For weeks I have been looking for/trying to remember that wonderful summation of what facts really are, and I just found it:
A piece of information presented as having objective reality.
“We speak of facts as if they were objective reality, but they are really our or someone’s perceptions. In fact, Fact means ‘made by man’ and is a word whose root is Latin, factum, the past participle of facere, to do or make. A fact merely marks the point where we have agreed to let the investigation cease.”
Reading the News, Robert Karl Manoff & Michael Schudson, editors, Pantheon Books, 1987, p.62.
The book itself is described here