FactCheck.org

Organization: FactCheck.org
Applicant: Eugene Kiely
Assessor: Julie Homchick Crowe

Background

Factcheck.org operates as part of the Annenberg Public Policy Center out of the University of Pennsylvania. It is a well-trusted source as a fact-checking agency on political claims, particularly at the national-level.

Assessment Conclusion

Overall, factcheck.org operates as a robust and fair fact checking organization. Their evaluations are data-driven and fair and they do the necessary detailed research to share well-supported findings with the public in a transparent and accessible way, making their work compliant with the IFCN.

on 28-Nov-2021 (5 months ago)

Julie Homchick Crowe assesses application as Compliant

A short summary in native publishing language

Overall, factcheck.org meets and exceeds the expectations for compliance with the IFCN code of prinicples.

Section 1: Eligibility to be a signatory

To be eligible to be a signatory, applicants must meet these six criteria

  • 1.1 The applicant is a legally registered organization, or a distinct team or unit within a legally registered organization, and details of this are easily found on its website.
  • 1.2 The team, unit or organization is set up exclusively for the purpose of fact-checking.
  • 1.3 The applicant has published an average of at least one fact check a week over the course of the six months prior to the date of application. For applicants from countries with at least 5 or more verified signatories need to have at least a fact check a week over the twelve months of publishing track. Consult to factchecknet@poynter.org for confirmation.
  • 1.4 On average, at least 75% of the applicant’s fact checks focus on claims related to issues that, in the view of the IFCN, relate to or could have an impact on the welfare or well-being of individuals, the general public or society.
  • 1.5 The applicant’s editorial output is not, in the view of the IFCN, controlled by the state, a political party or politician.
  • 1.6 If the organization receives funding from local or foreign state or political sources, it provides a statement on its site setting out to the satisfaction of the IFCN, how it ensures its funders do not influence the findings of its reports.

Criteria 1.1
Proof you meet criteria
Please explain where on your website you set out information about your organization’s legal status and how this complies with criteria. Attach a link to the relevant page of your website.

FactCheck.org
29-Oct-2021 (6 months ago) Updated: 6 months ago

We are a project of the Annenberg Public Policy Center at the University of Pennsylvania, as indicated on our "Our Mission" page, which is available as a drop-down menu item under "About Us": http://www.factcheck.org/about/our-mission/

It is also explained on our donation page (click on "Additional Information FactCheck Donations Fund"): https://giving.aws.cloud.upenn.edu/fund?fastStart=simpleForm&program=ANS&fund=602014

And on "Our Funding" page: https://www.factcheck.org/our-funding/

We also explain that we are a project of UPenn's APPC on our copyright page: https://www.factcheck.org/copyright-policy/



Julie Homchick Crowe Assessor
27-Nov-2021 (5 months ago) Updated: 5 months ago

Factcheck.org is a distinct unit/project within the University of Pennsylvania's Anneberg Public Policy Center - their legal status is detailed on the provided links.


done_all 1.1 marked as Compliant by Julie Homchick Crowe.

Criteria 1.2
Proof you meet criteria
Please answer the following questions – (see notes in Guidelines for Application on how to answer)

 1. When and why was your fact-checking operation started?
 2. How many people work or volunteer in the organization and what are their roles?
 3. What different activities does your organization carry out?
 4. What are the goals of your fact-checking operation over the coming year?

FactCheck.org
29-Oct-2021 (6 months ago) Updated: 6 months ago

1. 2003. The co-founders are Dr. Kathleen Hall Jamieson, director of the Annenberg Public Policy Center and former dean of the Annenberg School for Communications who researched and wrote extensively on effective fact-checking methods, and Brooks Jackson, a former investigative reporter for the Wall Street Journal and AP who did fact-checking at CNN during the 1992 election, using methods pioneered by Dr. Jamieson. Our goal then -- as it is now -- is to reduce the level of confusion and deception in politics, using the best techniques of journalism and scholarship.

2. Nine full-time staffers, including an NABJ fellow, and one part-time staffer. We also have four undergraduate student fellows who work part-time. Staff: https://www.factcheck.org/our-staff/ Fellows: https://www.factcheck.org/undergraduate-fellows/

The FactCheck.org director makes all final editorial decisions -- often in consultation with the managing editor, who is in charge when director is not available, and the deputy managing editor. All staffers research and write stories, and we all fact check stories written by others. Some staffers have line editing responsibilities -- typically the director, managing editor and assignment editor/project manager of our third-party fact-checking project with Facebook. We require that each story be edited by at least two people, so there are times when other staffers get involved in editing on a second read.

Our undergraduate fellows help us review transcripts and videos, fact-check articles prior to publication and respond to thousands of readers’ emails. They also occasional write such stories as profiles of third-party PACs that raise and spend money seeking to influence elections.

3. Research and publish fact checks, produce and publish videos and train University of Pennsylvania students in fact checking. We also make our staff available to discuss fact-checking at public events held by universities, schools, libraries and other organizations.  

