Full Fact

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Full Fact
Full Fact logo.png
FoundersMichael Samuel and Will Moy
Registration no.1158683[1]
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

Full Fact is a British charity, based in London, which checks and corrects facts reported in the news as well as claims which circulate on social media.


Full Fact was founded in 2009 by businessman Michael Samuel, the charity's chair, and Will Moy, who serves as director. It has 18 staff as of 2019.[2] Moy had been working as a researcher for Lord Low and noticed that lobbyists often provided inaccurate briefings to legislators,[3] while Samuel had been concerned about accuracy in public debate for some years. Moy and Samuel were introduced by Julia Neuberger and began working together.

Full Fact applied to the Charity Commission for charitable status in 2009 but was refused. An appeal to the commission's tribunal in 2011 was rejected on the grounds that the stated objective of "civic engagement" was too political. Charitable status was granted in 2014 after the wording was changed to "the advancement of public education".[4][5]

Samuel is a Conservative Party donor but the charity operates on a non-partisan basis and all major British political parties are represented on its board of directors. Its staff and volunteers must also refrain from engaging in political activity.[6]


Full Fact initially rated material on a five-point scale, using a magnifying glass as a symbol instead of a star. It dropped this system as it felt such ratings were unreliable and did not help its reputation.[7]

The fact-checking process includes a three-stage review[8] and facts also may be reviewed by external academics.[8]

Full Fact has been sponsored to develop automated fact-checking tools by the Omidyar Network and Open Society Foundations. Live is one such tool which will immediately check statements against a database of verified facts. The other tool, called Trends, will track and display the spread of false information.[9]

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 presenting statistics. Full Fact has also partnered with media organizations 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.[10]


Elections and referendums[edit]

Fact-checking the UK's EU referendum[11]

In 2016, Full Fact checked claims made during the United Kingdom European Union membership referendum campaign.[12] For example, the idea that Britain sends the EU £350 million a week[13][14] was found to be misleading because the net amount sent was £250 million, or £13 billion a year, on account of the UK's rebate. Another £77 million a week, or £4 billion a year, later comes back as EU expenditure on UK-based projects, "mainly to farmers and for poorer areas of the country". Full Fact also estimated that the EU invests about £29 million a week, or £1.5 billion a year, on the UK private sector.[15]

In 2017, Full Fact worked with a similar organization named First Draft to carry out fact-checking during the UK general election.[16]


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

See also[edit]


  1. ^ 1158683 – FULL FACT, Charity Commission
  2. ^ About Full Fact: How did you get started?, 2019
  3. ^ 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
  4. ^ Sam Burne James (29 September 2014), Full Fact gains charitable status five years after first application, Third Sector
  5. ^ Andrew Gilligan (6 April 2013), "How Leveson was denied the full facts", Sunday Telegraph
  6. ^ "Michael Samuel profile". The Marque. The Marque. Retrieved 7 December 2019.
  7. ^ Lucas Graves (2016), Deciding What's True: The Rise of Political Fact-Checking in American Journalism, Columbia University Press, p. 41, ISBN 9780231542227
  8. ^ a b Alexios Mantzarlis (23 June 2016), Lessons from fact-checking the Brexit debate, The Poynter Institute
  9. ^ Mădălina Ciobanu (3 July 2017), "Full Fact is developing two new tools for automated fact-checking", Journalism, Mousetrap Media
  10. ^ About Full Fact (PDF), Government Statistical Service, 2017
  11. ^ Sinéad Boultwood (17 May 2016), Full Fact's first Wikipedia edit-a-thon, Full Fact
  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]