Post-Twitter Files – Part 2: The reach of the fact-check industry and fact-checking incentives

The intrusion of fact-checking into free speech extends globally across all forms of media with investigations revealing around 500 active fact-check platforms worldwide, almost half linked to media outlets.

In Part 1 of this series of three papers, the importance of the work of American journalists in exposing government influence on content moderation of social media posts was acknowledged, and other fact-check activities that have not been reported or explored by journalists were outlined. This section reveals further details of two characteristics of the fact-check industry: the spread of fact checkers throughout the world, and the extension of fact checking to the legacy media and academia.

A worldwide industry

A preliminary examination of international fact-check platforms found about 500 active platforms worldwide, around half linked to media outlets. Some have specialities—such as media personalities, health, climate, and online games. The focus of independent (non-media) platforms is to review content on social media and internet sites. Fact-checking occurs in European, Asian, and African languages, including minority languages of hard-to-reach communities[1]. Over 200 support organisations were also uncovered, including AI companies that produce fact-check tools, universities, NGOs, journalist associations, and networking organisations.

Although independent fact-check platforms are found worldwide, the origins of Asian, African, and South American fact-checking systems are often traced to Western organisations. For example, Africa Check, the first African fact-check platform, was launched in South Africa by Agence France-Presse (AFP)[2] in 2012, and had accounts listed with Companies House in London until November 2021[3]. Africa Check has now extended its fact-checking functions to Senegal, Nigeria, and Kenya. In 2017, members of Mafindo, the first Indonesian fact-check platform founded in 2016, and Asosiasi Media Siber Indonesia (AMSI), a cyber media organisation, were invited to attend a Google Media Lab Summit in California. Following this event, at a Google-funded summit in Jakarta in 2018, Mafindo and ASMI, together with the Indonesian Journalists’ Association (AJI), launched the CekFakta group, with 22 Indonesian media organisations recruited as its first fact-checking members[4].

Not only do fact-check platforms form national groups such as CekFakta, but they also form international networks. As described in Part 1, the most important of these is the International Fact-Checking Network (IFCN) launched by the Poynter Institute in Florida in 2015. By 2017 IFCN had established a Code of Principles to which international fact-check platforms who comply with their code become signatories[5]. Whilst it is commendable for journalists and fact checkers to have a professional standard, it should be noted that content published on the Poynter Institute website follows mainstream Western narratives on hot-button issues such as climate[6, 7, 8]and health[9, 10].

There are also regional fact-checking groups, such as the European Digital Media Observatory (EDMO), which is subdivided into 14 regional hubs, such as NORDIS that operates in the four Scandinavian counties[11]. There is also a Spanish/Portuguese group, LATAMChequea, that networks across Iberia and South America[12], and which has also formed a subgroup, FactChequeado[13], that targets Spanish-speakers in the USA. These are examples of the many fact-check associations that are developing internationally.

Where countries are hostile to Western influence, …networks of fact-check platforms are established in nearby countries to check and modify content.

Where countries are hostile to Western influence, such as Belarus, Russia, Syria, and Venezuela, networks of fact-check platforms are established in nearby countries to check and modify content. For example, Facebook employs third-party fact checkers from Latvia, Poland, Georgia, Lithuania, Estonia and USA to fact-check in Russia in Russian languages[14].

Extending to the legacy media

The new systems of fact checking extend across all media forms: newspapers, radio, television, online news; as well as online games, social media, and encrypted platforms. For example, regarding news media, a journalist from the Washington Post described how fact-checking methodology changed in that newsroom from 2007[15]. That newspaper was one of the first signatories to the IFCN code in 2017[16]. Journalists who do not agree with content moderation have a limited choice of paid employment in the media industry as, in Europe and the USA, the media is in the hands of a few wealthy owners[17] [18]. Another influence on newsrooms is copy received from news agencies such as Agence France-Presse, Associated Press, and Reuters, which are all signatories to the IFCN code; their already fact-checked copy circulates to newsrooms across five continents[19]. Global newsrooms register with IFCN, demonstrating that they fulfil the criteria of the IFCN code.

A list of fact-checking platforms from Duke University Reporters’ Lab in September 2023 includes 74 active fact-checking platforms in the USA. Of these, 48 are associated with media companies—including large companies such as The Washington Post and CNN, as well as local newspapers such as the Reno Gazette and the Nevada Independent[20]—demonstrating that fact-checking practices are extending across all sections of the mainstream media.

As in USA and Europe, media outlets across the world are increasingly moving online; and whilst there are many positive commercial reasons to do so, plus improved access for audiences/readers, it also makes it easier for fact checkers to monitor content. In fact, moving online gives an incentive to news organisations to adopt the new fact-checking procedures. Across the globe, Internews[21]—that, together with its partner Ads for News[22], collaborates with the World Economic Forum—and Google with its Adsense programme[23], encourage local media in USA, Africa, and Asia to move online, incentivising content moderation by offering advertising revenue if content is considered to be ‘trusted’[24].