4. Our mission is to reduce the level of deception and confusion in U.S. politics, largely through fact-checking major U.S. political figures on public policy issues of importance and debunking viral deceptions circulating on social media. In addition to fact-check articles, we also answer reader questions through features called Ask FactCheck and Ask SciCheck, publish Q&As and Guides intended to provide factual information on complex public policy issues, and write profiles of major third-party organizations that seek to spend millions of dollars on advertising to influence federal elections. In the coming year, our focus will be on the 2022 midterm elections, COVID-19 and the public policy initiatives being debated in Congress. 

Julie Homchick Crowe Assessor
27-Nov-2021 (5 months ago) Updated: 5 months ago

All required information is stated transparently here and on the provided links. Overall, factcheck.org fulfills its role of being a "consumer advocate" by dispelling misinformation and checking claims on behalf of the public. The assessor's knowledge of this organization's track-record is that it is very reputable and trusted.

The United States remains a deeply divided state in terms of politics and ideology after the 2020 election of Democrat Joe Biden. Much public controversy surrounds the COVID-19 pandemic in terms of public health measures and mandates, but also around the recent infrastructure bill, racial disparity and violence, and environmental legislation. Social media platforms have contributed to a growing interest in conspiracy theories about the pandemic, politics, and other issues.

Factcheck.org's service to the public within this context fulfills their mission of reducing deception and confusion in politics, which ties not only to the current election but also to the political response to the pandemic.

Given how established and well-resourced this organization is, it is well set-up for its purpose.


done_all 1.2 marked as Compliant by Julie Homchick Crowe.

Criteria 1.3
Proof you meet criteria
- The applicant has published an average of at least one fact check a week over the course of the six months prior to the date of application.
- For applicants from countries with at least 5 or more verified signatories need to have at least a fact check a week over the twelve months of publishing track.
- Consult to factchecknet@poynter.org for confirmation.

FactCheck.org
29-Oct-2021 (6 months ago)

We published more than 400 fact-check articles and videos in the last 12 months, from October 2020 to September 2021, or about eight fact checks a week. Attached is a spreadsheet with evidence that we have published at least one a week.

An archive of all of our stories can be found here: https://www.factcheck.org/archives/

Files Attached
description Examples of FactChec... (18 KB)
Julie Homchick Crowe Assessor
27-Nov-2021 (5 months ago) Updated: 5 months ago

Factcheck.org publishes several fact checks most weeks ov er the last 12 months. 


done_all 1.3 marked as Compliant by Julie Homchick Crowe.

Criteria 1.4
Proof you meet criteria
The assessor will assess compliance through a review of the fact checks published over the previous three months. No additional information required.

FactCheck.org
29-Oct-2021 (6 months ago) Updated: 6 months ago

An archive of our stories can be found here: https://www.factcheck.org/archives/

Julie Homchick Crowe Assessor
27-Nov-2021 (5 months ago) Updated: 5 months ago

More than 75% of the applicant's fact checks focus on claims that could impact the welfare of individuals and the public. Each of the fact checks submitted by factcheck.org and the additional 10 that the assessor evaluated meet this standard and a purusal of their archive confirms that their work exclusively eals with issues related to public welfare.


done_all 1.4 marked as Compliant by Julie Homchick Crowe.

Criteria 1.5
Proof you meet criteria
Please explain any commercial, financial and/or institutional relationship your organization has to the state, politicians or political parties in the country or countries you cover. Also explain funding or support received from foreign as well as local state or political actors over the previous financial year.

FactCheck.org
29-Oct-2021 (6 months ago) Updated: 6 months ago

We receive no government funding, foreign or domestic, and we have a prohibition on accepting funds from political parties and politicians.

We publish quarterly and annual financial reports on our website that explain in detail the types of funding that we do and do not accept, as well as names of those who have donated $1,000 or more: https://www.factcheck.org/our-funding/

We do not seek and have never accepted, directly or indirectly, any funds from unions, partisan organizations or advocacy groups. We do not accept funds from corporations with the exception of Facebook, as part of Facebook’s initiative to debunk viral deceptions circulating on the social media site, and Google, which provided funding for our COVID-19 partnership with Univision. We note on our funding page that Facebook and Google have no control over our editorial decisions. We disclose the identity of any individual or organization that makes a donation of $1,000 or more. We also disclose the total amount, average amount and number of individual donations in our quarterly reports. In 2015, Inside Philanthropy praised our disclosure policy for “exemplifying nonprofit transparency.” 

Julie Homchick Crowe Assessor
27-Nov-2021 (5 months ago) Updated: 5 months ago

The applicant does not reciving any funding from commercial, financial or political entities that would influence their editorial content.


done_all 1.5 marked as Compliant by Julie Homchick Crowe.

Criteria 1.6
Proof you meet criteria
If you confirmed the organization receives funding from local or foreign state or political sources, provide a link to where on your website you set out how you ensure the editorial independence of your work.

FactCheck.org
29-Oct-2021 (6 months ago) Updated: 6 months ago

We receive no government funding, foreign or domestic, and we have a prohibition on accepting funds from political parties and politicians.

