RMIT fact check

RMIT FactLab Dumped by Meta over Credlin Censorship

27 September 2023


The controversy around the Uluru Statement length has led to a rare moment of ‘fact-checking’ clarity, with Meta parting ways with RMIT FactLab.

Sky News host Peta Credlin has been at the forefront of claims that the Uluru Statement is more than one page.

In one recorded report on 3 August, Credlin gave evidence that the Uluru Statement (labelled ‘Document 14’ in a FOI release) was 26 pages in length:


Meta Censors Credlin

On 10 August, Facebook censored the post and labelled it “False information. Checked by independent fact-checkers”. At the time of writing, the censorious branding remains:

The fact-check was undertaken by RMIT FactLab, which gave the following explanation:

“False. The Uluru Statement from the Heart is a one-page document, as confirmed by its authors. Papers released under FOI contain the statement, but also include 25 pages of background information, including minutes of meetings held with Indigenous communities, which are not part of the Uluru Statement from the Heart.”

The fact check makes three claims to bolster its case. The problem is that all three claims are flatly contradicted by the official Final Report of the Referendum Council released in 2017.

Claim 1: Document 14 is a record of the “minutes of meetings held with Indigenous communities”. This is not true. The official report confirms that the extra pages from Document 14 are not ‘minutes of meetings’. They are “a synthesis of the records of meetings”.

In other words, they are the official write-up and conclusion from the regional dialogues. Documents 1–13 (which consist of 86 pages) are meeting minutes from the regional dialogues. But not Document 14.

The ‘Our Story’ section – which runs from pages 2–7 of Document 14 – has been on the Uluru Statement website since at least 2020. No one seriously thinks that the Uluru Statement website has published ‘meeting minutes’ on its official page.

Claim 2: The rest of the pages are not part of the Uluru Statement. This is also contradicted by the Referendum Council report, which specifically labels the extra pages from Document 14 as “from the Uluru Statement from the Heart”.

Claim 3: The authors of the Uluru Statement have confirmed it’s only one page. The problem is that for years they’ve repeatedly confirmed that it’s much longer than one page. Pat Anderson and Megan Davis – who are authors of the Uluru Statement – were on the Referendum Council which explicitly quotes 17 pages from Document 14 and labels it the “Uluru Statement from the Heart”:

Meta Attempt to Distance Itself from RMIT FactLab

Not surprisingly, Meta’s ban on Credlin’s post received multiple complaints. Pressed with public ridicule, it didn’t take long for Meta to begin distancing itself from RMIT FactLab. In a statement released on 18 August, Meta wrote:

“This fact check was applied by an independent fact checker and not Meta… Meta doesn’t believe companies like ours should decide what’s true or false, so we partner with local, independent fact-checkers to identify and review potential misinformation.”

In other words, “The fact-checkers we gave ourselves – they gave us the fact check and we ate” (see Genesis 3:12).

Meta’s lame attempt to side-step responsibility was called out by ABC’s Paul Barry, who pointed out that it was Meta – not RMIT FactLab – who slapped the ban on the post.

Barry went further and took issue with the Facebook censorship, disagreeing with RMIT FactLab’s verdict. He stated that “given that there may be some point in what Credlin is saying, we think a disputed label would be more appropriate”.

This is remarkable since Barry is breaking the ABC’s imposed rule that the organisation must repeat and parrot this line: “The Uluru Statement is one page.” In this instance, his courage to disagree with the politically correct narrative is most commendable.

Meta Dumps RMIT FactLab

Given the completely false ‘fact-checking’ on a matter of national and constitutional importance, it didn’t take long for the Meta cracks to open wide and swallow its “independent fact-checker”. Appearing to interfere in a referendum is not a public image Meta could tolerate.


On 29 August, The Australian reported that Meta had dumped RMIT FactLab “amid complaints of voice referendum bias”.

But amazingly, Meta revealed further reasons for its decision. ‘Fact check’ organisations are required to have current certification by the International Fact-Checking Network (IFCN). RMIT did not have that certification.

Meta issued this statement via its regional director of policy, Mia Garlick:

“We have recently become aware that one of our Australian fact-checking partners – RMIT – did not have current IFCN accreditation and that there have been complaints made to the IFCN about possible bias or unfairness in some of the fact checks being applied by RMIT with ­respect to content relating to the upcoming referendum on the voice to parliament. In light of these allegations and the upcoming vote on the voice referendum, we are suspending RMIT as a partner in our fact checking program, effective immediately.”

As of the time of writing, the RMIT website claims that:

“Our fact checking and verification of social media content relies on rigorous research that draws on multiple sources. All our work is produced in accordance with the requirements of our IFCN accreditation.”

However, as confirmed by Meta, RMIT does not have current “IFCN accreditation”. It’s a shame the fact-checkers can’t do “rigorous research” on something as basic as having accreditation for their own existence.

Yet the scenario is far more serious than Meta is reporting.

A lengthy 6,500-word report by Sky News host Jack Houghton has uncovered multiple cases of corruption in the Meta ‘fact-check’ industry.

Remember the RMIT FactLab claim above that the Credlin video was checked by “independent” fact-checkers? That too is false. RMIT FactLab director Russell Skelton has been openly campaigning for the Voice on social media, while his team ‘fact-checked’ that exact content. That is strictly prohibited under the organisation’s own rules.

Political censorship runs deep in this country. Let’s pray the federal government’s ‘misinformation bill’ – itself a miserable example of misinformation – never sees the light of day and entrenches corruption into law.


Photo by Yan Krukau.

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  1. C. Paul Barreira 27 September 2023 at 10:44 am - Reply

    Can we have done with mis- and disinformation. Neither term helps. The issue is censorship. If people wish to review or criticise another’s remarks fine. But let’s have done with the humbug. As with the crisis of replicability in science the issue is a moral one: of truthfulness.

  2. Countess Antonia Maria Violetta Scrivanich 28 September 2023 at 12:21 pm - Reply

    Marxist attempt at Censorship. Wake up Australians ! You are losing your freedoms ! I am proud to be the precedent in1984 , the first victory in Australia under Freedom of Information (against the Australian Govt. —- reported inaccurately and incompletely in 1984- Australian Law Reports ) . A young Tony Besanko made his career with my case. He is the judge who recently dismissed the Ben Roberts-Smith Defamation Case against journalists. Don’t forget Julian Assange, Richard Boyle and David McBride who are all facing Life Imprisonment for exposing abuses. I think we are on the road to totalitarianism?

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