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7 Fact-Check Tools for Copy Editors (And Why You Need Them Now More Than Ever)

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Fact-checking is important. Here’s how to do it right so your business always comes across as professional and knowledgeable. (Photo: PeopleImages)

Fact-checking has always been a part of an editor’s job, but sometimes it takes a backseat to prioritizing grammar, spelling, or tone edits.

This is especially true when there’s no set rule on who’s in charge of fact-checking. Some companies assume it’s the writer’s job, while others assume it’s the editor’s job—and many fail to think about it at all.

If you are a copy editor or working with copy editors, you should always perform a final review of all written material to weed out any factual errors.

If you don’t, you risk publishing information that makes your business look unprofessional. Or, worse, you contribute to the spread of misinformation.

But how do you ensure your fact-checking process runs smoothly?

Today, we’ll be discussing the importance of fact-checking and giving you seven easy fact-check tools copy editors can use to ensure no errors remain in the final version of a document.

Why Fact-Checking Matters

In today’s world, misinformation is notoriously rampant—a bit of an oxymoron, considering credible information is more accessible now than ever before.

But alongside that genuine information are hundreds of opinions, decontextualized factoids, and plain lies that are all too often mistaken for fact.

Much of this misinformation is even presented as fact. Just think how many outright inaccurate headlines and misleading quotes you’ve seen while surfing the internet.

So if you’re not super careful about checking sources (real sources, not just the first website you looked at that published a fact, quote, or statistic), you may end up unknowingly contributing to the spread of misinformation.

Some of the reasons fact-checking matters include:

  • Preventing misinformation from being published or spread online
  • Ensuring your business or brand comes across as professional and credible
  • Maintaining accuracy for your own internal knowledge and consistency

It’s also worth mentioning that as content generated by artificial intelligence (AI) solutions like ChatGPT becomes more prevalent, AI fact-checking services are critical.

What Information You Need to Fact-Check

A copy editor is the last line of defense against publishing wrong statistics, claims, and information, so it’s important that they have a clear idea of what to look for.

Common items that need to be fact-checked in marketing or internal copy include:

  • Dates: Did an event actually happen at the time the copy states?
  • Names and titles: Are the spelling and capitalization of a name accurate? Is the proper title attributed to the right person?
  • Prices and quantities: Does the copy quote the verified, finalized price and quantity of your products or services?
  • Numbers, percentages, and statistics: Are the numbers in your copy the same as the numbers in the original source? Is the original source verifiable to begin with?
  • Quotes and attributions to sources: Did you say Abraham Lincoln said something that Steve Jobs actually said? Or, worse, did you say Abraham Lincoln said something that a random Facebook user made up 10 years ago?
  • Statements that appear to be based on science or research: Is there a real scientific source to this information, or is it postulation loosely based on an unverified study?
  • Statements that appear to be biased: Does the copy twist words to appeal to a certain agenda? Or is it presenting information in an objective, unbiased manner?
  • Videos, photos, and media: Is the photo you’re using truthful, or has it been edited? Is your video of an Obama speech actually an expertly crafted meme or “deepfake”?

Fact-checking can get especially tricky with statements that occupy a gray area. If one study says bananas have potassium while another says the potassium isn’t easily absorbable by humans, can you say, “Bananas are a good source of potassium”?

This is where working with an experienced copy editor comes in handy. The team at Super Copy Editors is well-versed in fact-checking marketing and business writing and can easily identify any information that needs to be verified. Learn more now.

7 Useful Fact-Checking Tools

Regardless of whom you decide to work with to do your copy editing, it pays to equip them with the tools they need to fact-check well.

Here are seven of the top fact-check tools copy editors can use to ensure nothing slips through the cracks.

1. Google

As arguably the most powerful search engine in existence, it’s no surprise that Google is one of the top fact-check tools out there.

When you’re dealing with basic, noncontroversial information, a quick Google search is the best way to get a straight answer. Or, at the very least, it’s the best way to start your research journey.

2. Google Fact Check Tools

When regular Googling doesn’t cut it, it may be time to bring out the big guns. Fortunately, Google has an easy way to check more nuanced or complicated information.

Google Fact Check Tools is a part of the Google Toolbox that allows you to search for information with the intention of fact-checking. This fact-check tool helps filter out things like advertisements and presents you with claims related to your search.

These claims, which may take the form of a quote from a website or news source, come with an original source, a rating on how correct the claim is, and feedback on what is wrong (or right) about the claim.

3. TinEye and Google Reverse Image Search

When you’re dealing with images, trying to trace a source using text can be a frustrating, time-intensive process.

That’s why image search tools like TinEye and Google Reverse Image Search exist.

TinEye and Google Reverse Image Search are reverse image search tools that allow you to upload an image to find out where it came from and how it’s been used. This can help you determine if you’re dealing with an authentic image versus an inauthentic edit.

4. Snopes.com

Online fact-checking is also made easier with websites like Snopes.com, which has been around since 1994 as one of the first fact-checking resources on the internet.

Snopes.com specializes in debunking everything from urban legends and internet scams to viral rumors and misinformation. This fact-check tool should be your go-to resource for debunking or confirming almost anything you find online—especially when it’s a common rumor or myth.

Snopes can also help fact-check content that’s factually correct but may be misleading in another way. For example, Snopes explains that even though a banana technically contains chemicals, that doesn’t mean it’s unhealthy or dangerous.

5. Hoaxy

If you’re looking into something related to the spread of misinformation or fake news, Hoaxy is another fact-check tool to try.

Hoaxy is a fact-checking resource that allows you to measure how hoaxes are spreading digitally. With this tool, you can track specific rumors and see which sites are spreading them and which sites are fact-checking those rumors.

This can be a great way to fact-check content that may be challenging to verify using other tools or to fact-check claims related to the spread of fake news and misinformation online.

6. Factcheck.org

Factcheck.org specializes in claims related to politics and current events.

This website is especially helpful when fact-checking political content or claims that are making headlines. With factcheck.org, you can quickly determine if a claim being spread online is true, false, or misleading.

You can also access supplementary information that explains why a topic is being debated or who began the spread of misinformation about it.

7. TwXplorer

TwXplorer is a fact-checking tool that helps you verify the sources and information in tweets.

With TwXplorer, you essentially get a more detailed way to search Twitter to find quotes, news links, and claims, and investigate hotly debated topics.

This can help you get context on a current conversation and access details about who’s saying what. TwXplorer is especially useful when talking about celebrities, trending topics, and breaking news.

Don’t Want to Use Fact-Check Tools Yourself? Super Copy Editors Can Do It for You.

If you’re too busy to get into the weeds of fact-checking, it may be time to consider bringing in an expert team of editors.

At Super Copy Editors, we’ve had years of experience helping agencies, marketing teams, and educational organizations verify their claims and tighten their copy so it comes across as clean, accurate, and professional.

Let’s talk: Get your personalized, no-obligation quote today from Super Copy Editors.

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Dave Baker

View posts by Dave Baker
Hi, I’m Dave Baker, founder and copy chief of Super Copy Editors. I have more than 25 years of professional proofreading and copy editing experience, including work for The Nation magazine, The New York Times, and The Times-Picayune of New Orleans, where I shared two staff Pulitzer Prizes. At Super Copy Editors, we’re passionate about helping agencies, marketing teams, and education companies refine and polish their text to give them confidence and ensure success. Learn more here.

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