As mentioned above, we publish quarterly and annual financial reports on our website: https://www.factcheck.org/our-funding/

Julie Homchick Crowe Assessor
27-Nov-2021 (5 months ago) Updated: 5 months ago

N/A (see 1.5)


done_all 1.6 marked as Compliant by Julie Homchick Crowe.

Section 2: A commitment to Non-partisanship and Fairness

To be compliant on nonpartisanship and fairness, applicants must meet these five criteria

  • 2.1 The applicant fact-checks using the same high standards of evidence and judgement for equivalent claims regardless of who made the claim.
  • 2.2 The applicant does not unduly concentrate its fact-checking on any one side, considers the reach and importance of claims it selects to check and publishes a short statement on its website to set out how it selects claims to check.
  • 2.3 The applicant discloses in its fact checks relevant interests of the sources it quotes where the reader might reasonably conclude those interests could influence the accuracy of the evidence provided. It also discloses in its fact checks any commercial or other such relationships it has that a member of the public might reasonably conclude could influence the findings of the fact check.
  • 2.4 The applicant is not as an organization affiliated with nor declares or shows support for any party, any politician or political candidate, nor does it advocate for or against any policy positions on any issues save for transparency and accuracy in public debate.
  • 2.5 The applicant sets out its policy on non-partisanship for staff on its site. Save for the issues of accuracy and transparency, the applicant’s staff do not get involved in advocacy or publicise their views on policy issues the organization might fact check in such a way as might lead a reasonable member of the public to see the organization’s work as biased.

Criteria 2.1
Proof you meet criteria
Please share links to 10 fact checks published over the past year that you believe demonstrate your non-partisanship.
Please briefly explain how the fact checks selected show that (I) you use the same high standards of evidence for equivalent claims, (II) follow the same essential process for every fact check and (III) let the evidence dictate your conclusions.

FactCheck.org
29-Oct-2021 (6 months ago) Updated: 6 months ago

We fact check the statements of major U.S. politicians, answer reader questions, debunk viral deceptions (with a focus on COVID-19 misinformation), and write Q&As and Guides on important public policy and health issues.

The 10 examples below illustrate fact-checks involving political claims made in TV ads, interviews, press conferences, speeches, as well as viral misinformation circulating on social media. I also included an example of explainer pieces that we do to provide information on important public policy issues of the day -- in this case on face masks.

Here are the 10 links that show the scope of our work over the previous 12 months:

https://www.factcheck.org/2021/09/scicheck-ongoing-clinical-trials-will-decide-whether-or-not-ivermectin-is-safe-effective-for-covid-19/

https://www.factcheck.org/2021/08/factchecking-bidens-statements-about-afghanistan/

https://www.factcheck.org/2021/07/a-guide-to-the-cdcs-updated-mask-recommendations/

https://www.factcheck.org/2021/06/scicheck-the-facts-and-gaps-on-the-origin-of-the-coronavirus/

https://www.factcheck.org/2021/05/both-sides-spinning-jobs-report/

https://www.factcheck.org/2021/04/factchecking-bidens-address-to-congress/

https://www.factcheck.org/2021/03/factchecking-bidens-first-press-conference/

https://www.factcheck.org/2021/02/mypillow-ceos-video-rehashes-debunked-election-fraud-claims/

https://www.factcheck.org/2021/01/trumps-falsehood-filled-save-america-rally/

https://www.factcheck.org/2020/12/the-whoppers-of-2020/

https://www.factcheck.org/2020/11/loeffler-warnock-runoff-starts-with-attack-ads/

https://www.factcheck.org/2020/10/nothing-untoward-about-counting-ballots-after-election-day/

When selecting material to write about, we seek to devote an equal amount of time reviewing claims by Republicans and Democrats. We do that by reviewing statements they make about public policy in the same venues - such as debates, news shows, press conferences, major speeches and TV ads. The idea is to treat the candidates and parties in a fair and even-handed way when searching for material to write.

We review transcripts and videos of the president, vice president, cabinet officials, congressional leaders of both parties and other major U.S. political figures. We use CQ Transcriptions, Rev.com, CNN transcripts, MSNBC transcripts, Fox News transcripts, CSPAN, the White House website and SnapStream to identify possible claims in video and transcripts. We also review TV and digital ads from Advertising Analytics, a paid service that provides us TV ads for House, Senate and presidential races.  

Once we find a statement on a public policy issue that we suspect may be inaccurate or misleading, we will engage -- or attempt to engage -- with the person or organization that is being fact checked, so we can have the benefit of their sources and research. (We ask the person making the claim to provide evidence to support it.)

As for our research, we rely on primary sources of information, such as the Bureau of Labor Statistics (employment stats), Bureau of Economic Analysis (economic data), Energy Information Administration (energy data) and Census Bureau (trade and other data). All of our stories include links to the source material used in our fact checks to allow our readers to duplicate our work. When quoting experts, we provide not only their current titles and employer but also any relevant background information, such as their previous work in government or campaigns -- if applicable.

