Facebook Fact-checkers

Factcheck .org


Big tech’s efforts to fight “misinformation” are growing as they bring on supposedly neutral fact-checking groups to expose lies. The problem is these fact-checkers have the same liberal biases as the news media and social media companies and often aren’t checking facts, so much as opinions they dislike. It’s narrative checking.

FactCheck.org is one of them. The site is the granddaddy of all the fact-checkers. Launched in 2003, it’s a bit stodgier and more academic than its competitors. It shuns flashy ratings scales involving Pinnochios or Pants on Fire, because they are not scientific. FactCheck’s Co-founder Brooks Jackson said, “I have never felt that we had any sort of academically respectable way to measure the degree of mendacity in a statement.”

But that doesn’t make the group unbiased. Journalism is dominated by liberals and fact-checking is run by journalists, so bias is the natural outcome. FactCheck focuses far more on President Donald Trump than other politicians. The site has also failed to expose the media when it accepted Chinese propaganda, and has defended Planned Parenthood and climate alarmist and children’s television star Bill Nye “The Science Guy” against valid conservative criticism.

Historically, fact-checking was started to help liberals.The frustration of being unable to defend a Democrat from an attack ad spawned fact-checking organizations like FactCheck.org. Jackson told Politico they evolved from journalists’ discontent over an ad targeting Democratic presidential nominee Michael Dukakis in 1988.

FactCheck.org may be older, but these days it is in with the in-crowd at Facebook, Instagram, Google and YouTube. All four tech companies partner with the International Fact-Checking Network (IFCN) run by the liberal Poynter Institute, which receives funding from many liberals, including billionaire George Soros.

FactCheck is one of IFCN’s certified fact-checkers. The organization’s funding page indicates Facebook paid it more than $300,000 in 2020 for being a fact-checking partner with the social media giant. Google also donated $100,000 for the group to fight COVID-19 misinformation.

  • The liberal media panicked in April, claiming the U.S. had more deaths from coronavirus than China. Despite U.S. officials and media outlets warning China was undercounting deaths, all nine of Facebook’s IFCN fact-checkers (including FactCheck.org) failed to expose these media stories as false or partly false given that China was almost certainly lying about the number of deaths. 
  • When Trump used a partial video highlighting an obvious Biden gaffe where the Democrat uttered the words “we can only re-elect Donald Trump,” FactCheck was upset by the “deceptive editing.” Yet, this is the kind of editing used by news media, pundits and campaigns of all stripes. 
  • Like its competitors, FactCheck focused almost exclusively on the president’s State of The Union speech in 2020, barely noticing the Democratic response. In total, the site checked 14 Trump statements, and offered just one sentence about Gov. Whitmer’s falsehood that wages “stagnated” under Trump. Although its ratio was better than some other fact-checkers.
  • FactCheck provides fact-checks to Facebook and Google, liberal companies with biases. In 2018, the MRC found Google listing “reviewed claims” against 6 of the top 20 conservatives news sites, and not a single one of the top 20 liberal outlets. In 2020, it became a fact-checker for YouTube, a sister company to Google.
  • Trump is a favorite target of fact-checkers, a fact confirmed by The Guardian when it wrote about the “exhausting” work of fact-checking him. “We haven’t had a break,” said FactCheck director Eugene Kiely. “I don’t want to write about Donald Trump every day. I would like to write about some other things. But it is what it is.”
  • FactCheck.org partnered with other liberal fact-checkers for the FactStream app project (paid for by the left). It attempted to provide live fact-checking during political events like the State of the Union. In 2019, the app crashed only a few minutes into the speech.
  • All the big fact-checking groups, including FactCheck, let liberal Stacey Abrams claim “I won,” after she lost the 2018 Georgia governor's race. 
  • FactCheck.org is part of the Annenberg School at University of Pennsylvania. It was funded exclusively by the Annenberg Foundation through 2010. After 2010, it continued to receive funding from the foundation, as well as the Flora Family Foundation and individual donations. The Annenberg Foundation has ties to domestic terrorist Bill Ayers, who ran the Chicago Annenberg Challenge with former President Barack Obama from 1995-2001.
  • Watts Up With That called out FactCheck.org in 2016, for splitting hairs in order to accuse Oklahoma Republican Sen. James Inhofe, R-Okla., of lying about hydraulic fracturing. 
  • FactCheck helped spread the idea that undercover video of Planned Parenthood was deceptively edited, by publishing a so-called fact-check “Unspinning the Planned Parenthood video.” It hit conservatives for saying the group was making a “profit” selling aborted baby body parts. And while a statute discussing the remuneration of human fetal tissue does appear to provide a fig leaf for Planned Parenthood to hide behind, the for “profit” or not for “profit” distinction seems an absurd thing to emphasize when the ghastly larger point was 100% accurate. Planned Parenthood sold baby body parts.
  • Bill Nye has an earned degree in engineering, not climatology or any other science. But FactCheck.org defended him in order to smear Sarah Palin for calling him “as much of a scientist as I” and criticizing his global warming alarmism.
  • When President Obama’s administration provided states with a workaround for welfare work requirements, critics accused him rightly of getting rid of work requirements. CNN, backed by FactCheck.org and others insisted this was a “campaign distortion” and “false claim.”
  • It lists Pamela Geller’s website in its “misinformation directory.” 

