-check messages that allow me to discard the latest fake news before I read them anywhere else. It’s also very easy to get started with this, just click here or send a “Hi” message to +1 (727) 2912606.
Fight Fake News with Best Fact-checking Websites
So those are our picks for the best fact-checking websites on the internet. Since the world is increasingly moving towards a digital ecosystem, it’s now more important than ever to acknowledge misinformation in our society and the need to weed out this menace. I would strongly recommend you to counter misleading people with facts from these websites. If you liked this article, you are also going to enjoy our article on websites that can help you kill time. Click on the link to read it if you are interested. Anyway, that is all from us. Let us know your thoughts in the comments below.