Is It Really True? The 5 Best Fact-Checking Websites

Ads by Google

Fact Checking   Is It Really True? The 5 Best Fact Checking WebsitesFact checking has its origin in the early 20th century, when magazines began to verify statements made in non-fictional texts prior to publication. This practice increases credibility and trustworthiness of articles and documents. Today, fact checking is often associated with political journalism, but can of course be used in any field, including your homework.

Using the following fact checking websites, you can verify factual assertions made in your own writings.

Google & Other Search Engines

Google can find the truth. However, it takes a critical eye to distinguish truth from fiction, especially when digging through hundreds of search engine results. Nevertheless, a search engine is a good start. When you are checking facts for your homework, try Google Scholar to find scholarly literature or Google Books.

Google Scholar   Is It Really True? The 5 Best Fact Checking Websites

If you need something to use for school, also have a look at this article – Where To Research Material For Your Homework

Snopes

Snopes is the best place to make sure you didn’t fall for an urban legend, folklore, myth, rumor, or other misinformation spread online. Snopes knows coke will not dissolve your teeth, there is no law in Arizona specifically forbidding camel-hunting, the Great Wall of China is not the only man-made object visible from the moon, and much more.

Ads by Google

It is worth noting that Snopes lists its sources at the end of every article. You can search the site with a few keywords and switch to advanced search if the results are not exactly what you are looking for.

Snopes   Is It Really True? The 5 Best Fact Checking Websites

We have previously profiled Snopes for the MakeUseOf Directory.

Similar websites can be found in these articles:

FactCheck.org

When talking about checking facts, the political arena is hard to exclude. One of the online fact checking authorities in this field is FactCheck.org, a project of the Annenberg Public Policy Center of the University of Pennsylvania. FactCheck.org describes itself as “a nonpartisan, nonprofit consumer advocate for voters that aims to reduce the level of deception in U.S. politics.” In other words, this should be your number one source for information in the 2012 US elections.

FactCheck   Is It Really True? The 5 Best Fact Checking Websites

While we try to stay out of political debates, we have previously written about similar websites:

WhoWhatWhen

WhoWhatWhen is a database that contains information about famous people and famous events. The data can be assembled in various ways to create graphic timelines of periods in history or of the lives of individuals. For example the screenshot below shows the timeline for the life of the composer Johann Sebastian Bach.

Using the world of drop-down menus, contemporary events from different categories can be added. This reveals that Bach was alive when the first elevator was installed.

WhoWhatWhen   Is It Really True? The 5 Best Fact Checking Websites

WhoWhatWhen also contains some interesting lists, for example alive & kicking, a list of the oldest still living celebrities, presently headed by actor Ernest Borgnine (95).

Merriam-Webster

Finally, a great place to quickly check basic facts, such as the meaning of words, medical information, or overview articles, is an encyclopedia. One of the best free sources is that of Merriam-Webster.

Merriam Webster   Is It Really True? The 5 Best Fact Checking Websites

We have previously reviewed Merriam-Webster here: Merriam Webster – An Excellent Free Dictionary For Offline Use [Android 1.6+]

Also see these articles for more interesting dictionaries:

Which resources do you use to check your facts?

Image credit: Thumbs Up and Down via Shutterstock

Ads by Google
Check out more about:

The comments were closed because the article is more than 180 days old.

If you have any questions related to what's mentioned in the article or need help with any computer issue, ask it on MakeUseOf Answers—We and our community will be more than happy to help.

24 Comments -

Dave Parrack

Snopes is awesome, and it seems to have been around for as long as I have on the Web.

Chris

Wolfram Alpha is great for a summary of facts.

Tina

Good one Chris!

Mark Close

Snopes? LOL

Sure .. If you want the liberal truth .. It’s a Great ‘Fact’ checker!

We are talking about ‘Fact’ checkers .. aren’t we?
Try again.

Tina

It all depends on the type of ‘fact’ to be checked and who is checking it. Depending on the context, Snopes is great. I wouldn’t use it for a scientific article, but it’s perfect for checking the common sense (or rather nonsense) behind an urban myth. What do you think would be a better resource?

