Full Fact

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Full Fact
Full Fact Wikipedia EU Referendum editathon 79.JPG
Fact-checking the UK's EU referendum[1]
FoundersMichael Samuel and Will Moy
Coordinates51°30′19″N 0°08′11″W / 51.505194°N 0.136471°W / 51.505194; -0.136471Coordinates: 51°30′19″N 0°08′11″W / 51.505194°N 0.136471°W / 51.505194; -0.136471
Websitefullfact.org Edit this on Wikidata

Full Fact is a British charity based in London to check and correct facts reported in the news.


Full Fact was founded in 2009 by Conservative Party donor[3] Michael Samuel (Chair) and Anne Freud Centre Chairman, Will Moy (Director) and has 18 staff as of 2019.[4] Moy had been working as a researcher for Lord Low and noticed that lobbyists often provided inaccurate briefings to such legislators.[5] Samuel had been concerned about accuracy in public debate for a number of years. Moy and Samuel were introduced by Julia Neuberger and worked together to found Full Fact.

Full Fact applied to the Charity Commission for charitable status when it was being founded in 2009 but this was refused. An appeal was heard by the commission's tribunal in 2011 but this was rejected on the grounds that the stated objective of "civic engagement" was too political in nature. The wording was changed to "the advancement of public education" and charitable status was then granted in 2014.[6][7]


Full Fact initially rated material on a five-point scale, using a magnifying glass as a symbol, instead of a star. They dropped this system as they felt such ratings were unreliable and so did not enhance their long-term reputation.[8]

The fact-checking process includes a three-stage review.[9] Facts may then be reviewed by external academics too.[9]

Full Fact has been sponsored to develop automated fact-checking tools by the Omidyar Network and Open Society Foundations. Live is one of the tools that is intended to immediately check statements against a database of verified facts. The other tool is called Trends and this will track and display the spread of false information.[10]

Full Fact offers three-month secondments to statisticians working in the Government Statistical Service. Secondees have performed activities such as fact-checking Question Time and providing guidance on the presentation of statistics. Full Fact has also partnered with media organisations including the BBC, ITV and Sky News to provide information about political campaigns including the Scottish and UK-EU referenda and the general elections of 2015 and 2017. It also provided evidence to the Leveson Inquiry and the BBC Trust's impartiality review.[11]

Elections and referendums[edit]

In 2016, Full Fact covered the United Kingdom European Union membership referendum to check claims made during the campaign.[12] For example that "We send the EU £350M a week".[13][14] Full Fact found that this was misleading, as the net amount sent was £250 million (£13 billion a year) because of the UK's rebate. Another £77 million a week (£4 billion a year) later comes back as EU expenditure on UK based projects, "mainly to farmers and for poorer areas of the country". Furthermore, extra money comes back as the EU spends money on the UK private sector, estimated by Full Fact to be £1.5 billion a year (£29 million a week).[15]

In 2017, Full Fact collaborated with another similar organisation, First Draft, to staff a fact-checking team covering the UK general election.[16]


On 11 January 2019, it was announced that Full Fact will be providing fact-checking services to the Facebook platform.[17]


  1. ^ Sinéad Boultwood (17 May 2016), Full Fact's first Wikipedia edit-a-thon, Full Fact
  2. ^ a b 1158683 – FULL FACT, Charity Commission
  3. ^ "Michael Samuel profile". The Marque. The Marque. Retrieved 7 December 2019.
  4. ^ About Full Fact: How did you get started?, 2019
  5. ^ Suzannah Brecknell (5 May 2016), "Full Fact's Will Moy on lobbyist "nonsense", official corrections and why we know more about golf than crime stats", Civil Service World
  6. ^ Sam Burne James (29 September 2014), Full Fact gains charitable status five years after first application, Third Sector
  7. ^ Andrew Gilligan (6 April 2013), "How Leveson was denied the full facts", Sunday Telegraph
  8. ^ Lucas Graves (2016), Deciding What's True: The Rise of Political Fact-Checking in American Journalism, Columbia University Press, p. 41, ISBN 9780231542227
  9. ^ a b Alexios Mantzarlis (23 June 2016), Lessons from fact-checking the Brexit debate, The Poynter Institute
  10. ^ Mădălina Ciobanu (3 July 2017), "Full Fact is developing two new tools for automated fact-checking", Journalism, Mousetrap Media
  11. ^ About Full Fact (PDF), Government Statistical Service, 2017
  12. ^ Roy Greenslade (9 March 2016), "Websites sort the facts from the fiction for EU referendum voters", The Guardian
  13. ^ May Bulman (11 September 2016). "Brexit: Vote Leave camp abandon £350m-a-week NHS vow in Change Britain plans". independent.co.uk. Retrieved 27 January 2019.
  14. ^ Armstrong, Kenneth (2017), Brexit Time, Cambridge University Press, p. 67, ISBN 9781108415378
  15. ^ "The UK's EU membership fee". Full Fact. 13 July 2016. Retrieved 10 July 2018.
  16. ^ Robert Booth (20 May 2017), "Truth seekers: inside the UK election's fake news war room", The Guardian, p. 1
  17. ^ Wakefield, Jane (11 January 2019). "Facebook employs UK fact-checkers". BBC News. Retrieved 13 January 2019.

External links[edit]