Why We Fact-Check Every Post On Upworthy
Hi, I’m Upworthy’s Copy Chief. I come from the journalism world, with years of experience on the copy desks of major newspapers. It’s my job to make sure you can trust everything we post to the site.
Some of the things we curate at Upworthy seem almost too crazy or shocking or good to be true — citizens in Colorado taking on a huge energy company and actually winning? Humans killing more than 11,000 sharks per hour? A 17-year-old recording racial profiling with his iPod? And we all know that the web is littered with bogus stories, unchecked “facts,” and half-truths that are spun and taken out of context.
That’s why, while we count on our curators to get their material right, we have an independent group of fact-checkers holding them accountable. My team scrutinizes everything that goes up on the site before we post it — a rarity at a time when even print magazines are laying off fact-checkers. All facts asserted in our content have to be backed up by reliable sources such as major trustworthy media outlets, government agencies and reports, scientific experts, and authoritative nongovernmental organizations.
We’re curators, not journalists — we don’t do investigative reporting, we don’t report breaking news. But we absolutely believe in editorial ethics.
Of course, we’re human, which means we screw up sometimes. When we make mistakes, we don’t hide from them — we correct them, and then we tell you on social media that we screwed up so you have all the facts. I’m happy to say that this is exceedingly rare: We’ve had only one major correction and a handful of smaller ones — out of thousands of posts. We feel pretty good about that track record.
The bottom line here: We take the trust our community places in us very seriously. Credibility is perhaps the most important trait of great curation. So don’t worry about spreading bad info. If it says “Upworthy,” you can share it with confidence, knowing that it checks out.
— Matt Savener, Upworthy Copy Chief