Organization: Check Your Fact
Applicant: Bradley Sylvester
Assessor: Michael Wagner
Edits made by the organization after this assessment
IFCN Staff wrote:
This signatory was approved on Feb 2 2018 but placed under review on Nov 30 2018 following a Board decision concerning the violation of criterion 4a. Check Your Fact relies on fact-checkers employed by The Daily Caller News Foundation as well as The Daily Caller, Inc. Only the latter was mentioned in the application. A new assessment will be required to evaluate compliance.
From the assessor:
Check Your Fact has made several edits to their website in response to the IFCN review. I now deem it compliant or partially compliant with all criteria and recommend the Board verify the organization.
The site now lists a methodology for selecting and checking claims of fact, has staff biographies, discloses requirements for nonpartisanship for its reporters and lists a corrections policy.
Check Your Fact does not clearly list its funders. The biography page notes that some people not listed on the page might write fact-checks from time to time.
Overall, Check Your Fact generally appears to be in compliance with IFCN standards. While its current statement of ownership respects the requirements for “partial compliance” in the assessor guidelines under criterion 4b – and the rules that allowed other privately owned media fact-checkers to be approved under this code — Check Your Fact could increase trust in its platform by more clearly listing its funders and budget as well as adding biographical information for contributors who are not regular fact-checkers as the need arises. Additionally, it would be helpful if fact-checks specifically noted the “primary claim” of the fact(s) being checked in a story as the criteria for determining whether a claim is true or false rests on what Check Your Fact calls the “primary” claim and not a totality of truth. This way, the audience can be confident about what it is exactly that the fact-check finds is true, false or unsubstantiated.
Conclusion and recommendations
Michael Wagner wrote:
CheckYourFact is a quality fact-checking organization that does not yet fully comply with the principles articulated by the IFCN. CheckYourFact partially complies with the principles articulated by IFCN. The most important areas of non/partial compliance are related to the description of the fact-checking process for the purposes of replication. In particular, the definitions of “true” and “false” and how the verdicts are reached are not precisely clear. On the one hand, CheckYourFact journalists generally clearly identify what claim is being checked, link to the sources they used to determine their verdicts and select newsworthy claims to check that do not appear to be biased to any particular political, economic or social persuasion. On the other hand, the lack of clarity about the site’s definitions for “true” and “false” make reliable replication impossible, even if the spirit of replications would likely mirror what CheckYourFact produces. Other areas of partial or noncompliance with the IFCN principles are noted here as well. The stand-alone site does not clearly and transparently list the site’s funders. The site does not provide biographical information for the journalists, there is a lack of a complete archive of fact checks on the stand alone site (checkyourfact.com) as compared to the linked site on the Daily Caller’s website (dailycaller.com/check-your-fact).
In my view, it would not be difficult for CheckYourFact to address these issues.