Controversial and divisive events in recent years, such as the 2020 presidential election and the Covid-19 pandemic, have driven home the importance of fact-checking websites. While no single entity can or should serve as the sole arbiter of the truth, fact-checking websites offer an essential service by delivering well-researched information, ideally in an unbiased manner, to clarify what is verifiably known about a specific topic. But which fact checkers come closest to this goal?

High-quality fact-checking involves many qualities that one might expect: in-depth research, the incorporation of diverse perspectives, transparent sourcing of information, and good judgment about what is known and what is still up in the air. Many of these same qualities are captured by The Factual’s news-rating algorithm, which uses measures of author expertise, publication quality, cited evidence, and writing tone to assess the credibility of news articles.

Key Takeaways

  • Compared to general news sites, fact-checking sites deliver a higher standard of fact-based, minimally biased reporting. Past research using The Factual’s news-rating algorithm shows that the average Factual Grade for news articles on the internet was about 62%. By comparison, articles from fact-checking sites in this article scored far higher, at an average of nearly 77%.

  • Even with higher standards for reporting and sourcing of information, fact-checking sites still exhibit bias. Bias is an inherent part of reporting, and even sites that strive to provide unbiased information can err in the way a subject is reported or which stories they choose to cover. Some sites on our list have an outright bias, while others come as close as we’ve seen to offering minimally biased, maximally researched information.

  • Here’s our top 10 fact-checking websites. Each source is examined in greater detail below.

1. FactCheck.org
Average Factual Grade: 87.4%
Political Bias: Center

FactCheck.org is a project of the Annenberg Public Policy Center and receives funding from the Annenberg Foundation, a philanthropic organization “dedicated to addressing the critical issues of our time through innovation, community, compassion, and communication.” Out of any of the hundreds of sites that The Factual routinely analyzes, FactCheck.org consistently produces the highest-rated articles according to The Factual’s algorithm. This means that articles are exceptionally well researched, incorporate extensive evidence and sourcing, and use minimally biased language. The site is a member of the International Fact-Checking Network (IFCN) run by the Poynter Institute for Media Studies and is an official fact-checking partner of Meta.

Additionally, according to AllSides and MBFC, FactCheck.org is regarded as largely unbiased and centrist. On rare occasions, the site has been accused of a slight left-leaning bias, reflected in story selection, particularly during the Trump administration, but MBFC says the site “can be trusted to provide accurate fact checks with minimal bias.”

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2. Reuters Fact Check
Average Factual Grade: 81.5%
Political Bias: Center

Reuters is a globally recognized news organization and wire service trusted across the political spectrum for providing reliable, unbiased news, courtesy of its network of 2,500+ journalists. It’s no surprise, then, that Reuters fact-checking service also delivers high-quality, well-researched articles. The fact-checking portion of Reuter’s website scores in the top 2% of all sites measured by The Factual. Reuter’s Fact Check is part of the IFCN and a fact-checking partner of Meta.

In-depth reviews by AllSides and MBFC have identified instances of left-leaning bias, particularly in story selection, but ultimately classified the site as having a Center bias. AllSides, for example, notes Reuters had a “Washington, DC/New York City elite bias in its coverage” but “did not display common types of media bias such as sensationalism, unsubstantiated claims, slant, or omission of source.”


3. Washington Post Fact Checker
Average Factual Grade: 79.9%
Political Bias: Moderate Left

The Washington Post Fact Checker is a section of the Washington Post’s website that focuses specifically on fact checking major events in mainstream U.S. politics. Its articles are written by Glenn Kessler, a long-time reporter for the newspaper who has been running the Fact Checker since 2011. The Fact Checker scores significantly higher than the Washington Post generally, which has an average Factual Grade of around 64% according to our research, and high enough to place it in the top 2% of all sources measured by The Factual. Overall, articles from the Washington Post Fact Checker incorporate extensive evidence to back up their claims. Kessler is a member of the IFCN.

