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. Their work meets the criteria of the IFCN and is compliant.

on 07-Sep-2020 (1 year 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
07-Aug-2020 (1 year ago) Updated: 1 year ago

We are a project of the Annenberg Public Policy Center at the University of Pennsylvania, as indicated on our About Us page: 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

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
31-Aug-2020 (1 year ago)

Very clear - might consider adding that the University of Pennsylvania is a 501(c)3 organization to the mission page to identify what type of nonprofit it is since 501(c)3 since 501(c)4s can engage in more advocacy work whereas the 501(c)3 designations is for education, etc. It's probably obvious since this is housed in a university, but it distinction might be important to some readers.


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
07-Aug-2020 (1 year ago) Updated: 1 year 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 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. All staffers research and write stories, and 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, and train University of Pennsylvania students in fact checking.

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 other explainer stories) 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 final months of the 2020 campaign, the pandemic and the public policy initiatives that will come from the next Congress and the winner of the 2020 presidential election.  

Julie Homchick Crowe Assessor
31-Aug-2020 (1 year ago) Updated: 1 year ago

All information stated transparently here and on the website. Overall, factcheck.org operates with a clear purpose of sharing factual information with the public and dispelling misinformation. The assessor's knowledge of this organizations track-record is that it is very reputable and trusted. The United States is currently in nearing their Nov. 3 election date for U.S. President and reports are showing direct attempts by both domestic and foreign actors to interfere with the election, largely through misinformation campaigns on social media.The country is currently very ideologically divided between a growingly anti-government Republican party and a divided Democrat party, part of which wants the party to become more progressive and part of which wants it to remain more moderate to appeal to swing voters. Currently, incumbent Republic Donald Trump will face Democrat Joe Biden in the general election and polls show favor for Biden, but by a decreasing margin. The country is also leading the world in COVID-19 deaths, which is greatly shaping public perspectives on public health action and the ability for some members of the public to vote in-person. 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
07-Aug-2020 (1 year ago) Updated: 1 year ago

We published nearly 600 fact-check articles and videos in the last 12 months, or about 11 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... (17 KB)
Julie Homchick Crowe Assessor
31-Aug-2020 (1 year ago) Updated: 1 year ago

Factcheck.org is posting well-over one fact check/week. 


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
07-Aug-2020 (1 year ago) Updated: 1 year ago

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

Julie Homchick Crowe Assessor
31-Aug-2020 (1 year ago) Updated: 1 year ago

Factcheck.org's fact checks relate specifically to claims from the political world and therefore have a direct impact on the welfare of individuals, society and the public. Without the ability to verify information about policy issues and politicians, the public would be much worse-off in terms of their ability to make informed decisions. Of the 10 fact checks submitted by the organization along with a random cross-check of other fact checks in their archive, the organization appears to be operating with 100% of their claims serving as a benefit to public welfare given that they all deal directly with The President, Congress and public policy and/or public health.


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
07-Aug-2020 (1 year ago) Updated: 1 year 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 financial reports on our website that explain in detail the types of funding that we do and do not accept: 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 coverage. 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
31-Aug-2020 (1 year ago) Updated: 1 year ago

Very transparent with funding sources


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
07-Aug-2020 (1 year ago) Updated: 1 year 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 financial reports on our website that explain in detail the types of funding that we do and do not accept: https://www.factcheck.org/our-funding/

Julie Homchick Crowe Assessor
31-Aug-2020 (1 year ago) Updated: 1 year ago

It does not appear that factcheck.org receives any funding of this nature. They offer a very transparent picture of their finances for the public.


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
07-Aug-2020 (1 year ago) Updated: 1 year ago

We fact check the statements of major U.S. politicians, answer reader questions, debunk viral deceptions, and write Q&As on important public policy issues. 

The 10 examples below illustrate fact-checks involving political claims made in TV ads, TV interviews, debates, press conferences, campaign rallies, 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 what the research says about face masks.  