Contact FactCheck.org: (215) 898-9400, Editor@FactCheck.org, Facebook, Twitter or by mail: 202 S. 36th St., Philadelphia, PA 19104-3806

Lead Stories


Lead Stories, a fact checker that initially was the pet project of Belgian tech blogger Maarten Schenk, became a bigger organization after Facebook designated it as one of the company’s 10 American fact-checking partners. Lead Stories does more than its fair share of “reduc[ing]” and “remov[ing]” content that it deems problematic.

The media outlet features several CNN alumni who fact-check trending stories. In one study, it was found that it fact-checked conservatives and conservative organizations four times more than liberals and liberal organizations.

Schenk, the co-founder of the organization, writes in his bio that he is “endlessly fascinated by the dazzling variety of psychological and technical tricks used by the people and networks who intentionally spread made-up things on the internet.”

Eight CNN alumni help run the outlet. They perform 76 percent of the fact-checks. Ryan Cooper, a former director of programming at CNN International, has done 145 entries in this time-span, almost exactly half. He was joined by former CNN Digital News editor Monte Plott (1 entry), former CNN Digital senior writer Jessica Ravitz (14 entries), former CNN entertainment reporter Alan Duke (29 entries), former CNN senior director of special events Anne Brown (7 entries), former planning CNN producer/editor/reporter Chelsea Carter (7 entries), and former CNN senior producer Wayne Drash (23 entries). Former CNN news editor Tom Watkins also has written for the outlet, publishing a story on March 18.

After the National Pulse, a conservative media outlet founded by Raheem Kassam, published a piece exposing Lead Stories, Lead Stories tried to hit back. It wrote, “Several of our staffers have worked previously at CNN, including Editor-in-Chief Alan Duke and we make no excuses for that. When looking for new employees it is only natural to reach out to unemployed former colleagues.”

Chairman Perry Sanders wrote in response, “All this being said, Lead Stories, that I mainly funded, is supposed to have zero political bias, and any accusations that it has such bias will be fully examined by me personally and that will NEVER be tolerated. Are we perfect? Likely not. Are we as an organization biased? We better not be!!”

Other writers for Lead Stories hadn’t even graduated from college yet. Molly Weisner, a staff writer at Lead Stories, wrote in her bio that she is still attending the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

In the About section, Lead Stories announces that its expenses for 2019 totaled $300,809. Meanwhile, it was compensated $359,000 from Facebook through the terms of the fact-checking partnership. Facebook financed 119 percent of Lead Stories’ operating costs.

Since the beginning of 2020, Lead Stories fact-checked conservative or non-liberal figures and outlets like The Blaze founder Glenn Beck, Townhall, The Washington Times, the GOP, Newsmax, LifeNews.com, Human Events editor Ian Miles Cheong, Turning Point USA founder Charlie Kirk, radio host Rush Limbaugh, Judicial Watch, the NRA, OANN’s Jack Posobiec, Rep. Paul Gosar (R-AZ), Christian satire site Babylon Bee, Breitbart, and The Daily Caller.