Overall, the Washington Post is regarded by media bias organizations as having a Moderate Left bias, a factor that must be accounted for when considering articles from Fact Checker. Our analysis revealed a largely balanced article selection in the Fact Checker section, with articles looking at both sides of the political spectrum, such as “How the right embraced Russian disinformation about ‘U.S. bioweapons labs’ in Ukraine” and “Biden’s false claim that ‘congressional Republicans’ want to raise taxes.” Additionally, our analysis noted that some articles exhibited unnecessary bias in language in headlines, such as “Kevin McCarthy’s master class in spin and obfuscation.”


4. Associated Press Fact Check
Average Factual Grade: 77.7%
Political Bias: Center / Moderate Left

Much like Reuters, the Associated Press (AP) represents an expansive network of journalists and newsroom resources that provide trusted reporting with minimal bias; worldwide, AP reports are published in over 1,300 media outlets. The AP Fact Check takes a slightly different form than others, publishing weekly round-ups of misinformation (called “Not Real News”) and occasional in-depth looks at specific issues (called “Fact Focus”). Overall, AP Fact Check scores considerably higher than AP’s overall content (63.9%) and high enough to place it in the top 3% of all sources measured by The Factual. The Associated Press is a member of the IFCN and a fact-checking partner of Meta.

While AP Fact Check is ultimately classified as having a Center bias, AllSides and MBFC struggle with classifying the AP generally, as it falls quite closely to having a left-leaning bias at times. AllSides even goes as far as classifying AP Fact Check separately from AP overall, assigning it a “Lean Left” bias, noting occasional “subjective, leftward analysis in hard news reports” and omission of “sources in its political writing.” Our review found that most fact-checking stories were focused on genuine misinformation, often outside of a domestic political context, but we did notice titles that incorporated biased language, such as “FACT FOCUS: Gaping holes in the claim of 2K ballot ‘mules’.”


5. CheckYourFact
Average Factual Grade: 77.5%
Political Bias: Moderate Right

CheckYourFact is a for-profit subsidiary of the Daily Caller that provides fact checking on news articles as well as viral stories spreading through social media and the internet. The site claims: “Our mission is a non-partisan one. We're loyal to neither people nor parties -- only the truth.” Our data suggests it adheres to this mission; the average Factual Grade from CheckYourFact is sufficient to place the site in the top 5% of all sites analyzed by The Factual. CheckYourFact is part of the IFCN and a fact-checking partner of Meta.

Despite the Daily Caller’s reputation as a publication with a strong right bias, CheckYourFact is regarded as being far more centrist. AllSides classifies the site as “Center,” while MBFC classifies the site as “Right-Center.” MBFC notes that this classification is due to a tendency to pick stories that more often reflect positively on right-leaning perspectives, though they acknowledge that such fact checks are accurate and thoroughly sourced. Our own analysis noted that despite being owned by the Daily Caller, a site started by conservative media personality Tucker Carlson, CheckYourFact recently had a story about Carlson that acknowledged his controversial role in supporting “great replacement theory,” a conspiracy theory that has been tied to white supremacism, particularly related to recent acts of terror.  


6. Lead Stories
Average Factual Grade: 75.6% 
Political Bias: Center

Lead Stories is a fact-checking website that uses big data to track stories that are gaining traction on social media and the internet and respond quickly with fact-checking services. The site uses proprietary technology, Trendolizer, to track which stories are gaining traction in real time on social media. The site abides by the mantra “Just Because It's Trending Doesn't Mean It's True,” and employs a large team of writers and fact-checkers to debunk or verify online content. Based on this data, Lead Stories scores in the top 10% of all sites that we analyzed. Lead Stories is part of IFCN and a fact-checking partner of Meta as well as ByteDance, the Chinese company that owns TikTok.

Both AllSides and MBFC rate Lead Stories as having a “Center” bias. The Lead Stories website includes a “Red Feed” and a “Blue Feed” which showcase fact checks of right-leaning and left-leaning perspectives and figures.

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7. USA Today Fact Check
Average Factual Grade: 73.4%
Political Bias: Moderate Left

As the newspaper with the largest readership in the U.S., it’s no surprise that USA Today has a fact-checking department. The fact-checking team at USA Today focuses on “politics, health, science and other topics in the news, significant national issues or those that could be confusing to people” and strives to maintain a geographic and ideological balance in its fact checks. The fact-checking portion of the USA Today website would theoretically score in the top 10% of all sites measured by The Factual. USA Today Fact Check is a fact-checking partner of Meta and a member of the IFCN.

