Fact-Checking Research Database

We collect (and briefly explain) major studies on fact-checking, fake news and misinformation

Research Study

The Effect of Fact‐Checking on Elites: A Field Experiment on U.S. State Legislators

Brendan Nyhan, Jason Reifler
Our Summary

Fact-checking can deter politicians from making false statements

In this study, researchers wanted to test the hypothesis that the threat of fact-checking deters politicians from making false claims. To do that, they sent mailers to a random selection of state legislators in nine states — all with PolitiFact affiliates — in the run-up to the 2012 election in the United States outlining how their reputations would be affected by fact checks of their inaccurate statements. Researchers found that, in the group that received the letters, lawmakers were much less likely to receive a false rating from PolitiFact. They also found no evidence that those observations were due to less coverage or politicians speaking less than before.

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