BBC News

Reality Check's most popular stories of 2016

Related Topics
  • Reality Check
image copyrightThinkstock

It has been a momentous year for the BBC Reality Check team, covering first the EU referendum and then the US election.

Our most read story of the year came on 24 June, the day Britain learned the result of the Brexit vote.

'Do I need a new passport?' and other Brexit questions was viewed more than two million times, with another 1.5 million in the following weeks.

On a normal day that might have made it the most read story on the site - on 24 June, a day that saw remarkable traffic to the BBC News website, it didn't even make it into the top 10.

There was no verdict on the story - most of the answers to audience questions were that the UK's departure from the EU would not happen for some time, so most documents and rules would stay the same while negotiations continued.

The piece even had more views than the Reality Check live page where all the EU referendum checks could be found, which came in second.

Since the team's remit was expanded to include non-Brexit stories, Reality Check's home has been moved to

Next most popular was a piece in the week after the referendum asking whether Leave campaigners had changed their tune on things like how much of the UK's contribution to the EU budget could be spent on the NHS and how much immigration could be reduced following Brexit.

Despite being shown the poster on the Andrew Marr Show, Iain Duncan Smith denied that Vote Leave had promised to spend an extra £350m a week on the NHS, saying instead that it would receive "the lion's share" of money that would no longer be spent on the EU.

At number four was an article asking what the Brexit vote had done to the economy, following claims that the damage done was already considerably more than the UK's annual contribution to the EU budget.

In fifth place was the first of three pieces on the US election, this one written on the day of the result looked at what the exit poll could tell us about who voted for Donald Trump.

Among the slightly odd findings of the exit poll was that 10% of people who supported the idea of a wall along the Mexican border nonetheless voted for Mrs Clinton, while 5% of people who thought the next president should continue the policies of Barack Obama voted for Mr Trump.

The Reality Check on the first US presidential debate came next.

It included such issues as whether Mr Trump had supported the war in Iraq and if the murder rate in New York was rising or falling.

Back to domestic issues, number seven looked at whether the UK was still the world's fifth largest economy following the Brexit vote.

The suggestion was that the falling pound meant that it had fallen behind France in the rankings.

But actually, the World Bank does the calculation based on average exchange rates over the period, so the UK was still in front.

Next up was another piece published on 24 June. The BBC's Europe correspondent Chris Morris answered a question that was clearly at the front of the mind of one member of the audience: how could Brexit affect the Premier League?

It turns out that if freedom of movement is abandoned, players from EU countries will probably need to apply for work permits, which will be difficult if they have not yet broken into their national sides.

At number nine was the question of whether the High Court ruling on triggering Article 50 could scupper Brexit.

The Reality Check verdict was that obtaining Parliamentary approval could delay or complicate the process, but it was hard to imagine that the result of the referendum could be ignored.

We will find out what the Supreme Court thinks of the question of Parliamentary approval in January.

It returned again to Mr Trump's view of the war in Iraq as well as whether Mrs Clinton was secretary of state when President Obama drew a "red line in the sand" over the use of chemical weapons by President Bashar al-Assad's forces in Syria.

So that's the top 10 for 2016. Could 2017 possibly be as interesting?

Related Topics

More on this story

  • Reality Check: 'Do I need a new passport?' and other Brexit questions

  • Reality Check: How could Brexit affect the Premier League?