Sustainability in Fact-checking


Sustainability is an important aspect of the fact-checking process for a number of reasons. In this context, sustainability refers to the ability of a fact-checking process to be maintained over time without compromising its integrity or effectiveness and also ensuring environmentally sustainable practices.


One way to ensure that fact-checking standards and guidelines are sustainable is by establishing clear and transparent criteria for evaluating the accuracy of information. This includes identifying and defining what constitutes as credible sources, evaluating the context and evidence provided, and clearly defining the process for reaching conclusions. By having clear and consistent standards and guidelines, fact-checkers can ensure that their evaluations are accurate and fair, and the public can have confidence in the fact-checking process. Additionally, regularly reviewing and updating standards and guidelines as necessary will help keep them current and relevant, further enhancing their sustainability.

Funding & Resources

Another important aspect of sustainability in fact-checking is ensuring that the necessary funding and resources are available. This includes not only financial resources but also technological, personnel and data resources. Fact-checking organizations need to be able to acquire and maintain the necessary tools and technologies to perform their fact-checking activities, as well as pay and train their fact-checkers. Additionally, they should be able to access and analyze large amounts of data and information. The lack of funding and resources can compromise the accuracy and efficiency of the fact-checking process and threaten the long-term viability of the organization.

Diversity and Inclusivity

Diversity and inclusivity also play a key role in maintaining a sustainable fact-checking process. By having a diverse team of fact-checkers with different backgrounds and perspectives, organizations can reduce the risk of bias and ensure that their fact-checking process is inclusive and representative of different perspectives. Additionally, training and development programs should be developed to provide fact-checkers with the skills and knowledge they need to fact-check effectively, which is crucial for the sustainability of the fact-checking process.

Technology Adaption

Finally, adapting and evolving with the digital landscape is crucial for maintaining the sustainability of the fact-checking process. This requires regular monitoring of the latest technologies, platforms, and information spread methodologies, to understand how misinformation and disinformation are spreading, such that fact-checking organizations can adapt their approach and methods accordingly. Additionally, it also means staying aware of changes to legislation, regulations, and policies that may affect the fact-checking process.

Environmental Sustainability

While the majority of the discussion on sustainability in fact-checking has been focused on organizational and process-related sustainability, there is also an environmental dimension to consider. Environmental sustainability in fact-checking refers to the practice of considering the environmental impact of fact-checking activities and taking steps to minimize that impact.

One example of how environmental sustainability can be incorporated into the fact-checking process is by reducing the use of paper and other physical resources. This can be achieved by moving fact-checking activities to digital platforms and reducing the need to print out documents and other materials. This can not only save resources but also reduces carbon emissions associated with the production and transportation of paper.

Another example is reducing energy consumption. This can be done by using energy-efficient equipment, reducing the need for travel, and using cloud-based platforms for fact-checking activities. This can help organizations lower their energy costs and reduce their carbon footprint.

Additionally, by prioritizing digital platforms, fact-checking organizations can also help reduce the environmental impact of the infrastructure required to support the digital landscape. Sustainable decentralized blockchain technology can also play a role in this as they do not require large server farms and other resources-intensive infrastructure.

Fact-checking organizations can also consider their environmental impact by reducing travel and promoting remote work, this way also promoting work-life balance. This can help reduce the carbon emissions associated with transportation, and also improve the health and well-being of employees.

In summary, sustainability in the fact-checking process is crucial to ensure the integrity and effectiveness of the process over time. Sustainability encompasses different dimensions including organizational and process-related sustainability as well as environmental sustainability. Organizations can ensure the sustainability of their fact-checking process by maintaining clear and transparent standards and guidelines, ensuring adequate funding and resources, promoting diversity and inclusivity, adapting to the ever-evolving digital landscape, and considering environmental impact of their activities.

By incorporating sustainability into their fact-checking process, organizations can help combat the spread of misinformation and disinformation, promote the protection of the environment, and set an example for others to follow.

Photo Credit: Egor Vikhrev on Unsplash

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