The Duke Reporters’ Lab has just updated its fact-checking census and revealed there are at least 210 fact-checking platforms currently working in 68 countries. This nearly quintuples the number offered by the first edition of the same census, released five years ago in 2014.
Mark Stencel and Joel Luther, co-director and associate researcher at the Duke Reporters’ Lab, said 21 new platforms have just been added to the list thanks to two factors: Agence France Presse’s rapid expansion and new election-focused projects established around the world.
AFP’s growth is directly related to Facebook’s Third Party Fact-Checking Project (Disclosure: to be part of this program, the organization must be an IFCN’s verified member), which took the news agency to open bureaus in at least seven different countries only this year.
Collaborative projects became a hit among newsrooms after the success between France and Mexico in 2018 with CrossCheck and Verificado.
This article was originally published here on Oct. 21.:
With AFP’s expansion and new election-focused projects, our ongoing global survey now includes 210 active fact-checkers.
The Duke Reporters’ Lab added 21 fact-checkers to our database of reporting projects that regularly debunk political misinformation and viral hoaxes, pushing our global count over 200.
The database now lists 210 active fact-checkers in 68 countries. That nearly quintupled the number the Reporters’ Lab first counted in 2014. It also more than doubled a retroactive count for that same year – a number that was based on the actual start dates of all the fact-checking projects we’ve added to the database over the past five years (see footnote to our most recent annual census).
The rapid expansion of Agence France-Presse’s fact-checking in its news bureaus since 2018 was a big factor in reaching this milestone — including AFP’s dedicated editors in Hong Kong who coordinate fact-checkers there and across Asia. Our database now lists AFP bureaus in Australia, Canada, India, Indonesia, Kenya, Malaysia, Nigeria, Pakistan, Philippines, South Africa and Sri Lanka. Seven of those bureaus began fact-checking in 2019.
The database now lists several other recent additions that also launched in 2019, mainly to focus on upcoming elections. Bolivia Verifica launched in June, four months before this past weekend’s vote, which may be headed for a December runoff. Reverso in Argentina also launched in June, followed by Verificado Uruguay in July. The general elections in those two countries are this coming Sunday.
Other 2019 launches include Namibia FactCheck, GhanaFact and, in the United States, local TV station KCRG-TV’s in Cedar Rapids, Iowa. KCRG is a bit of a special case, since it’s hardly a newbie. The TV station was previously owned by a local newspaper, The Cedar Rapids Gazette. Even after the sale, the two newsrooms collaborated on fact-checking for several years through last year’s U.S. midterm elections. But now they have gone separate ways. Starting in March, the investigative reporting team at KCRG began doing its own fact-checking segments.
At least six other fact-checkers that launched in 2019 were already in our database before this month’s update, several of which were intentionally short-term projects that focused on specific elections. We’re checking on the status of those now. At least one, Global Edmonton’s Alberta Election Fact Check, is already on our inactive list. For that reason, we expect our count might not grow much more before the end of 2019 and might even drop slightly.
In addition to the projects that began in 2019, we also added three established fact-checkers to our database that were already in operation before this year: Local TV station KRIS-TV in Corpus Christi, Texas, has been on the fact-checking beat since 2017. The journalists who do fact-checking for Syria-focused Verify-Sy have worked from locations in Turkey, Europe and within that war-torn country since 2016. And Belgium’s Knack magazine has provided a fact-checking feature to its readers since 2012.
We weren’t sure we would cross the 200 fact-checkers milestone in October, since we also moved seven dormant projects to our separate count of inactive fact-checkers this month. Our count in September was 195 before we made this month’s updates.