AFP Factuel

Organization: AFP fact checking
Applicant: Sophie Nicholson
Assessor: Vincent Coquaz
Edits made by the organization after this assessment

IFCN Staff wrote:

From the applicant: 

AFP made changes after the assessment in the following links:

- https://factuel.afp.com/b-ba-du-fact-checking

- https://factuel.afp.com/propos

- https://factuel.afp.com/contact


From the assessor: 

AFP made edits to their methodology page, by explaining that they will indeed use those methods and to their Contact and “A propos” pages, about what they can be contacted for and stating precisely how they will choose their reports. The agency is therefore entirely compliant with the IFCN code of principles.



Conclusion and recommendations
on 09-Jan-2018 (11 months ago)

Vincent Coquaz wrote:

AFP is compliant with almost every single principle. The only “partial compliance” concerns the indicated methodology which seems general and non-specific to their work.

on 09-Jan-2018 (11 months ago)

Vincent Coquaz recommended Accept with edits


Section 1: Organization

Criterion 1a
Proof of registration
Evidence required: Please provide evidence that the signatory is a legally-registered organization set up exclusively for the purpose of fact-checking or the distinct fact-checking project of a recognized media house or research institution.

AFP fact checking
09-Jan-2018 (11 months ago)

AFP (https://www.afp.com/en) is creating a fact-checking blog to build on our work with the Crosscheck project (https://crosscheck.firstdraftnews.com/france-en/). AFP was a key partner of Crosscheck – our journalists had final editorial control of everything published to the site, and we actively sought to investigate and report stories and claims found online or sent in by members of the public. We plan to use that experience to shortly set up a blog dedicated to fact checking, building on our own experience as an international news agency

Vincent Coquaz Assessor
09-Jan-2018 (11 months ago)

AFP has a distinct team and section for fact-checking which is a blog called “Factuel”. AFP is a legally registered press agency which has a unique status (“organisme autonome”) under French law: https://www.legifrance.gouv.fr/affichTexte.do?cidTexte=JORFTEXT000000315388


done_all 1a marked as Fully compliant by Vincent Coquaz.

Criterion 1b
Archive
Evidence required: Insert a link to the archive of fact checks published in the previous three months. If you do not collect all fact checks in one place, please explain how the fact-checking is conducted by your organization.

Vincent Coquaz Assessor
09-Jan-2018 (11 months ago)

AFP has published up to 1 fact-check a day during the peak of the French presidential campaign on the dedicated platform Crosscheck (https://crosscheck.firstdraftnews.com/) in April and May 2017. It has published 3 fact-checks for its first month (as of november 23rd 2017) :


done_all 1b marked as Fully compliant by Vincent Coquaz.

Section 2: Nonpartisanship and Fairness

Criterion 2a
Body of work sample
Evidence required: Please share links to ten fact checks that better represent the scope and consistency of your fact-checking. Provide a short explanation of how your organization strives to maintain coherent standards across fact checks.

AFP fact checking
09-Jan-2018 (11 months ago)

Here is a small selection of articles that we worked on closely with Crosscheck

https://crosscheck.firstdraftnews.com/checked-french/france-person-allowed-carry-isis-flag-public/

https://crosscheck.firstdraftnews.com/checked-french/french-government-prevent-overseas-polling-stations-displaying-marine-le-pens-posters/

https://crosscheck.firstdraftnews.com/checked-french/hollande-travel-vote-private-jet/

https://crosscheck.firstdraftnews.com/checked-french/poll-published-twitter-french-far-right-party-treasurer-reliable/

https://crosscheck.firstdraftnews.com/checked-french/does-this-video-show-a-foreigner-hitting-two-employees-from-a-hospital-in-france/

Fact checking is an integral part of our work as an international news agency and coherent standards are first ensured by the observance of AFP’s own stringent Code of Editorial Standards and AFP charter.

AFP will now dedicate specific human resources to a fact-checking blog, under the authority of the global editor-in-chief and global news director

Vincent Coquaz Assessor
09-Jan-2018 (11 months ago)

AFP originally provided 5 links to prove its nonpartisanship and fairness. Those factchecks and the others that can be found on Crosscheck cover a variety of subjects, all regarding the French presidential campaign, that was the most prominent political event in France during the first half of 2017. All claims are assessed the same way, with a question as a title, and a short and factual answer to it.

https://crosscheck.firstdraftnews.com/checked-french/france-person-allowed-carry-isis-flag-public/

https://crosscheck.firstdraftnews.com/checked-french/french-government-prevent-overseas-polling-stations-displaying-marine-le-pens-posters/

https://crosscheck.firstdraftnews.com/checked-french/hollande-travel-vote-private-jet/

https://crosscheck.firstdraftnews.com/checked-french/poll-published-twitter-french-far-right-party-treasurer-reliable/

https://crosscheck.firstdraftnews.com/checked-french/does-this-video-show-a-foreigner-hitting-two-employees-from-a-hospital-in-france/

Since then the dedicated blog published 3 more fact-checks covering two politicians (from two different political parties) dubious comments and a wrong (but viral) rumor on Facebook.


done_all 2a marked as Fully compliant by Vincent Coquaz.