The Media Research Center, which is the organization that operates NewsBusters, CNSNews.com, and MRCTV was also mentioned by Lead Stories in a sweeping fact-check that listed four conservative sites for false information.

Facebook pages or users that share these “fact-checked” posts have their reach suppressed for an amount of time on the platform. So if a conservative page shares a story from another conservative website, the fact-check affects it too.

  • Lead Stories neglected to fact-check the Democratic debate between former Vice-President Joe Biden and Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT). The Washington Post dedicated a whole article to fact-checking the debate. 
  • Lone Conservative, a conservative media outlet designed for college students and recent graduates, was fact-checked by Lead Stories for a cartoon of bailout money being rolled into the Kennedy Center as money was being rolled out to the Democratic National Committee. The cartoon was meant as satire. It was labeled as “false.” 
  • Lead Stories fact-checked a meme that said Sen. Kamala Harris (D-CA) did not listen to Tupac and Snoop Dogg in college, because “she did not specifically say it was while she was in college.”

Contact Lead Stories at 323-762-3215.



While PolitiFact masquerades as a neutral fact-checking forum, its funding and fact-checks lean decidedly left. Now that it partners with social media networks like Facebook and Instagram to fact-check content, that bias has more reach than ever before. It even has the ability to influence elections.

PolitiFact often slaps conservatives with “false” ratings for lack of context when it doesn't agree with conclusions drawn from indisputable facts. It also loves to attack President Donald Trump. PolitiFact uses its Truth-o-Meter to call out Trump whenever possible and flags his remarks far more than other politicians. While the president does like to boast, Americans understand political rhetoric, hyperbole and exaggeration. It doesn’t always require fact-checking. The group also fact-checks opinions, which have no business being fact-checked.

The MRC found that between Jan. 1, 2019, and June 30, 2020, PolitiFact evaluated Trump 172 times compared to just 51 checks on his opponent: former Vice President Joe Biden. It gave Trump “Mostly False” or worse ratings 132 times, compared to Biden’s 23. PolitiFact showed the same tendency to fact-check Trump far more than Hillary Clinton during the 2016 election. With a gap that wide, it’s difficult to believe selection bias isn’t a problem at PolitiFact. Many argue this bias has existed for years.

PolitiFact originated as a project of the Tampa Bay Times and was acquired in 2018 by Poynter Institute for Media Studies — a huge, liberal journalism nonprofit. Poynter oversees and certifies fact-checkers through its International Fact-Checking Network. IFCN is funded by liberal foundations including George Soros’s Open Society Foundation, the Omidyar Network, Google and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. PolitiFact is one of 10 IFCN fact-checkers Facebook (and by extension Instagram) has relied on in the United States. Google and YouTube also rely on these fact-checkers through its IFCN partnership

Mark Hemingway had it right in 2011 when he wrote in The Weekly Standard that “Media fact-checking operations aren’t about checking facts so much as they are about a rearguard action to keep inconvenient truths out of the conversation.” PolitiFact has continued to keep proving him right.