Dan

I have to agree with Mark on this here…. Snopes, at one point in time near its start, may have been legit, but anymore it’s just like ‘any other site on the web: questionable’. (I can make a post that has a 100 sources but it still won’t make it any more credible if all the sources are in fact flawed) And the same thing about FactCheck.org. It has been proven wrong before…

Merriam Webster is fantastic….

Tina

Encyclopedias have been proven wrong before.

Sources need to be picked based on the context, which is why I offered a selection. Urban myths or their refutation are rarely published in scientific literature or encyclopedias. They are much more likely to be the subjects of trivial publications or websites, such as Snopes.

Dan

Tina,
Very true, and a great insight on how to get that information.

(*it is a great post btw)

Daniel

Tina

Thanks Daniel!

Tom

The problem that I have with Snopes and Factcheck is that most Rightwingers refuse to believe them because so many false emails are flying around that these two resources expose them as false. Then the RWs tell me that the two sites are biased and unreliable.
When I ask for their reliable sources, I get ……………….

Cryptic

Only people on the right would have the argument that a fact isn’t a fact….

tony

Cryptic…your bias is showing! This goes both ways, always. How about we are all Americans?

Tina

Tony,

The problem with your suggestion is that we are not all Americans. :)

Merle Dilley

Tina….you didn’t mention truthorfiction.com! Whassup wit
dat? :o))

Tina

Thanks for mentioning it, Merle! I guess the site design was too 90s and looked spammy, so I didn’t investigate further.

Saintex

yasssu.com is pretty interesting when it comes to fact checking and news discussion. they just launched but their features are promising – you can vote fact or fiction on articles, discuss, comment, and support or oppose publishers..

Buk

I don’t see politifact. Factcheck has ties to Obama (he chaired the foundation that started it. Can’t be trusted. Politicfact like Factcheck says it non partisan, but now seems the lean to the laft as well. Non of these factcheckers are RELIABLE. I used to think Snopes was reliable, but now they just make excuses for Obama. http://www.snopes.com/politics/obama/57states.asp. Politifact claims non partisan:
http://www.politifact.com/truth-o-meter/blog/2011/oct/06/who-pays-for-politifact/ but its been uncoverd to be a lie.http://newsbusters.org/blogs/tom-blumer/2012/04/21/politifact-wont-apply-truth-o-meter-article-about-obama-eating-dog-meat- and as for Factcheck, connections to obama cant be trusted either.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chicago_Annenberg_Challenge

Purell

Newsbusters: ‘Exposing and Combating the Liberal Media Bias’. Sounds extremely impartial to me… Just thought you should know that that shiny gold sticker on their page is only a commemorative decal signifying 25 years of operation, not a symbol of accreditation and certainly not a Pulitzer Prize (read: Politifact)… I do research for a RW organization for a living, but have the presence of mind to distinguish ideology from fact.

terry smith

Trouble with your analysis is that the left, unlike the right, makes a sport out of lying. Think Bill Clinton, Margret Mead, “I Rigoberta Menchu”, Nature vs Nurture, Global Warming, Gun Control, Feminist Studies, Bi-lingual Education, Lead Paint Crisis, etc….just a few of the frauds perpetrated by the left (or just lefty liars).

I challenge the lefties out there to come up with a comparable list of lies/frauds perpetrated by the right! I conjecture there is no comparable list!

So for the record I would believe Newsbusters way before I would trust Factcheck, Politifact or Snopes (which do seem to be liberal.)

Tina

Terry,

I don’t want to make this a political discussion, as I am not interested in Democrats vs. Republicans. I’m European and our political landscape is quite different. I just want to rebut one point you made, which is very personal to me.

I love nature and I love people. Being a biologist, I have observed that people who do not have a connection to nature tend to be more stressed out. For me taking a walk in the forest, hiking in the mountains, sitting by the water, and simply observing nature does wonders. I know I would get sick if I could not do it.

