Will UK Fact Finder work like a Journalism Genie for fact checking?

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Full Fact recently launched a fact finder. (Credit: Full Fact, screenshot)

Will a new online guide serve as a digital fact check genie?

Full Fact Finder,” by UK not-for-profit fact checking organization Full Fact, describes itself as a “free and independent guide” to facts on topics including the economy, crime and education, Journalism.co.uk reported.

The Finder was launched in mid-August, Full Fact writer/researcher Joseph O’Leary told iMediaEthics by email, and Full Fact wants to “expand beyond the five areas” to include “sections on population and society, transport, the environment and the EU.”

The five UK topics currently featured on Finder — the economy, health, crime and the law, immigration and education — were “chosen because they reflect issues that people say they find important,” based on polling.  “Deciding what to include within them is a mixture of judgment about which questions our readers are most likely to want answered and experience of issues and sources that crop up time and again in the news,” O’Leary added.

Full Fact has loaded onto its website data and statistics on the topics so that journalists or readers can punch in certain topics and get fact-checking material. As of late August, the Finder “has about 20,000 words and 300 different sources linked to, although both are continuously growing as we add more bits to it,” O’Leary said.

For example, if you type into the guide “inflation,” you get a report including the definition of inflation, measures of inflation, and the history of inflation.

Full Fact’s director, Will Moy, is quoted as saying to Journalism.co.uk, that Full Fact Finder “lets you find the [fact] you want in seconds, from A&E waiting times through to unemployment.”  He continued:

“We think that’s going to be something that’s really useful. Not just for us as we’re trying to fact-check things faster and faster, but also for the public and especially, we hope, for journalists.”

Further, Full Fact’s O’Leary told iMediaEthics that one of the points of the project is to provide “people simple, useful directions to reliable sources which can answer questions and letting them explore issues further.”

Previously iMediaEthics has written a few times when Full Fact has lobbied the UK Press Complaints Commission for corrections of errors in the UK media.

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Will UK Fact Finder work like a Journalism Genie for fact checking?

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