Criterion 2b
Nonpartisanship policy
Evidence required: Please share evidence of your policy preventing staff from direct involvement in political parties and advocacy organizations. Please also indicate the policy your organization has as a whole regarding advocacy and supporting political candidates.

AFP fact checking
09-Jan-2018 (11 months ago)

Excerpt from AFP’s Code of editorial standards : “AFP understands that its staff members will engage in such external activities as community affairs, politics, support for social or other causes, independent writing including books and online projects. While the Agency respects staff members’ freedom to do so, there must be a clear separation between what is done in a personal capacity and in a professional capacity. It is reasonable to identify ourselves as working for AFP, but the Agency’s name should not be used for promotion or in campaigning, and the Agency should be informed. We must do nothing that might cast doubt on our ability to provide unbiased coverage or that impinges on the Agency’s reputation for impartiality. Nothing in this is intended to restrict AFP journalists from engaging in these activities; the aim is to ensure that outside interests do not come into conflict with AFP's interests or reputation.”

Vincent Coquaz Assessor
09-Jan-2018 (11 months ago)

AFP did not endorse any candidate and does not take policy positions. AFP’s Code of editorial standards states that all staff activities outside the agency must remain strictly separated from their work: “AFP understands that its staff members will engage in such external activities as community affairs, politics, support for social or other causes, independent writing including books and online projects. While the Agency respects staff members’ freedom to do so, there must be a clear separation between what is done in a personal capacity and in a professional capacity. It is reasonable to identify ourselves as working for AFP, but the Agency’s name should not be used for promotion or in campaigning, and the Agency should be informed. We must do nothing that might cast doubt on our ability to provide unbiased coverage or that impinges on the Agency’s reputation for impartiality. Nothing in this is intended to restrict AFP journalists from engaging in these activities; the aim is to ensure that outside interests do not come into conflict with AFP's interests or reputation.


done_all 2b marked as Fully compliant by Vincent Coquaz.

Section 3: Transparency of Sources

Criterion 3a
Sources Policy
Please share a brief and public explanation (500 words max) of how sources are provided in enough detail that readers could replicate the fact check. If you have a public policy on how you find and use sources for your fact-checking, it should be shared here.

AFP fact checking
09-Jan-2018 (11 months ago)

Sources will be provided so that readers can follow the fact-checking process from A-Z. This will include posting tweets, links, pictures, screen grabs of reports, and any other relevant elements. We will identify sources in full, including a link to the source

Vincent Coquaz Assessor
09-Jan-2018 (11 months ago)

In their application, AFP explains that “Sources will be provided so that readers can follow the fact-checking process from A-Z. This will include posting tweets, links, pictures, screen grabs of reports, and any other relevant elements. We will identify sources in full, including a link to the source.

According to my assessment, AFP fact-checks on Crosscheck and the ones published on the blog Factuel indeed give everything the readers need (links, pictures etc.) so that they can replicate the fact-check.


done_all 3a marked as Fully compliant by Vincent Coquaz.

Section 4: Transparency of Funding & Organization

Criterion 4a
Funding Sources
Evidence required: Please link to the section where you publicly list your sources of funding (including, if they exist, any rules around which types of funding you do or don't accept), or a statement on ownership if you are the branch of an established media organization or research institution.

AFP fact checking
09-Jan-2018 (11 months ago)

AFP’s fact checking is part of the newsroom activity of AFP. The company itself has a unique status under a French law (https://www.legifrance.gouv.fr/affichTexte.do?cidTexte=JORFTEXT000000315388). AFP resources are both commercial (around two thirds) and from a French government subsidy to support impartial, public interest journalism in France and abroad. 

Vincent Coquaz Assessor
09-Jan-2018 (11 months ago)

In its application, AFP states that “AFP resources are both commercial (around two thirds) and from a French government subsidy to support impartial, public interest journalism in France and abroad.” These details about funding can be found in press releases on AFP’s website (but there is no indication that it will be explained directly on the dedicated blog).


done_all 4a marked as Fully compliant by Vincent Coquaz.

Criterion 4b
Staff
Evidence required: Please link to the section detailing all authors and key actors behind your fact-checking project with their biographies. You can also list the name and bios of the members of the editorial board, pool of experts, advisory board, etc. if your organization has those.

AFP fact checking
09-Jan-2018 (11 months ago)

The list of people involved AFP’s fact checking project is incomplete as we are in the process of naming a journalist dedicated to fact checking on a daily basis. 

These are the key actors in the initiative: 

  • Michèle Léridon, Global news director
  • Phil Chetwynd, Global editor-in-chief
  • Grégoire Lemarchand, Deputy global editor-in-chief, head of Social Media
  • Sophie Nicholson, Journalist, Social Media
  • Christophe Schmidt, Deputy global news director
Vincent Coquaz Assessor
09-Jan-2018 (11 months ago)

The Factuel blog has a dedicated page with a biography of Guillaume DAUDIN, who will be in charge of the blog.

https://factuel.afp.com/qui-sommes-nous


done_all 4b marked as Fully compliant by Vincent Coquaz.

