What Keeps Fact-Checking Organizations up at Night

March 3, 2021

Fact-checkers find reaching their audience, using social media effectively, gaining credibility, and achieving an impact the most important impact-related challenges in their work, according to a newly released CMDS report.

Reaching the audience seems to be the key impact-related challenge for fact-checking organizations, according to a survey among 30 fact-checking groups worldwide, summarized in a new report, published today by the Center for Media, Data and Society. What most fact-checking organizations deem a highly important challenge is to improve their skills and capacity to reach out to a specific group of followers.

Using social media in an effective way as well as gaining or maintaining credibility were also indicated as top challenges in the survey. This is not surprising as trust is a crucial issue for every organization aiming to provide the public with truthful information, according to the study.

Almost the entire group of fact-checkers canvassed by the questionnaire said that they found identifying their audience a challenge, and the need to learn of tools and skills to measure and boost the impact of their fact-checking important. The question of whether fact-checking really has an impact has been debated for years. While there are success stories, more evidence is needed to assess this, according to the study.

In a media environment where essentially anybody has access to both producing and consuming information, ensuring that truth prevails is extremely important. Wherever the fact-checking field goes, its success and impact will largely depend on how fact-checking groups engage with their audience: knowing them better, reaching out to them more and in more effective ways, and gaining their trust, the study concludes.

Photo: Shutterstock / papitchaya