The extension to academia

It is also the case that the new fact-checking industry has extended to academia. In Europe fifteen organisations supporting fact checking were found that are funded by the EU, European Commission, or the Council of Europe: these involved universities, AI companies, and fact-check platforms[25]. Some are extensive. The aims of EDMO are to map all fact-check platforms; coordinate research; build a portal for everyone to check and coordinate information; develop a framework for data collection; and support public authorities[26]. Other EU-funded organisations perform tasks such as setting EU fact-checking standards, conducting research, designing fact-check tools, creating content, building virtual reality tools, distributing data, or coordinating university journalism departments to ensure that students are taught fact-checking to meet the current content-moderation requirements. Eighty-three universities in 31 European countries were named as participating in these projects and American journalist, Matt Taibbi, found American universities were similarly part of the fact-checking network[27].


This examination of the fact-check industry worldwide demonstrates that, as noted in the Twitter files, the intrusion of fact-checking into free speech extends globally, covers all forms of media, captures academia, the technology industry, and legacy media. In Part Three, other functions of the fact-check industry will be examined, together with international funding issues.


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  2. “AFP Foundation launches African fact-checking website in partnership with South African university.” AFP. 31 October 2012. AFP Foundation launches African fact-checking website in partnership with South African University | [Accessed 25 October 2023].
  3. AFRICA CHECK C.I.C. overview – Find and update company information – GOV.UK ( [Accessed 25 September 2023].
  4. Cekfakta (2022). [Accessed 25 September 2023].
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  6. “Climate Misinformation Grant Program.” Poynter Institute, 2023. Climate Misinformation Grant Program – Poynter. (Accessed 8 May 2023).
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  9. “Corona Virus Facts Alliance.” Poynter Institute, 2023. CoronaVirusFacts Alliance – Poynter [Accessed 13 March 2023].
  10. Curet, M. “Claims that COVID death figures are inflated by counting those who died ‘with, nor from’ the virus are premsed on false assertions.” Poynter Institute, 24 January 2022. Claims that COVID death figures are inflated by counting those who died ‘with, not from’ the virus are premised on false assertions – Poynter [Accessed 20 June 2023].
  11. European Digital Media Observatory (EDMO) | Shaping Europe’s digital future ( [Accessed 25 September 2023].
  12. LatamChequea | The network of checkers in Latin America ( [Accessed 25 September 2023].
  13. English · [Accessed 25 September 2023].
  14. “Where we have fact checking”. Meta. A Map of Meta’s Global Third-Party Fact-Checking Partners ( [Accessed 25 September 2023].
  15. Dobbs, M., “The rise of political fact checking.” New America Foundation. 2012. 15318.pdf ( [Accessed 4 July 2023].
  16. “Verified Signatories to the Code of Practice.” IFCN, 2023. IFCN Code of Principles ([Accessed 4 July 2023].
  17. “Report: who owns the UK media?” Media Reform Coalition, 2021. Report: Who Owns the UK Media? | Media Reform Coalition [Accessed 13 April 2023].
  18. Rao-Poola, K., “The Dangers of the Concentration of Media Ownership.” Berkeley High Jacket, 8 February 2021. The Dangers of the Concentration of Media Ownership — Berkeley High Jacket [Accessed 17 February 2023].
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  20. Fact- Checking – Duke Reporters’ Lab ( [Accessed 25 September 2023].
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  22. “A free global inclusion list of trusted local media.” Ads for News, (undated). Ads for News [Accessed 8 May 2023].
  23. “We value your content.” Adsense, 2023. Google AdSense – Earn Money From Website Monetization [Accessed 8 May 2023].
  24. “A free global inclusion list of trusted local media.” Ads for News. (undated) Ads for News [Accessed 8 May 2023].
  25. Permanent Taskforce of the EU Code of Practice for Disinformation; EU Fact Check; EU Remid; European Data News Hub; EU versus Disinfo; European Digital Media Observatory; European Fact Check Standards Network; European Narrative Observatory; European Media and Information Fund; EUI Media and Immersion Lab; Media Numeric; North-South Centre; Reveal Project; Social Observatory for Disinformation and Social Media Analysis;
  26. European Digital Media Observatory (EDMO) | Shaping Europe’s digital future ( [Accessed 10 April 2023].
  27. Scmidt, S., Lownethal, A, et al. “Report on the Censorship Industrial Complex. The Top 50 organisations to know.” Racket News, Substack, 10 May 2023. Report on the Censorship-Industrial Complex: The Top 50 Organizations to Know ( [Accessed 20 June 2023].

Publisher’s note: The opinions and findings expressed in articles, reports and interviews on this website are not necessarily the opinions of PANDA, its directors or associates.

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