Prior to publications, our stories undergo a rigorous review. They are line edited, copy edited and fact checked for completeness, accuracy and fairness. In addition to benefiting our readers, the links we provide in our stories are used by our staff to fact check our stories prior to publication. As many as four people who had nothing to do with writing or researching the story may review our stories prior to publication.

In short, we follow a process to treat all parties and individuals fairly, follow the facts and let the chips fall where they may. 


Julie Homchick Crowe Assessor
27-Nov-2021 (5 months ago) Updated: 5 months ago

After reading the 10 provided fact-checks and an additional random sample of 10 more, the assessor found that factcheck.org uses a consistent and high standard of evidence regardless of the claim being analyzed. The most frequent topic/source of claims analyzed are from either President Joe Biden or conspiracy-theory based claims related to COVID-19, and both have dominanted news cycles this last year so the frequency of those topics makes sense. Factcheck.org goes to great lengths to unpack the details for readers and let the evidence dictate their conclusions. They demonstrate nonpartisanship not just in the consistency of their work, but also in language like the following from :

"We take no position on whether the Biden administration’s policies are helping or hurting the economy’s recovery — that’s a matter for political debate. But the RNC post is cherry-picking data to suggest that the economy has reversed or slowed an upward trend inherited from the previous administration."

The organization also writes "explainer" pieces that function somewhat differently than other claim-specific fact-checks - these appear to serve as an overview of related topical claims (on something like vaccines). But these longer pieces are only different in terms of their genre, not their standards of evidence.



done_all 2.1 marked as Compliant by Julie Homchick Crowe.

Criteria 2.2
Proof you meet criteria
Please share a link to a place on your website where you explain how you select claims to check, explaining how you ensure you do not unduly concentrate your fact-checking on any one side, and how you consider the reach and importance of the claims you select to check.

FactCheck.org
29-Oct-2021 (6 months ago) Updated: 6 months ago

We have a page on the website that describes "Our Process," which states that "we seek to devote an equal amount of time reviewing claims by Republicans and Democrats" and explain how we accomplish that. It also includes videos explaining our process. Here is the page: https://www.factcheck.org/our-process/

Julie Homchick Crowe Assessor
27-Nov-2021 (5 months ago) Updated: 5 months ago

Factcheck.org's process is clearly explained on the "Our Process" page - and their interest in evaluating political claims gives them the opportunity to evaluate claims from both the right and the left.


done_all 2.2 marked as Compliant by Julie Homchick Crowe.

Criteria 2.3
Proof you meet criteria
The assessor will assess compliance through a review of the fact checks published over the previous year. No additional information required.

FactCheck.org
29-Oct-2021 (6 months ago) Updated: 6 months ago

An archive of all of our stories can be found here: https://www.factcheck.org/archives/https://www.factcheck.org/archives/

Julie Homchick Crowe Assessor
27-Nov-2021 (5 months ago) Updated: 5 months ago

Factcheck.org is thorough in providing details about its sources, describing for readers any relevant positions, credentials, or affiliations. The assessor did not note any instances where the interests of a source were not disclosed.


done_all 2.3 marked as Compliant by Julie Homchick Crowe.

Criteria 2.4
Proof you meet criteria
The assessor will assess compliance through a review of the fact checks published over the previous year. No additional information required.

FactCheck.org
29-Oct-2021 (6 months ago) Updated: 6 months ago

An archive of all of our stories can be found here: https://www.factcheck.org/archives/https://www.factcheck.org/archives/

Julie Homchick Crowe Assessor
27-Nov-2021 (5 months ago) Updated: 5 months ago

On the website and on the social media pages of the organization, there appears to be no indication of political preference. The assessor did not find any instances in the sample where language within the fact checks reveals a bias or political leaning.


done_all 2.4 marked as Compliant by Julie Homchick Crowe.

Criteria 2.5
Proof you meet criteria
Please share a link to a place on your website where you publish a statement setting out your policy on non-partisanship for staff and how it ensures the organization meets this criteria.

FactCheck.org
29-Oct-2021 (6 months ago) Updated: 6 months ago

We have a nonpartisanship policy that clearly states that staffers cannot be involved in any political or advocacy organizations, and they cannot make any contributions to such organizations, among other things. "Our Staff" page on our website includes information about our nonpartisanship policy, which staffers must sign: https://www.factcheck.org/our-staff/#nonpartisanship-policy-for-staff

Julie Homchick Crowe Assessor
27-Nov-2021 (5 months ago) Updated: 5 months ago

The non-partisanship policy is clearly stated for staffers on their site. Additionally, a randomized search for social posts from staffers generated few public accounts (most were private or non-existent). Those that were public shared content directly related to fact checks only.


done_all 2.5 marked as Compliant by Julie Homchick Crowe.