Criterion 4c
Contact
Evidence required: Please link to the section where readers can get in touch with the organization.

AFP fact checking
09-Jan-2018 (11 months ago)
Vincent Coquaz Assessor
09-Jan-2018 (11 months ago)

The Factuel blog has a dedicated contact page.

https://factuel.afp.com/contact


done_all 4c marked as Fully compliant by Vincent Coquaz.

Section 5: Transparency of Methodology

Criterion 5a
Detailed Methodology
Evidence required: Please link to a section or article detailing the steps you follow for your fact-checking work.

AFP fact checking
09-Jan-2018 (11 months ago)

Methodology We aim to transparently show the steps we take throughout the debunking process. Starting out with a specific question, we will seek to investigate and report dubious stories and claims that may or may not end up on our newswires. Our editors will start by trying to contact the person behind a claim, as well as checking with our own archives and journalists. We will also seek non-partisan, publicly available information in our investigations, and link to it online. We will seek specialist advice from identifiable sources where necessary. A second journalist will review and assess each report before it is published online.

Vincent Coquaz Assessor
09-Jan-2018 (11 months ago)

The Factuel blog has a dedicated page which indicates basic fact-checking methods. They do not indicate however if those methods will indeed be the ones they will use.

https://factuel.afp.com/b-ba-du-fact-checking


done 5a marked as Partially compliant by Vincent Coquaz.

Criterion 5b
Claim submissions
Evidence required: Please link to the page or process through which readers can submit claims to fact-check. If you do not allow this, please briefly explain why.

AFP fact checking
09-Jan-2018 (11 months ago)

We will include a contact form on the fact-checking blog

Vincent Coquaz Assessor
09-Jan-2018 (11 months ago)

The Factuel blog has a dedicated contact page but doesn’t indicate what readers can legitimately expect will be fact-checked. https://factuel.afp.com/contact


done 5b marked as Partially compliant by Vincent Coquaz.

Section 6: Open & Honest Corrections Policy

Criterion 6a
Corrections policy
Evidence required: Please link to the page with your policy to address corrections. If it is not public, please share your organization's handbook.

AFP fact checking
09-Jan-2018 (11 months ago)

Excerpt from AFP’s Code of Editorial Standards (see above) : “AFP must correct errors quickly and transparently. The Agency does not set a time limit on corrections - even if days or weeks have passed, factual errors must be corrected and if necessary, the story killed and removed from the database.”

Vincent Coquaz Assessor
09-Jan-2018 (11 months ago)

AFP’s editorial standards and best practices states that the agency “must correct errors quickly and transparently. The Agency does not set a time limit on corrections - even if days or weeks have passed, factual errors must be corrected and if necessary, the story killed and removed from the database. When in doubt, the journalist should contact the chief editor and legal department for advice.” 


done_all 6a marked as Fully compliant by Vincent Coquaz.

Criterion 6b
Examples of corrections
Evidence required: Please provide two examples of a correction made, or correction requests handled, in the past year.

AFP fact checking
09-Jan-2018 (11 months ago) Updated: 11 months ago

Before we publish fact checks on our dedicated blog, we can give examples of corrections on our newswire:

Example 1 :

CORRECTED: Philippine bank executive arrested for fraud

/ Manila (Philippines)

- 24 July 2017 10:07

- AFP

- LEAD

CORRECTION: In Philippines-banking-Metrobank-fraud, lead moved on July 21, please read an internal error sted computer virus in para 18. Here is a corrected repetition:

Philippines banking Metrobank fraud

24 July 2017

#BOC75 : Arrest, shares fall as Philippine bank hit by fraud

A senior executive has been arrested for defrauding the Philippines' second-largest bank in a scandal that sent the institution's shares tumbling Friday, officials said.

Last month, a glitch described as an "internal system error" forced the Bank of the Philippine Islands to shut down online access to its services and cash machines for two consecutive days.

Example 2:

S. Korea missile exercise after N. Korea nuke test: Yonhap

/ Seoul (South Korea)

- 04 September 2017 04:36

- AFP

- LEAD

CORRECTS day in intro to XX Monday XX sted of Sunday as sent

NKorea SKorea US nuclear missile

South Korea launched a ballistic missile exercise early Monday in response to Pyongyang's provocative detonation of what it claimed was a miniaturised hydrogen bomb, state news agency Yonhap reported.

Vincent Coquaz Assessor
09-Jan-2018 (11 months ago)

AFP also provided several examples of corrections made in the past year (in articles that were not related to fact-checking, but there is no reason to think that the process will be different in this regard once the blog is online).

https://www.afp.com/sites/default/files/paragraphrich/201701/22_june_2016_afp_ethic.pdf


done_all 6b marked as Fully compliant by Vincent Coquaz.