Today’s “always on” environment, together with social media, really does give us the ability to hear anything said by anyone, anywhere, anytime. Ironically, this flood of material makes it difficult to know what is actually true! Knowing the believability and accuracy of what we read, hear and see is important around the world -- and no less important for us here in the world’s leading democracy.
Fact checking is the process of verifying what someone has said, and then receiving a rating about the accuracy of the ‘fact.’ Fact checking enables us to sort through a tidal wave of massive information and communication.
Some fact checking services exist, but none are instant.
Fact checking today is done mostly by qualified humans. It’s a laborious, time-consuming process that is not easy, quick, cheap or comprehensive. There simply aren’t enough journalism researchers with the skills to verify all the claims made by our political candidates and public figures. It often takes a day or more to verify the accuracy of statements, especially in the context that they were made. And as time elapses, the truth moves further and further away from us.
The critical time to know if political claims and statements are accurate is now -- as we read or view it. Therefore, the breakthroughs sought in this prize are those that improve speed of results in fact checking.