USA Today is generally recognized as having a slight left-leaning bias, though bias varies across its over 300 digital properties and 5,000 journalists. AllSides, for example, has historically struggled to classify USA Today, varying between “Lean Left” and “Center.” MBFC assigns a “Left-Center” rating due to “editorial positions that slightly favor the left.” Our review of content revealed no clear bias in coverage for the Fact Check section and a very broad range of topics covered.


8. Politifact
Average Factual Grade: 69.5%
Political Bias: Moderate Left

Politifact is a fact-checking service originally started by the Tampa Bay Times which now operates as part of the Poynter Institute on Media Studies. Though the site receives a lower score than others on this list, it still scores in the top 25% of all news sites analyzed by The Factual, suggesting that the site tends to deliver solid, well-researched articles. Politifact is part of the IFCN and is a fact-checking partner of Meta.

While acknowledged for high-quality sourcing of information, Politifact is regarded as having a moderate left-leaning bias due to its story selection and a tendency of “rating Republicans more harshly on numerous occasions.” MBFC, for example, notes that Politifact does not produce op-eds but does “attempt to rationalize statements rather than stating directly if the statement was said and if it is true.” AllSides notes that Politifact will at times produce articles that are interpretations of political statements, not fact checks. It’s worth noting that the site does regularly fact check Republican and Democratic politicians, and our analysis in May 2022 found numerous examples of fact checks taking issue with statements by the Biden administration. 


9. The Dispatch Fact Check
Average Factual Grade: 68.8%
Political Bias: Moderate Right

The Dispatch is a relatively new publication and entrant on the fact-checking scene. The online magazine espouses “fact-based reporting and commentary on politics, policy and culture—informed by conservative principles.” The magazine promises to report “without concern for whether the facts prove inconvenient to any party or politician,” and to “describe the opposing points of view with honesty and charity.” Articles from The Dispatch Fact Check have an average score that would place them in the top 20% of sources rated by The Factual. The Dispatch is part of the IFCN and a fact-checking partner of Meta.

AllSides and MBFC classify The Dispatch as having a Moderate Right bias. This is based on story selection and occasionally loaded language that favors conservative causes, as well as the site’s own admission of its editorial stance. MBFC’s review of the Dispatch Fact Check revealed that fact checks were accurate and covered both Republican and Democratic perspectives. Our own review corroborates these findings, though a small proportion of fact check articles were too short to be analyzed by The Factual’s algorithm; this does not mean that the articles were faulty, just that our algorithm did not receive enough information to make a determination. 


10. Snopes
Average Factual Grade: 68.7%
Political Bias: Moderate Left

Snopes was one of the first online fact-checking sites, founded all the way back in 1994. The site focuses on debunking false stories on the internet and across popular culture. Snopes has the lowest average scores on this list but maintains fact-checking practices such as frequent citing of external sources, unbiased language, and routine checks of both conservative and liberal politicians and perspectives. These scores put Snopes in the top 25% of all news sites monitored by The Factual. Snopes was previously a member of both IFCN and Meta’s fact-checking program, but it left both in 2019, citing internal bandwidth and issues with Facebook’s approach to fact checking. 

AllSides and MBFC find some reasons to question Snopes, but they ultimately give it credit for largely well-researched and accurate fact checking. Both sites acknowledge that Snopes exhibits some liberal bias, including in story selection and in biased language. AllSides takes further issue with Snopes for relying too heavily on media articles as the basis for substantiating its fact checks (rather than primary research).

Conclusion

While the scores are indicative of each site’s overall quality, it’s just as critical to use caution and solid media literacy practices when using these sites as when reading the news. Additional context provided below, such as media bias classifications and past controversies, are essential for unlocking the value of fact-checking websites. As with news websites more broadly, reading a variety of sources on any topic can be the best route to ensuring a well-rounded, accurate understanding of any issue.

Published by Phillip Meylan

Phillip is a writer, researcher, and editor. At The Factual, he leads research efforts that utilize the company's ever growing data on the media ecosystem. He is also a contributor to FP Analytics, Foreign Policy's research and advisory division, and an adjunct fellow with the Center for Strategic and International Studies.