Section 3: A commitment to Standards and Transparency of Sources

To be compliant on sources, applicants must meet these four criteria

  • 3.1 The applicant identifies the source of all significant evidence used in their fact checks, providing relevant links where the source is available online, in such a way that users can replicate their work if they wish. In cases where identifying the source would compromise the source’s personal security, the applicant provides as much detail as compatible with the source’s safety.
  • 3.2 The applicant uses the best available primary, not secondary, sources of evidence wherever suitable primary sources are available. Where suitable primary sources are not available, the applicant explains the use of a secondary source.
  • 3.3 The applicant checks all key elements of claims against more than one named source of evidence save where the one source is the only source relevant on the topic.
  • 3.4 The applicant identifies in its fact checks the relevant interests of the sources it uses where the reader might reasonably conclude those interests could influence the accuracy of the evidence provided.

Criteria 3.1
Proof you meet criteria
The assessor will review the applicant’s use of sources in a randomised sample of its fact checks to assess compliance. No additional evidence is required.

Julie Homchick Crowe Assessor
27-Nov-2021 (5 months ago) Updated: 5 months ago

Factcheck.org is very thorough with providing sources and links for readers. In cases where the applicant has reached out to sources directly, the reader is provided with those details (name, date, etc.) as well.


done_all 3.1 marked as Compliant by Julie Homchick Crowe.

Criteria 3.2
Proof you meet criteria
The assessor will review the applicant’s use of sources in a randomised sample of its fact checks to assess compliance. No additional evidence is required.

Julie Homchick Crowe Assessor
27-Nov-2021 (5 months ago) Updated: 5 months ago

The applicant uses primary sources in most cases; in some cases, experts are brought in a secondary sources to explain a claim (as with many of the fact checks on vaccines and COVID-19).


done_all 3.2 marked as Compliant by Julie Homchick Crowe.

Criteria 3.3
Proof you meet criteria
The assessor will review the applicant’s use of sources in a randomised sample of its fact checks to assess compliance. No additional evidence is required.

Julie Homchick Crowe Assessor
27-Nov-2021 (5 months ago) Updated: 5 months ago

In each of the fact checks, the authors include multiple sources of evidence to establish their conclusion. For example, in one fact check on the VAERS database, the author provides 18 sources for the reader (with full citations): https://www.factcheck.org/2021/11/scicheck-benefits-outweigh-risks-of-pediatric-covid19-vaccine-contrary-to-posts-misusing-vaers-data/

The assessor would like to note, though, that only 4 out of 10 fact checks provided by the applicant included a bibliography with full citation information (the additional 10 that the assessor selected all had bibliographies). A consistent use of citation practices would be beneficial to readers so the assessor recommends this become a regular practice for all fact checks.


done_all 3.3 marked as Compliant by Julie Homchick Crowe.

Criteria 3.4
Proof you meet criteria
The assessor will review the applicant’s use of sources in a randomised sample of its fact checks to assess compliance. No additional evidence is required.

Julie Homchick Crowe Assessor
27-Nov-2021 (5 months ago) Updated: 5 months ago

Sources used were always given relevant credentials, affiliations, etc. The assessor did not note any instances where an apparent interest of a sources would have influenced the accuracy of the information they provided.


done_all 3.4 marked as Compliant by Julie Homchick Crowe.

Section 4: A commitment to Transparency of Funding & Organization

To be compliant on funding and organization, applicants must meet these five criteria

  • 4.1 Applicants that are independent organizations have a page on their website detailing each source of funding accounting for 5% or more of total revenue for its previous financial year. This page also sets out the legal form in which the organization is registered (e.g. as a non-profit, as a company etc).
  • 4.2 Applicants that are the fact-checking section or unit of a media house or other parent organization make a statement on ownership.
  • 4.3 A statement on the applicant’s website sets out the applicant’s organizational structure and makes clear how and by whom editorial control is exercised.
  • 4.4 A page on the applicant’s website details the professional biography of all those who, according to the organizational structure and play a significant part in its editorial output.
  • 4.5 The applicant provides easy means on its website and/or via social media for users to communicate with the editorial team.

Criteria 4.1
Proof you meet criteria
Please confirm whether you are an ‘independent organization’
or ‘the fact-checking section or unit of a media house or other parent organization’ and share proof of this organizational status.

FactCheck.org
29-Oct-2021 (6 months ago) Updated: 6 months ago

We are a fact-checking project of the Annenberg Public Policy Center at the University of Pennsylvania. We inform readers of our status on the "Our Mission" page: https://www.factcheck.org/about/our-mission/

Julie Homchick Crowe Assessor
27-Nov-2021 (5 months ago) Updated: 5 months ago

The relationship with the Annenberg Public Policy Center is clearly stated on the website.


done_all 4.1 marked as Compliant by Julie Homchick Crowe.

Criteria 4.2
Proof you meet criteria
If your organization is an “independent organization”, please share a link to the page on your website where you detail your funding and indicate the legal form in which the organization is registered (e.g. as a non-profit, as a company etc).
If your organization is “the fact-checking section or unit of a media house or other parent organization”, please share a link to the statement on your website about your ownership.