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

https://www.factcheck.org/2019/08/trumps-steel-industry-claims/

https://www.factcheck.org/2020/05/the-falsehoods-of-the-plandemic-video/

https://www.factcheck.org/2020/07/in-viral-video-doctor-falsely-touts-hydroxychloroquine-as-covid-19-cure/

https://www.factcheck.org/2020/05/factchecking-bidens-breakfast-club-interview/

https://www.factcheck.org/2020/07/factchecking-trumps-fox-news-sunday-interview/

https://www.factcheck.org/2020/04/covid-19-face-mask-advice-explained/

https://www.factcheck.org/2020/01/factchecking-the-january-democratic-debate/

https://www.factcheck.org/2020/04/factchecking-ad-about-donating-our-masks-and-supplies-to-china/

https://www.factcheck.org/2020/02/family-separation-spin-in-nevada/

https://www.factcheck.org/2020/03/trump-hypes-potential-covid-19-drugs-but-evidence-so-far-is-slim/

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 President Trump, former Vice President and Democratic president nominee Joe Biden and other major U.S. officials, including congressional leaders of both parties and cabinet officials. We use CQ Transcriptions, Rev.com, CNN transcripts, CSPAN, the White House website and SnapStream to identify possible claims in video and transcripts. We also review TV ads from Advertising Analytics, a paid service that provides us TV ads for all the 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
31-Aug-2020 (1 year ago) Updated: 1 year ago

In evaluating the provided fact checks, the assessor found that factcheck.org conducts their work with high standards of evidence and a consistent process across the board. Each fact check is carefully done so that the writers break apart the claim in way that allows the reader to see which parts of it are true and which aren't, regardless of who is saying them. While the organization does appear to more frequently fact check claims by individuals and organizations on the political right, this does not come close to "unduly concentrat[ing] on one side." Given that one of factcheck.org's purposes is checking claims by the President specifically, it makes sense that there would currently be more checks of claims from the political right. Additionally, the current president is very active social media user and is likewise running a reelection campaign while governing, so his volume of claims to check is particularly high. And even within the fact checks on the current president, factcheck.org in no ways uses their service as a platform to only highlight lies or deceptions - we'll often see language like "To some extent he’s right..." as in the check on covid-19 deaths and numbers (https://www.factcheck.org/2020/06/covid-19-cases-and-deaths-by-the-numbers/), indicating a fair approach to evaluating his claims.

Additionally, when comparing fact checks done of claims from the political right and left, factcheck.org demonstrates their nonpartisanship by focusing in detail on evidence for both sides and letting that evidence lead to the conclusions in the evaluation of claims. We see that both in claims from Biden and from Trump, for example, the two current presidential nominees.

One particularly robust aspect of factcheck.org's analyses are their attention to context. For example, in their analysis of Biden's claim about Trump not acting quick enough on a China travel ban, factcheck.org doesn't just analyze a single claim, but unpack multiple related claims on the topic and offers substantial evidence to support their evaluation: https://www.factcheck.org/2020/08/bidens-greatest-hits/. We see the same level of detail and nonpartisanship with claims by Trump: https://www.factcheck.org/2019/08/trumps-steel-industry-claims/ 



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
07-Aug-2020 (1 year ago) Updated: 1 year 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
31-Aug-2020 (1 year ago) Updated: 1 year ago

The process described is stated transparently for the public. Given that factcheck.org is explicitly interested in evaluating political claims, particularly during elections, their work naturally generates a data set that allows them to evaluate each side since the US is a two-party political system. Factcheck.org also explicitly states their focus on the office of the President, which is important given their attention to the claims of Trump.


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
07-Aug-2020 (1 year ago) Updated: 1 year 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
31-Aug-2020 (1 year ago) Updated: 1 year ago

The fact checks offer very transparent information about sources cited. In cases where individuals are quoted, their relevant positions, credentials and/or affiliations are mentioned. In the sample of 21 fact-check, there were no cases that where the assessor saw a case "where the reader might reasonably conclude those [the source's] interests could influence the accuracy of the evidence provided," as in a reference to a politcally-motivated think tank. It seems that factcheck.org steers clear of using sources that would create question in the mind of the reader on the motivations of the source.


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.

