About RMIT FactLab

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RMIT FactLab is a fact-checking, research and training hub based at RMIT University. It is committed to fighting the viral spread of misinformation that can harm people and undermine democratic processes.

RMIT FactLab is a signatory to the International Fact-Checking Network’s code of principles which requires a commitment to fairness, transparency and non-partisanship. We are dedicated to fact-checking content that circulates on social media, improving the community’s understanding of misinformation through research, and equipping people with the skills to assess the accuracy of information for themselves.

Fact-checking

Our researchers fact check specific claims made by public figures, such as politicians and other people of influence. They also assess the veracity of social media content. This work is carried out by RMIT FactLab and RMIT ABC Fact Check — organisations that work alongside each other.

Fact-checking of claims by public figures is carried out by RMIT ABC Fact Check, which was established as a partnership between RMIT University and the Australian Broadcasting Corporation in 2017.

Fact-checking of social media content (sometimes called debunking) is carried out by RMIT FactLab.

RMIT FactLab also works in partnership with Meta as third-party fact-checkers to help slow the spread of misinformation on Facebook and Instagram. And in a special a project, funded by the Judith Neilson Institute for Journalism and Ideas (JNI), we fact check information specifically related to the 2022 federal election.

Our work is published on a variety of platforms. Fact checks of claims by public figures are published by RMIT ABC Fact Check. Our debunks of misinformation on social media can be found under the Debunks tab on this site, and our 2022 federal election-related narratives are published under the Mosaic Project tab. We also publish debunks in our weekly newsletter, CheckMate.

How we work

Fact-Checking claims

When fact-checking claims by public figures, our team monitors the news media as well as social media platforms to identify verifiable statements that relate to topics that matter to people and form part of the national debate. We also consider submissions from the public. Claims are discussed in our daily news conference. We consider whether the claim can be verified and the availability of trusted sources of information.

We do not seek to influence voters or push for a particular outcome. We do not speculate on the motives of those who may get it wrong, and we are not about "gotcha" moments. We look for statements that, if left unchecked, could leave people misinformed. We simply follow the facts no matter where they lead.

Our research involves checking information against publicly available data and consulting experts. Each fact check is given a tailor-made verdict and reviewed by a chief fact-checker who scrutinizes all sources to make sure the article is consistent with the data and the verdict is justified. We publish once the director is satisfied that the fact check has undergone rigorous scrutiny.

Debunking social media content

When debunking social media content, we monitor platforms including Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, TikTok and Reddit. We consider the consequences of leaving potential misinformation unchecked when deciding which piece of content to check.

We do not hyperlink to an offending post and we take care not to amplify misinformation that has reached very few people. We prioritise content that has the potential to harm people’s health and safety as well as content that undermines democratic processes, such as inaccurate information about voting. 

Our researchers use traditional journalistic skills as well as online tools to mine Open Source Intelligence (OSINT). Open Source Intelligence is information drawn from publicly available material, such as data contained in GPS systems or web archives.

From time to time we work with other organisations on special projects. Our engagement with the Judith Neilson Institute for Journalism and Ideas to fact check 2022 election-related misinformation is an example.

Third-party fact-checking

Alongside our daily work of fact-checking claims and debunking social media content, RMIT FactLab works in partnership with Meta as a third-party fact-checker assessing potential misinformation on Facebook and Instagram.

RMIT FactLab is one of many fact-checking organisations worldwide that are part of this program which aims to help slow the spread of misinformation that circulates in the form of text, photos and videos.

Meta’s systems identify potential misinformation which is referred to RMIT FactLab. We also independently identify questionable content. We review the content, check the facts and rate its accuracy. You can read more about the ratings here

Once the research to debunk misinformation is complete we write an article which is published on the FactLab site. Facebook and Instagram users who share or are about to share content that has been debunked by FactLab will be alerted to the article so they can read it. Content rated as false, altered or partly false is featured less prominently in people’s feeds, thereby limiting its spread.

RMIT FactLab retains total independence and control over the third-party fact-checking process. That means Meta has no control over what we choose to fact check, the way we fact check it, what we write, and the rating we apply to the content. Meta does not see the content before it is published on the RMIT FactLab site.

You can read the fact checks produced as part of our third-party fact-checking work, and many more, on our site under the Debunks tab.

What we don’t fact check

  • We do not assess opinions (because you can’t fact check what someone believes).
  • We do not fact check news reports or statements made by journalists (that’s the job of the ABC’s Mediawatch program). 
  • We do not fact check statements that speculate about future events (because no one can fact check the future!). 

Make a submission

If you spot a claim that you believe should be fact checked, or you see social media content that you believe is false or misleading, you can make a submission by clicking the button below. We cannot guarantee a response, but we will certainly consider your submission. The director makes the final decision about which submissions are fact checked.

Our Independence

RMIT FactLab is transparent, open and fully accountable. We provide links to all our sources. We welcome discussion and feedback. As a condition of employment our staff cannot be members of political parties or activist groups. They are required to declare all previous affiliations and conflicts of interest.

RMIT FactLab has strict safeguards in place to ensure neutrality. They are based on the editorial and complaints policies of the Australian Broadcasting Corporation. They include conflict of interest safeguards, feedback processes, and oversight by an independent board. 

Funding

RMIT FactLab is funded by RMIT University, philanthropic donations and independent research grants. Our CoronaCheck newsletter is funded with donations from the International Fact-Checking Network and the Judith Neilson Institute for Journalism and Ideas

RMIT ABC Fact Check is funded by RMIT University and the Australian Broadcasting Corporation.

Both RMIT FactLab and RMIT ABC Fact Check do not accept donations from political parties, advocacy groups and lobby groups.

Our researchers aim to put accurate information in the public domain to help people make informed choices. That’s why our fact checks of public figures and debunks of misinformation are not closeted behind a paywall. 

Our Team

Our fact checkers are highly experienced journalists and researchers. Interns from RMIT University’s journalism course also support our research.

Complaints and Corrections

RMIT FactLab is committed to accuracy, impartiality, and independence. If a mistake is made, the item in question will be corrected quickly and transparently and, if necessary, the verdict revised. Corrections and clarifications will be made prominently. If you believe we have made an error or you wish to make a complaint, please contact us here.

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Acknowledgement of country

RMIT University acknowledges the people of the Woi wurrung and Boon wurrung language groups of the eastern Kulin Nation on whose unceded lands we conduct the business of the University. RMIT University respectfully acknowledges their Ancestors and Elders, past and present. RMIT also acknowledges the Traditional Custodians and their Ancestors of the lands and waters across Australia where we conduct our business - Artwork 'Luwaytini' by Mark Cleaver, Palawa.

aboriginal flag
torres strait flag

Acknowledgement of country

RMIT University acknowledges the people of the Woi wurrung and Boon wurrung language groups of the eastern Kulin Nation on whose unceded lands we conduct the business of the University. RMIT University respectfully acknowledges their Ancestors and Elders, past and present. RMIT also acknowledges the Traditional Custodians and their Ancestors of the lands and waters across Australia where we conduct our business.