Fake news is not new. Examples of propaganda, sensationalism and disinformation are known as early as the 13th century BC. But in the age of the internet, fake news spreads in a flash and its influence is unprecedented.
An informed population is essential to the proper functioning of a democracy. Use these free fact-checking sites to help your students learn to distinguish reliable information from false information and to think critically about what they read online or in print.
Free fact-checking sites for students and teachers
Policy (opens in a new tab)
The go-to site for verifying political claims, Politifact covers a wide range of issues, people and promises, and includes 14 state-specific editions. Be sure to check out the Truth-O-Meter, which rates claims on a sliding scale from “true” to “pants on fire.” Factual and enjoyable!
Google Fact Check Explorer (opens in a new tab)
A fact-checking search engine, Google Fact Check Explorer is a smart way to quickly check the latest rumors circulating on social media and websites about any topic or person. Enter a name, place, event or any text and immediately a list of verified claims appears. The complaint overview displays the complaint, the date and a link to the assessment.
FactCheck.org (opens in a new tab)
From the Annenberg Public Policy Center, Factcheck.org is one of the oldest and most respected fact-checking sites. Click on FactCheck messages to read the latest verified news. Or select a topic, such as Donald Trump, President Biden, or the coronavirus to explore stories that may or may not be 100% true. Each article includes a quick summary, full report and references.
Fake or real? How to self-check the news and get the facts (opens in a new tab)
Fact-checking sites are a useful tool, but students can also learn to apply the principles of fact-checking on their own. Students will learn how to assess and analyze the credibility of any online article or website. Ideal as a prerequisite for carrying out a research project.
snopes (opens in a new tab)
Snopes is an absolute delight, with goofy articles about the 8-foot-tall woman, cannibalism, and Halloween candy. But beneath the sometimes amusing topic are real fact checkers who investigate claims, uncover evidence, and present findings. And it’s not just about outlandish stories, but about any newsworthy topic, including politics, culture, and world events. Snopes calls itself the oldest and largest fact-checking site online. Is it true? I haven’t verified this claim, but I know your students will love Snopes.
Open Secrets (opens in a new tab)
Open Secrets is not your usual fact-checking site. Rather, it is dedicated to tracking, documenting, and exposing the sources of money in American politics and the effect on elections and politics. The site’s research tools include national and local donor research as well as selected campaign and donor datasets. Ideal for PBLs and advanced students.
BBC Reality New Check (opens in a new tab)
The highly respected British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) takes a broad look at trends, rumours, world events and disputed or controversial reporting. Students can immerse themselves in the careful analysis and draw their own conclusions.
Artificial (opens in a new tab)
Super fun game where users read short articles, look at the source of the article and decide if it is fake or real news.
quote finder (opens in a new tab)
Did they really say it? Not the usual quote site, Quote Investigator examines sayings attributed to a wide variety of famous people, from Mark Twain to Maya Angelou. Go beyond internet memes to uncover the truth.
Checkology (opens in a new tab)
An impressive and comprehensive approach to fact-checking, Checkology is truly a media literacy program. Sign up for a free teacher account and start browsing standards-aligned lessons on misinformation, conspiracy thinking, interpreting data, and more. The Check Center helps students rate an image, screenshot, or URL with questions to guide their investigation.
all sides (opens in a new tab)
Allsides has a unique approach to fact-checking, examining every trending topic from the perspective of left, right and center media. Often the essential facts are not disputed; rather, it is the subtle (or obvious) bias applied to the same set of facts that is highlighted by AllSides. A good tool to help children begin to understand media bias and how their views affect the interpretation of events.