  • Just months away from the 2020 election Vice President Mike Pence accurately said Joe Biden had called police “an enemy” and “absolutely” supported taking away funding. Instead of admitting it was true, PolitiFact declared it “Mostly False.”
  • Accusing the GOP of “trying to get away with murder,” specifically the murder of George Floyd, was a whopper. But Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi said it and got a free pass when PolitFact refused to rate her claim. 
  • Pro-life news outlet LifeNews was slapped with a “False” information label in May 2020, for accurately reporting Pelosi’s attempt to include coronavirus funding for abortion (by skirting the Hyde Amendment).
  • PolitiFact is obsessed with Trump. It fact-checked Trump 25 times more often than Pelosi in 2017-2018. The site also fact-checked Trump more than Biden during the 2020 campaign and more than Clinton in the 2016 campaign.
  • During the campaign, Trump highlighted an obvious Biden gaffe where the former vice president said “we can only re-elect Donald Trump.” He used the partial quote in a video, but PolitiFact cried “Mostly False” over the kind of editing used by media and pundits.
  • The site also rated Trump’s comments “Pants on Fire” and called them “ridiculous” in 2019 for referring to impeachment as a “coup,” even though liberals used the term during Clinton’s impeachment.
  • The Washington Post shamed PolitiFact in October 2019, when it tried to condemn Trump remarks about Obama and DACA. Within minutes of PolitiFact’s Twitter attack on Trump The Post disproved it. Others also dug up a previous “Mostly True” assessment.
  • In an effort to protect Biden, Politifact rated a real photograph of Biden holding hands with former KKK member Robert Byrd as “Mostly False.”
  • When conservatives state facts that PolitiFact doesn’t like, it has taken aim over a lack of context. It did that to black, conservative radio host Larry Elder over statistics about unarmed white and black people killed by police. His numbers came from The Washington Post, but Elder was slapped with “Mostly False.”
  • In a clear attempt to spin for the left, Politifact called Florida Republican Sen. Rick Scott “False” for citing actual Green New Deal documents indicating a desire to end air travel.
  • In 2017, PolitiFact claimed it couldn't find a single error in Clinton’s book What Happened?
  • In June 2016, the MRC found Trump received False/Mostly False/Pants on Fire labels from PolitiFact 77 percent of the time. Clinton received False/Mostly False (and no Pants on Fire) 26 percent of the time. 
  • When GOP candidate Mitt Romney ran a 2012 campaign ad about Jeeps being made in China because of the Obama administration’s demands on Chrysler (which was sold to Fiat), PolitiFact made it the “Lie of the Year,” followed by a long-winded explanation that proved Romney was right all along. Fiat-owned Chrysler would start making Jeeps in other countries in addition to the U.S. 
  • Proving that its fact-checkers nitpick true statements from Republicans, Sen. Rand Paul was rated “false” for using round numbers to discuss government versus private sector income. PolitiFact complained that he failed to stipulate if the numbers were salary or salary plus benefits. His numbers, and the larger point were true.
  • University of Minnesota Humphrey School of Public Affairs examined PolitiFact ratings in 2010-2011 and found “current and former Republican officeholders have been assigned substantially harsher grades by the news organization than their Democratic counterparts.” It also found “a supermajority of falsehoods documented by PolitiFact over the last year – 76 percent – were attributed to Republicans, with just 22 percent of such statements coming from Democrats.” 
  • One of PolitiFact’s worst ratings bungles was when it gave Obama a “True” rating for “If you’ve got a health plan you like, you can keep it,” in 2008. It had to do an about-face in 2013, and admit they’d gotten it so wrong — the same claim was “Lie Of the Year.” 

Contact Politifact: 727-821-9494, Facebook, Twitter or by mail at 801 3rd St. S St. Petersburg, FL 33701 or 1100 Connecticut Ave. NW, Suite 1300B, Washington, DC 20036.

First Draft

Among the ranks of fact-checkers, First Draft is unusual in that it was essentially birthed with the financial help of Big Tech during the 2016 election cycle. Google is a founding partner of First Draft and continues to fund the liberal fact-checking operation through the Google News Initiative. First Draft also gets money from an array of liberal foundations including George Soros’s Open Society Foundations. 

Even though it claims “editorial independence” from its donors, “First Draft tends to fact-check topics in a vein that’s consistent with its major donors’ opinions and interests. This is particularly true when it comes to controversies about vaccine safety and climate change, where First Draft appears to give little consideration to opposing scientific views and information,” according to investigative journalist Sharyl Attkisson.

Google and its parent company Alphabet are politically active. The search giant’s employees and leaders donated heavily to Hillary Clinton’s presidential run. Then Google executive chairman Eric Schmidt reportedly had a particularly close relationship with the Clintons at that time. During the same election cycle, Google decided to fund the creation of First Draft.

Its 2020 left-wing financial supporters included Craig Newmark Philanthropies (Craigslist), Democracy Fund, the Facebook Journalism Project, Media Democracy Fund and Open Society Foundations (George Soros). In 2019, it also received funding from the Facebook Journalism Project, Twitter, the Google News Initiative, Open Society Foundations and Craig Newmark Philanthropies.

Politico Europe described First Draft as “a fact-checking group that first partnered with tech companies and media organizations during the U.S. election to debunk fake news and that has since expanded its work across Europe.”