Julie Homchick Crowe Assessor
31-Aug-2020 (1 year ago) Updated: 1 year ago

In both fact checks and the language in the mission of the organization, factcheck.org does not exhibit a preference for any political party or policy. Their main objective of transparency and accuracy of information is evident in their fact checks and no language that the assessor could find indicated any political leaning. In a random review of social media posts from the organization, there appears to be no political preference or advocacy language.


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
07-Aug-2020 (1 year ago) Updated: 1 year ago

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


Julie Homchick Crowe Assessor
31-Aug-2020 (1 year ago) Updated: 1 year ago

Factcheck.org states a clear policy on non-partisanship for staff that ensures a more fair and rigorous fact checking process. In a randomized review of social media posts from staffers, none appeared to be posted any political stance. The majority of the content shared on social media were links to fact checks or about fact checking.


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
31-Aug-2020 (1 year ago) Updated: 1 year ago

Factcheck.org is very thorough in their identification of sources and offers a clear path for readers to verify information themselves through relevant links. In cases where the organization has interviewed a source, those details of the interview are shared with the reader.


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
31-Aug-2020 (1 year ago) Updated: 1 year ago

The organization uses reputable primary sources for its evidence wherever possible, going directly to scientific studies and published data sets. In some cases, as with the evaluation of the Plandemic video, the organization uses scholars and experts as sources because the claims being checked aren't based in a data set. https://www.factcheck.org/2020/05/the-falsehoods-of-the-plandemic-video/ 


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
31-Aug-2020 (1 year ago) Updated: 1 year ago

The organization offers multiple different sources of evidence in each claim they fact check. For example, in the evaluation of Trump's claims on the steel industry, there are 45 sources used, a good indicator of the robustness of this organization's work. https://www.factcheck.org/2019/08/trumps-steel-industry-claims/ 

My only recommendation of sources used is that some of the fact checks include a bibliography and some don't. Including one seems like a useful tool for readers and doing so consistently would also be a benefit.


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
31-Aug-2020 (1 year ago) Updated: 1 year ago

Sources used in the factchecks are always given relevant credentials, affiliations and expertise. In none of the examples were there sources that might appear to have an interest that would influence the accuracy of evidence.


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
07-Aug-2020 (1 year ago) Updated: 1 year 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
31-Aug-2020 (1 year ago) Updated: 1 year 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
07-Aug-2020 (1 year ago) Updated: 1 year 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 organizationhttps://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
31-Aug-2020 (1 year ago) Updated: 1 year ago

Would it be possible to have the text included under the "additional information" link on the donation page to just be on main page? This doesn't seem imperative, but it would mean more people would see those details rather than the few visitors who decide to click through a link.


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
07-Aug-2020 (1 year ago) Updated: 1 year 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
31-Aug-2020 (1 year ago) Updated: 1 year 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
07-Aug-2020 (1 year ago) Updated: 1 year ago

Our organizational structure can be found on "Our Staff" page, which includes names, titles and professional bio information: https://www.factcheck.org/our-staff/


Julie Homchick Crowe Assessor
31-Aug-2020 (1 year ago) Updated: 1 year ago

The biographies of the staff are clear and offer detailed information about who they are, their role and/or expertise.


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
07-Aug-2020 (1 year ago) Updated: 1 year 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.  

Julie Homchick Crowe Assessor
31-Aug-2020 (1 year ago) Updated: 1 year ago

Factcheck.org offers a very easy-to-access format for reaching out to the editorial team, asking questions, and contacting them.


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
07-Aug-2020 (1 year ago) Updated: 1 year ago
Julie Homchick Crowe Assessor
31-Aug-2020 (1 year ago) Updated: 1 year ago

Factcheck.org offers a clear explanation of their methodology for fact checking on their cite.


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
31-Aug-2020 (1 year ago) Updated: 1 year ago

The claims checked appear to meet their standard of having political import given that they all deal with political and social issues that impact the public. Of the 21 claims analyzed, all of them are on topics of political significance given that they relate to the upcoming election, current legislation and/or the current pandemic.


