Duke Reporter's Lab: Misinformation spreads, but fact-checking has leveled off

 June 27, 2023


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Duke Reporter's Lab has released their latest findings from the 10th annual global fact-checking census. 

Misinformation spreads, but fact-checking has leveled off authored by Mark StencelErica Ryan and Joel Luthor from the Reporters' Lab (part of Sanford) finds that the growth of fact-checking outlets has slowed down, despite increasing concerns about the impact of manipulated media and political lies. As of 2023, there are 417 active fact-checkers worldwide, verifying and debunking misinformation in over 100 countries and 69 languages. This number is roughly the same as in 2022 and 2021, indicating a leveling off of fact-checking's growth.

While fact-checking sites have grown by 47% since 2018, the rate of growth has significantly declined compared to previous years. The article notes regional variations, with fact-checking projects in Africa, Asia, Europe, and South America experiencing a growth spurt before 2020, while North American fact-checking slowed down. Overall, the fact-checking movement has plateaued in most parts of the world.

Although many key players in the fact-checking field have demonstrated sustainability and longevity, the number of new fact-checking sites being launched each year has declined. This is partly due to the widespread adoption of fact-checking by journalists and researchers from nonpartisan think tanks and good-government groups, reducing the need for dedicated fact-checking news organizations.

Launching new fact-checking projects remains challenging, especially in countries with repressive governments, limited press freedom, and safety concerns for journalists. Fact-checking efforts in these areas are crucial but face significant obstacles.

While fact-checking growth has slowed, there are still areas experiencing growth, often facilitated by organizations with multiple outlets and bureaus. However, it is essential to continue supporting fact-checking initiatives and addressing the obstacles faced in combating misinformation effectively.

Read the Lab's summary of the report here.