FactCheck.org
29-Oct-2021 (6 months ago) Updated: 6 months ago

Our funding page provides quarterly and annual information on our funding sources: https://www.factcheck.org/our-funding/

Our mission page provides information on the legal status of our organization: https://www.factcheck.org/about/our-mission/

It is also available on the university's donation page for FactCheck.org: https://giving.aws.cloud.upenn.edu/fund?fastStart=simpleForm&program=ANS&fund=602014

The donation page states that FactCheck.org is a project of University of Pennsylvania's Annenberg Public Policy Center. "The University of Pennsylvania is a 501(c)3 organization and your contribution is deductible from U.S. federal income taxes to the full extent allowed by law," the page says.

(We link to that donation page several times on our website.)

Julie Homchick Crowe Assessor
27-Nov-2021 (5 months ago) Updated: 5 months ago

Clear funding and legal details of the org available on multiple pages.


done_all 4.2 marked as Compliant by Julie Homchick Crowe.

Criteria 4.3
Proof you meet criteria
Please share a link to where on your website you set out your organizational structure, making clear how and by whom editorial control is exercised.

FactCheck.org
29-Oct-2021 (6 months ago) Updated: 6 months ago

Our organizational structure can be found on "Our Staff" page, which includes titles indicating those in charge of editorial decisions: https://www.factcheck.org/our-staff/

The FactCheck.org director is in charge of all editorial content and reports to the Annenberg Public Policy Center director. 

Julie Homchick Crowe Assessor
27-Nov-2021 (5 months ago) Updated: 5 months ago

The organizational structure is very transparent and the roles and editorial process are clearly explained in relation to the staff.


done_all 4.3 marked as Compliant by Julie Homchick Crowe.

Criteria 4.4
Proof you meet criteria
Please share a link to where on your website you set out the professional biographies of those who play a significant part in your organization’s editorial output.

FactCheck.org
29-Oct-2021 (6 months ago) Updated: 6 months ago

"Our Staff" page includes names, titles and professional bio information: https://www.factcheck.org/our-staff/

Julie Homchick Crowe Assessor
27-Nov-2021 (5 months ago) Updated: 5 months ago

The provided page details the professional biography of all those who play a significant part in its editorial output.


done_all 4.4 marked as Compliant by Julie Homchick Crowe.

Criteria 4.5
Proof you meet criteria
Please share a link to where on your website you encourage users to communicate with your editorial team.

FactCheck.org
29-Oct-2021 (6 months ago) Updated: 6 months ago

We provide several links on our website where we encourage users to contact us.

At the top of our homepage, we have a drop down menu called "ASK A QUESTION," which provides links for readers who want to submit questions for Ask SciCheck and Ask FactCheck.

The links:

https://www.factcheck.org/askfactcheck/

https://www.factcheck.org/askscicheck/

At the top of our homepage, the "About Us" drop down menu includes a link on how to contact us: https://www.factcheck.org/about/contact-us/

The "Contact Us" link also appears at the bottom of every page, linking to a page where we provide our address, phone number and the editor's email address.

We also provide readers access to contact us with corrections. We state our policy on the homepage and provide a link to our "Request a Correction" page:  https://www.factcheck.org/request-a-correction/


Julie Homchick Crowe Assessor
27-Nov-2021 (5 months ago) Updated: 5 months ago

Users are encouraged to communicate with the editorial team through multiple avenues.


done_all 4.5 marked as Compliant by Julie Homchick Crowe.

Section 5: A commitment to Standards and Transparency of Methodology

To be compliant on methodology, applicants must meet these six criteria

  • 5.1 The applicant publishes on its website a statement about the methodology it uses to select, research, write and publish its fact checks.
  • 5.2 The applicant selects claims to check based primarily on the reach and importance of the claims, and where possible explains the reason for choosing the claim to check.
  • 5.3 The applicant sets out in its fact checks relevant evidence that appears to support the claim as well as relevant evidence that appears to undermine it.
  • 5.4 The applicant in its fact checks assesses the merits of the evidence found using the same high standards applied to evidence on equivalent claims, regardless of who made the claim.
  • 5.5 The applicant seeks where possible to contact those who made the claim to seek supporting evidence, noting that (I) this is often not possible with online claims, (II) if the person who makes the claim fails to reply in a timely way this should not impede the fact check, (III) if a speaker adds caveats to the claim, the fact-checker should be free to continue with checking the original claim, (IV) fact-checkers may not wish to contact the person who made the claim for safety or other legitimate reasons.
  • 5.6 The applicant encourages users to send in claims to check, while making it clear what readers can legitimately expect will be fact-checked and what isn’t fact-checkable.

Criteria 5.1
Proof you meet criteria
Please provide a link to the statement on your website that explains the methodology you use to select, research, write and publish your fact checks.

FactCheck.org
29-Oct-2021 (6 months ago) Updated: 6 months ago
Julie Homchick Crowe Assessor
27-Nov-2021 (5 months ago) Updated: 5 months ago

The methodology for completing fact checks is detailed on the provided page.


done_all 5.1 marked as Compliant by Julie Homchick Crowe.

Criteria 5.2
Proof you meet criteria
The assessor will review the methodology used in a randomised sample of your fact checks to assess compliance with these criteria. No additional evidence is required.

