RMIT FactLab is committed to fighting the viral spread of misinformation and disinformation that can harm people and undermine democratic processes. We aim to improve the community’s understanding of false information through research and by equipping people with the skills to assess the accuracy of information for themselves.
FactLab’s team includes experienced journalists and researchers who are trained in traditional and digital fact-checking methods. Our work undergoes a rigorous process, with fact check articles scrutinised, cross-checked and challenged before publication.
We do not seek to influence voters or push an agenda. We do not speculate on the motives of those who might get it wrong, and we are not interested in “gotcha” journalism. We simply follow the facts, no matter where they lead.
FactLab’s fact-checking team monitors the news media as well as social media platforms such as Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and TikTok to identify potentially problematic content that is suitable for fact-checking or analysis. We also consider submissions from the public. When deciding what to fact check we are guided by the following questions:
Can the content that is being presented as fact be verified with trusted sources of information?
Is the content spreading far and fast?
Is the topic relevant to a broad audience?
What is the potential community harm if the content is left unchecked?
We prioritise content that has the potential to harm people’s health, safety and financial well-being, as well as content that undermines democratic processes, such as inaccurate information about voting in elections and referendums.
We do not hyperlink to an offending post and we take care not to amplify misinformation that has reached very few people.
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.
Our research involves checking information against publicly available data and consulting experts. Each fact check is given a verdict and reviewed by a senior journalist who scrutinizes all sources to make sure the article is consistent with the data and the verdict is justified.
We assess social media posts that are publicly available. We do not contact individuals who post content, we simply rate their posts as they stand.
RMIT FactLab is one of many fact-checking organisations globally who work with digital platforms to help slow the spread of misinformation that circulates in the form of text, photos and videos.
Since March 2022 RMIT FactLab has worked in partnership with Meta as a third-party fact-checker assessing potential misinformation on Facebook and Instagram.
Under the partnership, RMIT FactLab independently identifies potential misinformation and disinformation on Facebook and Instagram. We review the content, check the facts and rate its accuracy. You can read more about the ratings here.
Once our research is complete we write fact check articles which are published here. Meta’s technology helps to downrank or ‘grey-out’ social media posts that RMIT FactLab identifies as false. This means problematic content features less prominently in people’s feeds, thereby limiting its spread. Facebook and Instagram users who share, or seek to share, content that has been debunked by FactLab will be alerted to our fact check article so they can read it.
RMIT FactLab does not remove any posts from Meta’s platforms. Meta removes posts from its platforms if the content breaches Meta’s community standards.
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 our fact check articles before they are published on the RMIT FactLab site.
All appeals against ratings are handled by RMIT FactLab. We aim to publish any corrections or clarifications promptly.
Meta's website provides comprehensive information about the third-party fact-checking program including how ratings are applied and enforced, and how to resolve disputes.
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.
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.