Reaching new audiences with Facebook

Full Fact is the UK’s independent fact checking charity. They check the claims made by politicians, the media, pressure groups, and other voices in public debate, and push for corrections where necessary. Founded in 2010, Full Fact works to improve transparency in public debate, and to equip the public with the best information possible to form their opinions.

Despite operating with a team of just ten people, Full Fact researches and writes hundreds of ‘factchecks’ every year. With limited resources, the team has little time to spend on raising their profile. With so many digital and social communications channels available it is a challenge keeping on top of them all.

So when Will Moy, Director of Full Fact, spotted a call out from Media Trust offering charities the opportunity to spend the day with Facebook, tapping into the collective skills and talents of their employees, he knew it was an opportunity too good to miss.

Full Fact was one of 12 charities selected by Media Trust, from more than 85 that applied, to work with Facebook as part of their Global Causes Day – a day when Facebook employees down tools to give their time to support the causes they care about.

In advance of the event Media Trust worked with the team at Full Fact and the other charities selected to help them refine their communications challenge and develop the brief that they would present to Facebook staff.

In advance of the event Media Trust worked with the team at Full Fact and the other charities selected to help them refine their communications challenge and develop the brief that they would present to Facebook staff.

Facebook for a day

Full Fact’s brief was for help to better understand their audience. They wanted to use Facebook to increase public understanding of the issues that people care about, promote their own brand, and drive up video views.

On the day, the charities were invited to Facebook’s London offices and paired up with a team of Facebook employees for an afternoon of creative brainstorming sessions, during which they explored the communications challenges they had identified.

Amy Hawkins, EA to the Director at Full Fact said: “Throughout the EU referendum campaign we heard a consistent message; all voters wanted was ‘the facts’.

“The team at Facebook were so generous with their knowledge. Together we came up with a strategy and a plan for reaching one million people during the run up to the election. This even included a donation of free ad credits.”

The Media Trust's Charity Challenge day helped us take the plunge and use Facebook as a communications channel to reach beyond people who already knew Full Fact, and present relevant facts to a new audience in a new format.

Amy Hawkins, EA to the Director, Full Fact

Arming audiences with the facts

Four months on, Phoebe Arnold, Senior Communications Officer shares the impact of their campaign: “In the end we almost doubled our target, reaching 1.9 million people through videos alone. We are over the moon. As a result of our campaign the people we reached were able to go to the polls armed with more facts, confident in their decisions.

“We would love to participate in something like that again. We’re about to start planning how to significantly grow our reach with one eye on the 2020 election. Channels such as Facebook, along with video content, will definitely form a major part in our plans.

We can’t thank Media Trust enough for arranging the Charity Challenge Day and our Facebook team for their invaluable insight and support. We couldn’t have dreamed of achieving this level of success without them.

Phoebe Arnold, Senior Communications Officer, Full Fact

Snap election success

And it doesn’t end there. Since meeting Facebook staff at the Media Trust’s Charity Challenge Day last year, Full Fact have continued to work with Facebook and strengthen the relationship between the organisations.

Facebook hosted a hackathon that Full Fact organised with open source search specialists Flax to support its automated fact checking work. Full Fact also participated in one of Facebook’s recent journalism hackathons.

“As part of their international programme for tackling false news, we were the UK partner for Facebook’s Top 10 Tips for tackling false news”, Phoebe Arnold adds. “These were served to people on Facebook and appeared as full page adverts in national newspapers.

Further opportunities were to follow. “Facebook and Google funded Full Fact and First Draft to run the UK election watch project”, Phoebe explains, “where we brought together verification specialists with fact checking for the first time for the snap election.

Facebook also hosted one of Full Fact’s election Facebook live Q&A sessions, where the charity assembled a group of experts covering topics including health, the economy, immigration and Brexit to answer people’s questions about the election.

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