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
31-Aug-2020 (1 year ago) Updated: 1 year ago

Each of the fact checks analyzed offers substantial evidence that allows the reader to see if any portion of a claim is true and why. When someone states a claim that references a specific study or statement by another person or party, fact check locates and shares the original source for the reader. They are careful in using primary sources and do not rely simply on someone's claim that something is the case. In equal parts, they show the reader evidence that confirms, denies, and sometimes complicates the reality of a stated claim.


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
31-Aug-2020 (1 year ago) Updated: 1 year ago

Regardless of who made a claim, factcheck.org uses a rigorous process when finding and offering evidence that supports the truth of a claim or shows how it's wrong. In all the fact checks analyzed, the organization relies heavily on primary sources from organizations like the Census Bureau, the Bureau of Labor Statistics, academic studies and more. 


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
31-Aug-2020 (1 year ago) Updated: 1 year ago

The organization appears to seek out interviews with those who made made claims in most cases and will provide links to any secondary sources used as well that might be reporting on information referenced in the claim. Factcheck.org explains cases where they reached out to those who made claims and they explain whether or not the source provided answers. We see an example of them doing with this in the fact check on the Plandemic video with Judy Mikovitz, the main source used in the video: https://www.factcheck.org/2020/05/the-falsehoods-of-the-plandemic-video/ 


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
07-Aug-2020 (1 year ago) Updated: 1 year 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.

The links:

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

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

We privately answer questions directly to readers via email, but we also publish Ask FactCheck and Ask SciCheck when we receive similar questions from multiple readers. 

Our stories generated by readers can be found here:

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

And here:

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

We started Ask FactCheck in 2007, and most of the questions were about viral emails. Most questions now are about viral social media content, and those questions are answered by a separate team of reporters who debunk viral misinformation. Those stories can be found here:

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


Julie Homchick Crowe Assessor
31-Aug-2020 (1 year ago) Updated: 1 year 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.


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
07-Aug-2020 (1 year ago) Updated: 1 year 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
31-Aug-2020 (1 year ago) Updated: 1 year ago

The policy is easy to access and readers are provided with clear information about how to request corrections.


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
31-Aug-2020 (1 year ago) Updated: 1 year ago

The corrections policy appears to be adhered to throughout the fact checks.


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
07-Aug-2020 (1 year ago) Updated: 1 year ago

Our policy is to immediately correct errors as soon as they are brought to our attention -- sometimes from readers, but also from our own staffers. 

In an Oct. 15, 2019, story, we referenced a column written by Washington Post columnist Marc Thiessen and mistakenly spelled his first name "Mark." A reader who shares the same name -- but different spelling -- pointed out our error, and we made this correction.

Correction, Oct. 24: We originally misspelled columnist Marc Thiessen’s name. We regret the error. 

Here is that story: https://www.factcheck.org/2019/10/the-democratic-letter-to-ukraine/

In an April 17 story on COVID-19, we mistakenly said that the U.S. had the eighth lowest rate among the 10 countries most affected by COVID-19. A reader who is a professor at the University of Tennessee contacted us, and we made this correction:

Correction, April 20: We originally said the U.S. had the “eighth lowest rate” among the 10 most affected countries. It had the third lowest rate.

Here is that story: https://www.factcheck.org/2020/04/trumps-inaccurate-covid-19-death-rate-comparison/




Julie Homchick Crowe Assessor
31-Aug-2020 (1 year ago) Updated: 1 year ago

Factcheck.org's examples of corrections indicate their quickness and willingness in responding to mistakes. It is less clear how they "as far as possible to ensure that users of the original see the correction and the corrected version" given the information they provide here.


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
07-Aug-2020 (1 year ago) Updated: 1 year ago

We recently updated "Our Process" page to include a link to the IFCN complaints page: https://www.factcheck.org/our-process/


Julie Homchick Crowe Assessor
31-Aug-2020 (1 year ago) Updated: 1 year ago

The information about complaints and the IFCN code are clearly explained on the site.


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
07-Aug-2020 (1 year ago) Updated: 1 year ago

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

Julie Homchick Crowe Assessor
31-Aug-2020 (1 year ago) Updated: 1 year ago

This criteria does not appear to be applicable to factcheck.org.


done_all 6.5 marked as Compliant by Julie Homchick Crowe.