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Publishers hope fact-checking can become a revenue stream. Right now, it’s mostly Big Tech who is buying.

Washington Post: “…The fact-checking operations at the German Press Agency (dpa) and Agence France-Presse (AFP) count some of the world’s biggest tech companies as clients — er, partners — but said that for their departments to become contributing revenue streams for their news agencies, they’d have to find more people and organizations willing to compensate them for the work. “We have to strengthen our business model, meaning becoming less dependent on a few big clients,” said AFP‘s deputy head of Europe Yacine Le Forestier. “That means convincing the public at large at some stage that fact checking news is worth paying [for] — which, at the moment, is not exactly the case.” Stefan Voss, verification officer at dpa, agreed. He also cautioned publishers entering the fact-checking-as-revenue lane who not to rely on. “Convincing the public that fact-checking the news [is worth paying for] is a long term goal,” Voss said. “Everybody who’s new in the business of fact-checking, if you’re a news agency or whatever, don’t expect other media outlets to pay for it. You have to find other partners, other players who are interested in fact-checks, and the meaning of fact-checks within a democracy.” Even when you do find those interested partners, the revenue is more of a drip than a flood. The UK’s Full Fact made $171,800 in six months in 2019; France’s Libération made $245,000 in 2018. That range, of a couple hundred thousand dollars, seems to hold in the U.S., where it can be generously estimated that Facebook spent around $2 million on fact-checking in 2019, split among a few different organizations. This is not get-rich money. Still, given the onslaught of misinformation across the globe and their own expanding portfolios, the panelists were hopeful that fact-checking could become a revenue stream for news publishers in the future. AFP Fact Check, for one, has grown from a single fact-checker in Paris in 2017 to more than 120 fact-checkers working in 24 languages across in 80 countries by 2021…”

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