Lessons to learn from the battle against fake news

The fightback against fake news has begun – headed up by big players in the world of content

Last week, YouTube announced a series of fake news workshops for 13 to 18-year-olds across the UK, designed to help teenagers decipher fact from fiction in their online activities.

Then, on Tuesday, Wikipedia co-founder Jimmy Wales declared he would be launching a news service, Wikitribune. The site will have a team of fact checkers poring over articles to ensure only accurate and neutral content goes live.

A fake news frenzy?

Although the evidence suggests fake news is rising, content consumers are increasingly taking the fight into their own hands. The importance of authenticity in good content is well established and research shows that independent fact vigilantes are becoming more common.

Just who are these people? Content Desk profiles fact activists in four different areas where fake news is changing the landscape to see where content marketing fits in.


Set up in 2010 to “anchor public debate to reality”, FullFact has become a stalwart of UK politics, submitting evidence to parliament on its work and accumulating nearly 50,000 followers on Twitter.

FullFact is a registered charity; it has bolstered its workforce and widened its outlook thanks to the financial backing of supporters. Its success reflects the growing appetite for authenticity.

San Diego Fact Check

A far more localised but no less creditable example of the anti-fakery phenomenon is the San Diego Fact Checker. Run by Voices of San Diego, a non-profit news organisation, it has been cutting through the maze of Californian spin since 2015 – which, if the organisation’s Twitter page is to be believed, is out of control.

The San Diego Fact Check facility has now been integrated into its parent website. But, like FullFact, it continues to be funded through donations. Local content is vital in this globalised age – and these San Diego-based trailblazers are highlighting the importance of ensuring its veracity.

Stop Fake

Russia: the epicentre of fake news? In the last week alone, Russian news sources have been accused of influencing the French election in Marine Le Pen’s favour by flooding social media with anti-EU propaganda.

Stop Fake was set up in 2014 to combat Russian disinformation, debunking falsehoods in 10 different languages and zooming in on issues from the annexation of Crimea to suspicious Trump-Russia ties.

As well as taking a firm line on political issues of the day – the importance of which has been unpacked on Content Desk – the website has diversified into video and multilingual content, suggesting a shrewd content strategy.

Media Bias Fact Check

Although based in America, Media Bias Fact Check knows no boundaries when applying scrutiny to news outlets. It places them on a scale of political inclination to expose otherwise hidden prejudices. Their website has gained global recognition and millions of hits for its service in pursuit of the truth.

Its ongoing popularity and worldwide reach should serve as a lesson. Fake news may be changing the content landscape, but there are organisations across the world using content marketing techniques to neutralise its effects – and not just the giants of YouTube and Wikipedia.

As content marketers, we ignore the fight against fake news at our peril.

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