The International Fact-Checking Network highlights some of the most impressive fact-checks published every year with the Global Fact Awards. In 2020, after counting 2,037 votes received between June 22 and 24, the IFCN is proud to announce the winners.
Most bizarre fact-check:
This fact-check examined a video from April where a man dressed as a doctor suggested a novel remedy for treating COVID-19. Using a study from the U.S. National Library of Medicine, the video claims the antibacterial properties of semen make it useful as both a COVID-19 treatment and as a hand sanitizer.
Rappler poked holes in this claim by pointing out the study does not mention COVID-19. Rappler also referred a similar fact-check by fellow CoronaVirusFacts Alliance member Taiwan Fact-Check Center. Finally, Rappler noted that the man, Anacleto Belleza Millendez, runs a Facebook page advertising semen-based anti-aging cream.
- 667 Fan Votes (Ranked 1st)| 8 Fact-Checking Organization Votes (Ranked 1st)
The Washington Post Fact Checker came across a video of a Moroccan man being beaten by local police. The authorities later released a statement justifying their use of force saying the man had tried to ram them with his car. The man, Walid El Batal, was a Morrocan journalist on his way to cover the release of a political prisoner in the disputed Western Sahara region.
The Post interviewed eyewitnesses, reviewed cell phone video and cross-referenced their accounts with Google Earth images to find inconsistencies in the police’s story. The car El Batal drove had no frontal damage, but did have a dent in its side. The police car’s bumper was damaged, suggesting it was the police who rammed El Batal rather than the other way around.
- 389 Fan Votes (Ranked 3rd) | 8 Fact-Checking Organization Votes (Ranked 1st)
Best correction achieved:
This fact-check involved a video from Taiwanese elections in January, which claimed to show someone was rigging the voting system. CNN reported in January that some in Taiwan feared interference from China, so Taiwan Fact-Check Center worked quickly to debunk this claim.
They watched the video that supposedly showed a man messing with a tallying system, and discovered he was simply tallying the votes being read out by a woman off screen. This fact-check was quickly reported by Taiwanese media, which calmed tensions over potential election interference.
- 660 Fan Votes (Ranked 1st) | 5 Fact-Checking Organization Votes (Ranked 2nd)
As announced, each of the winners will receive a $500 prize.
For the first time since 2018, when the Global Fact Award was launched in Rome, the IFCN is offering a financial prize.
Also for the first time, the IFCN decided to have a more structured voting system. In prior years, both the public’s and the fact-checking community’s votes counted equally. Now, the IFCN implemented a weighted system modeled on the NBA All-Star game balloting process.
Each fact-checking organization got only one vote, which was weighted to count for ⅔ of the final total. All other votes counted for the remaining ⅓. After both the fan and organization votes were tallied, the fact-checks were ranked from first to last. The IFCN used this formula to decide the final rankings and winners.
You can see the full results here.