  • First Draft threw cold water on allegations against then-Democratic candidate for president of the United States Joe Biden and his son Hunter Biden, which were reported by the New York Post. The fact-checker wrote that the story was “attracting extensive criticism for apparent inconsistencies” and noted that Facebook and Twitter intentionally limited the story, but it failed to criticize such suppression.
  • On May 6, 2020, First Draft put out a statement recognizing that “Black lives matter” and continued to feature the statement prominently on its homepage.
  • First Draft has continued to enjoy left-wing financial backing including donations from George Soros’s Open Society Foundations.
  • The fact-checker moved to Harvard’s Shorenstein Center on Media, Politics and Public Policy in October 2017, before leaving in early 2019, citing “brand control” problems. While at Harvard, it released a joint report about “information disorder” with 34 policy recommendations aimed at Big Tech, governments, media, society and educators. The recommendations included federal government regulation of ad networks, “support” for public service media groups and enforcing “minimum levels of public service news” on tech platforms.
  • First Draft as a nonprofit collaboration with money from Google in 2015. 

Contact First Draft: info@firstdraftnews.com, Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

AFP United States

AFP Fact Check is an arm of the global news agency AFP, founded in Paris in 1835 as Agence France-Presse. It became one of Facebook’s army of (mostly) liberal fact-checkers in 2017. 

The outlet claims its fact-checking efforts are in line with the AFP mission “to provide accurate, balanced and impartial” news coverage. AFP’s charter states that it speaks “with an independent voice free of political, commercial or ideological influence.” But conservatives have reason to disagree with these claims of balance.

Gun Owners of America filed a Federal Election Commission (FEC) complaint against Facebook and AFP Fact Check in October 2020, after it labeled articles attacking then-vice presidential candidate Kamala Harris’ attitudes and record on gun issues “false.” GOA argued the “so-called ‘fact checking’” was a violation of the Federal Election Campaign Act (FECA). 

“Examples of erroneous ‘fact checks’ are two articles concerning VP candidate Kamala Harris’ record on the Second Amendment. Both articles – written by Cam Edwards and GOA’s own Rachel Malone – correctly demonstrated Harris’ anti-gun record, but were rated ‘false’ by Facebook, which used the foreign AFP as its source,” GOA wrote.

The press release also said Virginia GOA director John Crump was banned from Facebook for sharing Malone’s article on his Facebook page.

  • In October 2020, AFP launched a new fact-checking partnership with communist Chinese-owned TikTok. It will be checking video content in the Philippines, Indonesia, Pakistan, Australia and New Zealand.
  • GOA filed an FEC complaint against Facebook and AFP Fact Check over fact-checks of two articles critical of Kamala Harris’ record on Second Amendment issues.
  • AFP Fact Check sided with global warming activists when it declared “Climate change is key factor behind California’s wildfires” and promoted the idea that climate change was a bigger factor than forest mismanagement and other factors.
  • Like all of the fact-checkers Facebook relies on, AFP Fact Check is an International Fact-Checking Network (IFCN) signatory. IFCN is part of Poynter, a liberal journalism non-profit with an advisory board made up of lefties. IFCN also received $1.3 million combined from Pierre Omidyar and George Soros through the liberal billionaires’ foundations in 2017.
  • AFP said, “We owe a lot to First Draft, who was behind the CrossCheck online verification project around the 2017 French elections. CrossCheck gave us valuable training and experience of collaborating with many different newsroom partners.” First Draft is another liberal media group. It has a pro-Black Lives Matter statement on its website, and is funded by a host of liberal foundations including Soros’ as well as Facebook and Google.
  • AFP Fact Check became a Facebook fact-checking partner in 2017. In 2018, it expanded its work to 13 countries.

Contact AFP Fact Check: Through its website, Twitter or Facebook.

One of the powerful tools deployed by Big Tech to squelch free speech is the relatively new idea of fact-checkers. In theory, these organizations target misstatements of fact. In practice, fact-checkers have become narrative police — targeting conservative content far more than liberal. Even when the facts are correct, fact-checkers do their best to undermine content they simply don’t like.