Fact-checking in 2024? Five tools to help with research and promotion
Newsrooms often devote more time to fact-checking during election season—for good reason! These tools can make the most of yours
In the heat of the 2024 election cycle, opportunities for political fact-checking are everywhere — in candidate debates, campaign ads, mailers sent to prospective voters and more.
At the Reporters’ Lab, a center for journalism research and development at Duke University, we find that many news organizations devote more time to fact-checking during election season. In fact, when we analyzed fact-checking by state and local outlets in 2022, we found that more than half of the year’s total was squeezed into just about two months, between the beginning of September and Election Day.
If your plans for covering the 2024 elections include hunting down the truth behind sound bites and social media posts, here are some tools that can help you with research and promoting your work.
Tool #1: Google’s Fact Check Explorer
Since politicians frequently repeat talking points and manipulated images tend to recirculate, it can be helpful to start your research by finding out if other fact-checkers have already assessed the same claim.
Google’s Fact Check Explorer allows you to search exclusively among previously published fact-checks so you can find that answer quickly. You can explore by person or topic, and you can filter your results to English or include other languages as well.
Google is also beta-testing a “Search by image” feature that allows you to find out if a specific piece of media has been analyzed before, using a URL or image file. You can apply for access to that feature by filling out a signup form.
Tool #2: Google’s ‘About This Image’ feature
If an image that you’re checking out doesn’t turn up in Fact Check Explorer, there are other ways to find out more about its origins, including roughly how old it is and where it’s appeared on the web. If you use Google search and filter your results by Images, you can click on a result and then the three vertical dots to see the “About this Image” information.
This data can help you zero in on where the image originated and determine whether it’s been manipulated.
Tool #3: MediaVault
If you are frequently fact-checking images, videos and other media shared on social networks, then you’re probably familiar with the tools above, as well as reverse image search products like TinEye. But one aspect of fact-checking that you may still struggle with is how to preserve the content that you’re analyzing. Images and videos often disappear from social media, either because they are removed by the platforms or deleted by users after they’ve been fact-checked.
Many journalists turn to existing web archiving tools to maintain a copy of these posts, but the tools can struggle to fully capture images and videos. To help solve this problem, the Reporters’ Lab built MediaVault, which is specifically tailored for fact-checkers.
MediaVault gathers images and videos that have been analyzed and stores them in a searchable database. MediaVault is free for use by reputable fact-checking organizations but registration is required.
Tool #4: ClaimReview
Once you’ve nailed down your sources and published your fact-check, one challenge is getting the accurate information to spread the way the original claim did.
To draw the attention of search engines and other platforms, you can use ClaimReview to tag your fact-checks. ClaimReview is a system that identifies key elements of fact-checks for Google, Bing, Facebook and other platforms, which then use those tags to promote and highlight fact-check articles.
For information about how to get started with ClaimReview and its sibling MediaReview, visit The ClaimReview Project website, run by the Reporters’ Lab.
Tool #5: Fact-Check Insights
Since fact-checkers around the world have been tagging their work with ClaimReview, they have built up a massive collection of more than 200,000 claims checked. If you are working on a larger investigation around the spread of misinformation, or want to analyze patterns in false claims, ClaimReview can provide the necessary data.
The Fact-Check Insights dataset is a collection of ClaimReview and MediaReview data that is available for download by journalists and academic researchers in JSON or CSV formats. (Yes, those are some intense spreadsheets! Not for the faint of heart!) For an example of what’s possible with ClaimReview data, you can check out Belgian researcher Thomas Van Damme’s publication, Global Trends in Fact-Checking: A Data-Driven Analysis of ClaimReview, in which he calculated the average time between when a claim was made and when it was fact-checked, among many other findings.
The dataset, which is maintained by the Reporters’ Lab, is free, but you’ll have to apply to get access.
The Reporters’ Lab is always happy to help fact-checkers access additional resources and get started with any of our tools. Email me at email@example.com or my colleague Joel Luther, our ClaimReview/MediaReview manager, at firstname.lastname@example.org with questions or requests.
Note: Fact-Check Insights, MediaVault and The ClaimReview Project have received support from the Google News Initiative.
Erica Ryan is the project manager for the Duke Reporters’ Lab, where she works on tools and resources to expand the reach of fact-checking and help fact-checkers do their work. She has previously worked for U.S. News & World Report, NPR and The Associated Press.