Maybe people being out of touch with nature and not having a natural way to calm down and relax, is one thing that causes so much despair and distress in our society. So I am interested in nature because I can clearly see how much the well being of myself and many other people depends on nature. Besides, humans are an integral part of nature in the first place.

Now when you say that Global Warming is a lie, it makes me very concerned and I wonder what you mean by that. The thing is, climate change is really happening and it most likely will have catastrophic consequences for all of us.

To me, this is not a political issue, but a human issue. We are all suffering from the consequences of climate change, regardless of nationality, race, religion, or political orientation. The fact is, we are already seeing more and more extreme weather conditions like heavy storms, droughts, flooding, more wildfires etc.

You cannot deny that people are suffering from extreme weather events. You just have to realize that 1: the increased frequency of these events is a consequence of climate change and that 2: climate change is man made. The independent scientific evidence to support both these points is overwhelming.

In other words, take what you call Global Warming off of your list. It is neither a liberal issue, nor is it a lie.

Gene

you say global warming , I think it is a way to control food grow to be able to control good by the Elite who are trying to control everything even us humans , look at weather look at chemtrail being sprayed all over the world what not so then look up who is just one Corporation doing the spraying weathermodificationInc. also look up the 5 of more by now HAARP google it , It’s crazy and it’s a fact I even had a Chemtrail Budget from the whitehouse.gov site but they took it off and when they did if was removed from my favorites bookmarks, Gore came out with this and has made Billions on it , look it up , and being a biologist why not look into the presevatives in the vaccines and tell us what you think about that nano mercury !

Jim Keith

Tina,
while I understand your heartfelt concern regarding Global Warming [now conveniently changed to the more encompassing Climate Change] debate…I do not see the overwhelming evidence that it is man made and that we can do much, if anything, about it if it is, indeed, occurring. You might want to read anything by your fellow European, Bjorn Lomborg, in this regard. With the poles of Mars melting [ they do not have SUVs or humans way out there], with the sun activity that has been plotted in the past as well as currently, with the garbage in garbage out of climate modeling, the scare tactics fallen for hook line and sinker from the left of those like Al Gore [ I have fact checked myself his “science” and the high courts in England have ruled his movie a political statement ], not to mention all the Climate-gate undermining of the top “scientists” on the side of those that are skeptical of what the Global Warming very concerned crowd is trying to foist on the rest of us who are also intelligent human beings and not about to just be fed a load by those wanting to abscond with our taxes…well, it really has me wondering if you are not left leaning and your insights as to which sites to use being a little biased. I agree with an earlier comment that Factcheck.org is highly suspect. I do appreciate the civil tone you have taken and agree with the fact that nature needs be conserved for a more peaceful and brighter world…but not one I want the radical environmentalists to control as they tend to be irrational and wear blinders when it comes to facts. thanks.

Tina

Jim,

Per your definition I may appear more left-wing than right-wing regarding this particular topic. In truth, however, there isn’t a black or white political opinion. Depending on the topic, anyone can be left, right, middle, or completely unconventional and that’s definitely true for me. I call this an open-minded world view.

Increased solar activity is not responsible for warming on Mars. It can also not be held responsible for the rapid climate change we have been observing on Earth over the past couple of decades.

The court in the UK also recognized that “the film was substantially founded upon scientific research and fact.”

What we do to the planet is a moral issue. Not only do we contribute to the extinction of species, more importantly, we threaten the well being of our own race: ourselves and our children. I recommend you watch this short video – the most terrifying video you will ever see.

oldestgenxer

Snopes is a great site for urban legends and the like, however–
It seems that there is no TRULY reliable fact-checking site for politics. Despite all the “Facts,” most of it is subjective and subject to interpretation. Also, much of it is based on “what if?”; in other words, if this or that policy is put into place, what will happen? Regardless of expert forecasting, there is no way to accurately measure, because this a complex world we live in, and you can’t steer from the back seat.
That being said, I like Newsbusters, because they call out the liberal media on their bias, and people who don’t believe there is bias either aren’t paying attention, or agree with the bias. The media has always been biased, going back hundreds of years. It is human nature. Only since the 60s did they try to convince us that they were fair and honest–