Julie Homchick Crowe Assessor
27-Nov-2021 (5 months ago) Updated: 5 months ago

The claims checked within the 20 fact checks all deal with issues in the public, mostly that related to politics and public health. The reach and importance of those topics in particular seems significant and aligns with their mission.


done_all 5.2 marked as Compliant by Julie Homchick Crowe.

Criteria 5.3
Proof you meet criteria
The assessor will review the methodology used in a randomised sample of your fact checks to assess compliance with these criteria. No additional evidence is required.

Julie Homchick Crowe Assessor
27-Nov-2021 (5 months ago) Updated: 5 months ago

In each of the fact checks analyzed, there is substantial evidence provided that supports the conclusion of the author. Additionally, the authors link to original statements and sources for claims that they deem incorrect or problematic. For example, in a fact check on statements from President Biden, the author notes:

"On more than one occasion — including in his Aug. 18 interview with George Stephanopoulos of ABC News and his address to the nation on Aug. 16 — the president has overstated the size of the Afghan military." (from https://www.factcheck.org/2021/08/factchecking-bidens-statements-about-afghanistan/)

Not only is the interview linked to, but the use of language like "overstated" shows attention to nuance and detail (that the author goes on to unpack in the article). 


done_all 5.3 marked as Compliant by Julie Homchick Crowe.

Criteria 5.4
Proof you meet criteria
The assessor will review the methodology used in a randomised sample of your fact checks to assess compliance with these criteria. No additional evidence is required.

Julie Homchick Crowe Assessor
27-Nov-2021 (5 months ago) Updated: 5 months ago

While many of the fact checks focus on President Biden or on conspiracy theories about the pandemic, there is nonetheless a consistent standard of evidence used when evaluating claims from or about Biden or conspiracy theorists/theories. We can see in this article specifically that the applicant spends equal time on both President Biden and President Trump: https://www.factcheck.org/2020/12/the-whoppers-of-2020/

Many of the conspiracy theory fact checks on COVID-19 demonstrate how the organization does not unduly focus on one side or the other given that such conspiracy theories have appeal to those on both the far right and the far left (as with the public outcry over VAERS data: https://www.factcheck.org/2021/03/scicheck-viral-posts-misuse-vaers-data-to-make-false-claims-about-covid-19-vaccines/)



done_all 5.4 marked as Compliant by Julie Homchick Crowe.

Criteria 5.5
Proof you meet criteria
The assessor will review the methodology used in a randomised sample of your fact checks to assess compliance with these criteria. No additional evidence is required.

Julie Homchick Crowe Assessor
27-Nov-2021 (5 months ago) Updated: 5 months ago

While many fact checks center on public claims that do no require verification from a primary source, the applicant still seeks out interviews with sources as needed and explains to the reader the details of those efforts. We see that in examples like: " Malone did not reqond to our request for comment" (https://www.factcheck.org/2021/08/scicheck-researcher-distorts-facts-on-covid-19-vaccine-approval-liability/) and "We asked Ruby for evidenc of her claims, but she didn't provide any" ( https://www.factcheck.org/2021/10/scicheck-video-spreads-bogus-claims-about-plane-crashes-and-covid-19-vaccines/) 


done_all 5.5 marked as Compliant by Julie Homchick Crowe.

Criteria 5.6
Proof you meet criteria
Please describe how you encourage users to send in claims to check, while making it clear what readers can legitimately expect will be fact-checked and what isn’t fact-checkable. Include links where appropriate. If you do not allow this, explain why.

FactCheck.org
29-Oct-2021 (6 months ago) Updated: 6 months ago

As mentioned above, we have a drop-down menu at the top of our home page called "ASK A QUESTION," which provides links for readers who want to submit questions for Ask SciCheck and Ask FactCheck. We started Ask FactCheck in 2007, and Ask SciCheck in 2017.

Our stories generated by readers can be found here:

https://www.factcheck.org/askfactcheck/

https://www.factcheck.org/askscicheck/

Most questions now are about viral social media content, and those questions are answered by staff members assigned to debunk viral misinformation. Those stories can be found here:

https://www.factcheck.org/fake-news/

We also directly answer questions to readers via email.  

We also started a newsletter this year that includes a feature we call "Reply All," which answers one reader question each week. Readers can subscribe to our free weekly newsletter here: https://www.factcheck.org/subscribe/


Julie Homchick Crowe Assessor
27-Nov-2021 (5 months ago) Updated: 5 months ago

Readers and users are invited to use multiple formats to send claims for checking - some topics allow readers to see what questions/claims come up regularly in the "ask factcheck" and "ask scicheck" sections. They also have staffers devoted to online misinformation specifically.


done_all 5.6 marked as Compliant by Julie Homchick Crowe.

