The Case for Independent Fact Checking — Our Future May Well Depend On It

Dr Stuart Woolley
6 min readSep 3, 2020

Watching any kind of political event, press release, or news story has become farcical over the last few years. In 2020 it’s become intolerable.

Photo by Jhefferson Santos from Pexels

A Class of Spin

There has always been an element of spin inherent in the political machine, but with the advent of ubiquitous easily accessible social media it’s become far too easy for facts to be either misrepresented or outright ignored during press events.

The US Presidential election of 2020 is a case in point where statements are made by individuals across the political spectrum that really don’t stand up to close examination.

It’s not for me to comment on individual events, as I’m attempting to stay apolitical in this piece, but any internet search regarding press briefings illuminates a litany of blatantly false statements.

And yet, there is no law that prevents elected officials from deliberately misrepresenting facts. It is up to other people to take up the case of litigation against such individuals which is usually either financially or practically impossible. This leaves the individuals in question free to be able to say what they like, when they like.

With such easily accessible social media outlets, as referred to above, such messages are rapidly and widely circulated and often taken as gospel by the consumers.

A Lack of Trust

As habitual users of social media, the majority of the population has come to develop an uneasy reliability upon the facticity of information presented.

Yet, the providers of such networks have no solid legal responsibility to either fact check or remove any articles that they distribute which may be of questionable authenticity or truthfulness.

This prevents us, as a society, with two concerning dilemmas:

  1. Should the providers of social media platforms act as the arbiters of truth for data presented on their platforms?
  2. If an article or press release is deemed to be factually incorrect then what action should be taken by the provider?

The Rot of Commercialism

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Dr Stuart Woolley

Worries about the future. Way too involved with software. Likes coffee, maths, and . Would prefer to be in academia. SpaceX, Twitter, and Overwatch fan.