Recent Political Fact-Checking

  • William Aspray
  • James W. Cortada
Part of the History of Computing book series (HC)


This chapter is about recent political fact-checking. The chapter provides an accounting of all of the major political fact-checking initiatives undertaken in the United States between 2003 and 2018. The chapter observes that the rise of these fact-checking organizations appears in waves, driven by national elections in the United States. The most extensive coverage is given to PolitiFact, one of the leading fact-checking organizations. Examples are given of evaluations made by PolitiFact to claims made by politicians, and to pushback from various political groups and to charges of bias, which we see are largely unfouded. Some of the other fact-checking operations that are considered here are the Washington Post FactChecker and The Weekly Standard FactChecker. A number of university-based research efforts to deal with the issue of fake news are considered, including the University of Santa Clara’s Trust Project, the University of Missouri’s Trusting News project, the CUNY News Integrity Initiative, and the Data & Society Research Institute’s Media Manipulation Initiative. Two recent trends are discussed: one is the creation of for-profit businesses to deal with fake news, such as NewsGuard by the well-known journalists Steven Brill and Gordon Crovitz and the startup Our.News; the other trend is the use of technology to address the issue of fake news, such as the use of machine learning by, and the use of crowdsourcing by WikiTribune (created by Wikipedia’s founder Jimmy Wales).


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Copyright information

© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • William Aspray
    • 1
  • James W. Cortada
    • 2
  1. 1.Department of Information ScienceUniversity of Colorado BoulderBoulderUSA
  2. 2.Charles Babbage InstituteUniversity of MinnesotaMinneapolisUSA

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