Section 6: A commitment to an Open & Honest Corrections Policy

To be compliant on corrections policy, applicants must meet these five criteria

  • 6.1 The applicant has a corrections or complaints policy that is easily visible and accessible on the organization’s website or frequently referenced in broadcasts.
  • 6.2 The policy sets out clear definitions of what it does and does not cover, how major mistakes, especially those requiring revised conclusions of a fact check, are handled, and the fact that some complaints may justify no response. This policy is adhered to scrupulously.
  • 6.3 Where credible evidence is provided that the applicant has made a mistake worthy of correction, the applicant makes a correction openly and transparently, seeking as far as possible to ensure that users of the original see the correction and the corrected version.
  • 6.4 The applicant, if an existing signatory, should either on its corrections/complaints page or on the page where it declares itself an IFCN signatory inform users that if they believe the signatory is violating the IFCN Code, they may inform the IFCN, with a link to the IFCN site.
  • 6.5 If the applicant is the fact-checking unit of a media company, it is a requirement of signatory status that the parent media company has and adheres to an open and honest corrections policy.

Criteria 6.1
Proof you meet criteria
Please provide a link to where you publish on your website your corrections or complaints policy. If you are primarily a broadcaster, please provide evidence you frequently reference your corrections policy in broadcasts.

FactCheck.org
29-Oct-2021 (6 months ago) Updated: 6 months ago

Our corrections policy can be found in two places on our home page. It can be found in the "Our Process" page. To make it easy for readers to request corrections, we also provide an option in the "About Us" drop down menu at the top of the home page that says "Request a Correction," and links to this page providing instructions on requesting a correction: https://www.factcheck.org/request-a-correction/


Julie Homchick Crowe Assessor
27-Nov-2021 (5 months ago) Updated: 5 months ago

The corrections policy is clear and accessible.


done_all 6.1 marked as Compliant by Julie Homchick Crowe.

Criteria 6.2
Proof you meet criteria
The assessor will review the corrections policy to verify it meets critera. No additional information needed.

Julie Homchick Crowe Assessor
27-Nov-2021 (5 months ago) Updated: 5 months ago

done_all 6.2 marked as Compliant by Julie Homchick Crowe.

Criteria 6.3
Proof you meet criteria
Please provide a short statement about how the policy was adhered to over the previous year (or six months if this is the first application) including evidence of two examples of the responses provided by the applicant to a correction request over the previous year. Where no correction request has been made in the previous year, you must state this in your application, which will be publicly available in the assessment if your application is successful.

FactCheck.org
29-Oct-2021 (6 months ago) Updated: 6 months ago

Our policy is to immediately correct errors as soon as they are brought to our attention -- sometimes from readers, but also from our sources and staffers. Our "about us" tab at the top of our homepage provides a drop-down menu list, including "Request a correction," which provides readers with a link to the email address we use only for corrections and appeals of our Facebook ratings. If the correction is material to the story, we will put a short note at the top with an anchor link to the full correction. 

In the first Biden-Trump campaign, we made a mistake in a Sept. 30, 2020 article, when writing about stock market gains by the wealthy during the pandemic. Biden said, "The billionaires have gotten much more wealthy, by a tune of over $300 to $400 billion more, just since COVID.” We incorrectly wrote that Biden's was likely referring to a May 21 study by two liberal advocacy groups that didn't support his claim. (We had written about the study once before.) However, the next day the campaign told us Biden was referring to its own analysis of the Bloomberg Billionaires Index, which we found did support his statement. We removed that section of the article, placed a note at the top of the story saying the story had been correct and provided an anchor link that brought the reader directly to the full correction. 

https://www.factcheck.org/2020/09/factchecking-the-first-trump-biden-debate/#correction-oct-1

On July 8, we wrote that Pat Nixon was the first first lady to visit a combat zone, citing the National First Ladies’ Library as our source. The next day we corrected the story after a reader correctly pointed out to us that Eleanor Roosevelt visited combat zones during World War II. We thanked the reader in the correction for bringing the error to our attention.

https://www.factcheck.org/2021/07/second-ladies-in-combat-zones/


Julie Homchick Crowe Assessor
27-Nov-2021 (5 months ago) Updated: 5 months ago

Factcheck.org's examples of corrections indicate their quickness in responding to mistakes and their transparency in sharing such corrections with readers.


done_all 6.3 marked as Compliant by Julie Homchick Crowe.

Criteria 6.4
Proof you meet criteria
If you are an existing signatory, please provide a link to show where on your site you inform users that if they believe you are violating the IFCN Code, they may inform the IFCN of this, with a link to the complaints page on the IFCN site.

FactCheck.org
29-Oct-2021 (6 months ago) Updated: 6 months ago

"Our Process" page explains our relationship with the IFCN and provides a link to the IFCN complaints page: https://www.factcheck.org/our-process/

Julie Homchick Crowe Assessor
27-Nov-2021 (5 months ago) Updated: 5 months ago

Required information provided on linked page.


done_all 6.4 marked as Compliant by Julie Homchick Crowe.

Criteria 6.5
Proof you meet criteria
If you are the fact-checking unit of a media company, please provide a link to the parent media company’s honest and open corrections policy and provide evidence that it adheres to this.

FactCheck.org
29-Oct-2021 (6 months ago) Updated: 6 months ago

This does not apply to FactCheck.org, which is a project of the Annenberg Public Policy Center at the University of Pennsylvania.