PRESS STATEMENT: FactCheckNI shares tips to help voters spot bad information online ahead of Election Day

PRESS STATEMENT

FactCheckNI shares tips to help voters spot bad information online ahead of Election Day

FactCheckNI, Northern Ireland’s first and only dedicated fact-checking organisation, has published a new election toolkit to help voters spot bad and misleading information online.

Working in partnership with Full Fact, the independent fact-checking charity based in London, FactCheckNI will be promoting its guidance to voters across the UK in the run up to 12 December.

Two out of three UK adults now get their news from the internet. With less than two weeks before polling day, voters will be targeted by potentially misleading content from all sides of the debate.

Throughout the 2019 election campaign, FactCheckNI’s team of fact checkers have been scrutinising claims made by politicians, whether published in party manifestos or shared across social media.

The UK’s out-of-date election laws have left voters vulnerable to bad information online. FactCheckNI’s new election guidance sets out a series of simple steps readers can take to protect their vote on 12 December.

Allan Leonard, Editor-in-Chief at FactCheckNI, said:

“When we’re asked, ‘Who fact checks the fact checkers?’, we say you do! FactCheckNI has trained thousands of people on how to be healthy sceptics.

“With our online toolkit, anyone who comes across a suspicious claim from the election campaign can use tried and tested techniques to help determine where they think the truth lies.”

FactCheckNI has published fact-check articles on Northern Ireland party manifestos past and present, right across the political spectrum.

FactCheckNI’s advice is informed by our experience of fact-checking claims, including those made during elections since we set up in 2016 as well as the EU referendum.

As well as three prompts for readers, it includes practical guidance on how to spot edited images and videos, and query misleading figures.

Facebook has donated advertising to reach audiences across the UK in the final weeks of the election campaign.

Will Moy, chief executive of Full Fact, said:

“Full Fact has worked to tackle bad information during election and referendum campaigns for the last decade, but you don’t need to be a fact checker to spot misleading content online.

“Voters should ask themselves three simple questions about anything they read online. Where’s it from? What’s missing? And how does it make you feel? People who make false news try to manipulate your feelings.”

“This election we all have a responsibility not to share misleading content. If something is winding you up, or doesn’t look quite right, stop and think before you share.”

ENDS

NOTES

FactCheckNI is Northern Ireland’s first and only dedicated fact-checking service, investigating claims and publishing articles on contemporary and contentious topics. It works to foster a culture of critical thinking within a deeply divided society. FactCheckNI has trained thousands of young people in school and out-of-school environments. FactCheckNI is a partner organisation in Facebook’s Third Party Fact Checking programme. FactCheckNI retains full editorial independence over what it chooses to fact check, and what it publishes. The Third Party Fact Checking programme does not currently cover political claims or adverts, though FactCheckNI will continue to fact check such material.

https://factcheckni.org • editor@factcheckni.org

Full Fact fights bad information. Full Fact are independent fact checkers who find, expose and counter the harm it does. Bad information ruins lives. It promotes hate, damages people’s health and hurts democracy. Full Fact believes people deserve better, and work with politicians, journalists and organisations to improve the quality of information in public life. Full Fact is part of Facebook’s Third Party Fact Checking programme. In July 2019, it published its first transparency report on their experience of working on the programme, with a second due before the end of the year. Full Fact retains full editorial independence over what it chooses to fact check, and their contents. The Third Party Fact Checking programme does not cover adverts.

https://fullfact.org • press@fullfact.org