Cannes Lions

Check News

WUNDERMAN THOMPSON, Paris / LIBERATION / 2019

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This submission is the story of how a small tactical idea for a newspaper during the presidential election has eventually turned into a whole new brand.

The original brief from Libération, one of the biggest newspapers in France, was to find a creative solution to two problems at once :

First, finding an efficient response to the growing problem of fake news. It was really hard to sort facts from fiction when coming to political matters. Some Russian websites were highly implicated into commenting the 2017 French election.

The second issue was related to the economical crisis the French press is suffering since more than a decade : as the Internet and social networks became more and more prevalent, people were considering news as a free resource which could be found anywhere.

Check News was our direct solution to both problems: sorting fake news in a simple and easy way, and make the people themselves direct the sorting : a new kind of search engine, not powered by algorithms but by humans to sort facts from fiction before the 2017 presidential election in France, Libération replaced the quantity and speed of search engines, by the quality and rigor of journalists to answer people's questions.

CheckNews was probably the slowest search engine ever created but also the most reliable and French people took ownership of the platform very quickly. In fact, results were so encouraging that our human search engine which was supposed to last 3 days, kept on living.

Hashtag #CheckNews became a trending term on French social media to signal lies. The word checknews has been used every day on social networks with +18 Billion of potential impressions. It has replaced the word “fact-checking” in France and has been adopted as a popular figure of speech on the Internet.

CheckNews is now used by thousands of people whenever they want to check information. It is broadcasted twice a week as a TV program on the first news channel in France: BFM TV, five times a week in a radio show on RMC INFO, a radio station with 4M listeners every month. Inside Libération itself, CheckNews had a great impact: According to Libération, 7 journalists have been hired to work on CheckNews.

It now represents 30% of the traffic on liberation’s website every month with 10 million pages viewed.

The service has been mentioned as a reference by international media such as New York Times, The Guardian, many others and almost every media in France.

It has also been ceased to disprove several conspiracy suspections and political scandals.

It has now turned into an international project. First, we tested CheckNews in Tunisia during local elections. We launched a European version of Check News called FactCheckEU.info. 19 European media outlets from 13 countries have joined the project so far to fact-check the May 2019 European elections.

In 2017, Check News was a tactical idea for a French newspaper.

It had now become a business driver, changing the face of journalism.

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