Fact-checking: epistemologies, public perceptions and automated futures

This project deploys social scientific and philosophical methods, concepts and expertise in order to generate novel knowledge about fact-checking epistemologies.
Project status

Fact-checking, as a distinct journalistic form, has risen to prominence in the 21st century as a response to concerns about a lack of respect for the truth in political debate and the rapid spread of misinformation across social media platforms. This project will leverage expertise and insights from the social sciences and philosophy to examine fact-checking epistemologies – that is, simply put, how fact-checkers produce, justify and articulate their knowledge claims. In the context of political polarisation, challenges to the authority of expertise, concerns about dishonesty in political debate, and the spread of misinformation online, the epistemologies of fact-checkers and how they are perceived by public audiences are topics of great importance.

This research will generate novel and impactful knowledge about how fact-checkers produce and justify fact-checks, how automation could change this, and how UK and US public audiences and stakeholders view different epistemic approaches to fact-checking.

Principal Investigator: Dr Laurence Williams, University of Sussex

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