‘The fight against misinformation involves both human social actors and digital technologies, as well as a diverse set of institutions. Digital developments both enable and require critical evaluation of sources and information. This chapter assesses and analyzes the sociotechnical infrastructures available to and potentially used in fact-checking, in the form of digital technologies associated with fact-checking. The chapter presents findings from an international and systematic assessment of digital technologies associated with fact-checking. For this assessment, we collected data from primary and secondary sources between fall 2020 and spring 2022. This assessment is guided by a sociotechnical framework that enables analysis of the interrelationships between humans and technology. It employs a deductive categorization of the three main fact-checking stages of practice. We also then inductively created subcategories of technologies for these three stages. In this chapter, we give a detailed review of each of these categories and subcategories, including descriptions of specific technologies. The chapter offers four main takeaways. First, there is a multitude of technologies associated with fact-checking, many offering affordances that cannot be done by humans alone. Second, most technologies are connected to the identification stage, and are largely owned and controlled by platform and tech companies. Third, the verification stage encompasses a wealth of technological tools by third-party companies that typically require human fact-checkers to manually work with the technology in their fact-checking processes. Fourth, distribution takes different forms and shapes, both analogue and digital, and being proprietary as well as non-proprietary to the fact-checkers. Based on the findings in this chapter, we call for future research around fact-checking technologies and practices, furthering and informed by a sociotechnical lens.’
Recommended citation: Westlund, Oscar, Larsen, R., L. Graves, L. Kavtaradze. (2022) “Technologies and fact-checking: a sociotechnical mapping and assessment”. Chapter in Disinformation Studies: Perspectives in an emerging research field. LabCom Books.