factcheck.vlaanderen

Organization: factcheck.vlaanderen
Applicant: Ferre Wouters
Assessor: Henk van Ess

Background

Factcheck.Vlaanderen is a project that originated in 2019 from the VZW Square Truth Network. They claim to be an independent, non-profit website that is fully dedicated to fact checking. They say they work in accordance with IFCN guidelines. 

Assessment Conclusion

Before applying, Factcheck.Vlaanderen had over 25% of the fact checks conducted by a third party run by medical professionals and funded by the Flemish government. It was also unclear to the reader what checks were editorial and what not.

In order to meet the IFCN-criteria, applicant decided to remove all postings written by medical professionals. Now that the website has been changed, it follows the editorial guidelines.

on 04-Jul-2022 (6 months ago)

Henk van Ess assesses application as Compliant

A short summary in native publishing language

Voordat Factcheck.Vlaanderen zich aanmeldde bij IFCN, liet zij meer dan 25% van de factchecks uitvoeren door een derde partij door medische professionals en gefinancierd door de Vlaamse overheid. Ook was het voor de lezer onduidelijk welke cheques redactioneel waren en welke niet.

Aanvrager heeft besloten om alle berichten die door medische mensen zijn geschreven te verwijderen om aan de IFCN-criteria te voldoen. De inmiddels gewijzigde website volgt de redactionele richtlijnen.

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.vlaanderen
23-Aug-2021 (1 year ago)

Factcheck.vlaanderen is part of Square Truth Network, a non-profit organisation under Belgian Law. We make this clear on the following pages on our website:

https://factcheck.vlaanderen/partners

https://factcheck.vlaanderen/werkwijze

https://factcheck.vlaanderen/bijdrage

Henk van Ess Assessor
04-Jul-2022 (6 months ago) Updated: 6 months ago

The legal status of Square Truth Networked is confirmed in - https://www.staatsbladmonitor.be/bedrijfsfiche.html?ondernemingsnummer=0715614530 and shows the organization is a non-profit in Belgium.


done_all 1.1 marked as Compliant by Henk van Ess.

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.vlaanderen
23-Aug-2021 (1 year ago) Updated: 1 year ago

1. Factcheck.vlaanderen was founded in April 2019, ahead of the European, regional and federal elections, as a project of the non-profit Square Truth Network. It was established as a collaboration of AI-organisation Textgain, and the journalism departments of Erasmushogeschool Brussel and KU Leuven, in response to the growing amount of online misinformation and polarisation in Flanders (the Dutch speaking part of Belgium).


2. Currently, 18 people are active within Factcheck.Vlaanderen. Their tasks can be split into three main categories:

- Our partners: who operate as advisors, and support us with recruiting factcheckers and IT & AI matters (see https://factcheck.vlaanderen/partners).

- Fact-checking team: a team of writers/researchers coordinated by the editor-in-chief (see https://factcheck.vlaanderen/redactie).

- Communication team: who are responsible for managing our social media accounts as well as our newsletter (see https://factcheck.vlaanderen/redactie).


3. Our main activity is publishing factcheck articles. Research and writing of the articles are done by a group of factcheckers, consisting of young journalists and journalism students from KU Leuven and from Erasmushogeschool Brussels, and others interested in fact-checking.

New factcheckers are coached by our experienced factcheckers (in the start-up phase factcheckers were guided by journalists from Belgian Press Agency Belga and the Flemish Public Broadcaster VRT).

To help finding possible claims, Factcheck.Vlaanderen uses an A.I. tool, developped by partner Textgain, that screens social media for possible misinformation.

We also collect factcheck articles from other initiatives such as Gezondheid en Wetenschap. Next to factchecks, we publish explainer articles, in which we do not factcheck a claim, but provide factual information and context on a certain subject.

Furthermore, we are actively communicating our fact checks on social media (Twitter, Facebook and Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/factcheck.vlaanderen/), and publish a weekly newsletter providing news on factchecking and disinformation.


4. Organisation-wise, our goal in the near future is to grow and become a standalone non-profit organsation.

To enhance the impact of our factchecks, we are looking to further improve our communication strategy for social media and our newsletter to better reach targeted audiences. We also want to establish firmer ties with different societal shareholders across Flanders to spread our work.

Lastly, we want to broaden our activities, e.g. by developing workshops on fact-checking for schools.

Henk van Ess Assessor
04-Jul-2022 (6 months ago) Updated: 6 months ago

In general, criteria 1.2. is met. We do have two questions.

 The legal entity Square Truth Networked started Dec 9, 2018. Please explain why you state "Factcheck.vlaanderen was founded in April 2019". The first posting was already on March 22, 2019, see https://factcheck.vlaanderen/factcheck/bril-kleurenblinden-kleuren-zien

 Is the first posting from March 22 not from Factcheck.vlaanderen? 

You claim 18 people are active for the organization, but on https://factcheck.vlaanderen/redactie we count 19. What number is correct?


done_all 1.2 marked as Compliant by Henk van Ess.

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.vlaanderen
23-Aug-2021 (1 year ago) Updated: 10 months ago
Henk van Ess Assessor
04-Jul-2022 (6 months ago) Updated: 6 months ago

The organization publishes 1-3 articles a week. We checked https://docs.google.com/spreadsheets/d/1iF0sZjhx1QtorrIoeN3zCM84JWvsykzio8q1bKKUEF4/edit#gid=0 and it matches the articles that are currently online.  We are worried about the objectivity of 400+ postings, because they are done by a third party. See 1.5.


done_all 1.3 marked as Compliant by Henk van Ess.

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.

Henk van Ess Assessor
04-Jul-2022 (6 months ago) Updated: 6 months ago

Most of the fact checks from applicant (including the ones carried out in the recent three months) are about health matters. Of the almost 1400 factchecks, over 1200 factchecks are about health related issues. Over 400 of those health fact checks are not done by the applicant, but a third party.  So they do relate to or could have an impact on the welfare or well-being of individuals, the general public or society. 



done_all 1.4 marked as Compliant by Henk van Ess.

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.vlaanderen
23-Aug-2021 (1 year ago) Updated: 5 months ago

The initial information given in the application about BENEDMO is no longer accurate. factcheck.vlaanderen did not receive funding from BENEDMO. However, we are involved as a fact-check party. You can find more information on the following page on our website: https://factcheck.vlaanderen/partners

Information about the funding we received from Vlaams Journalistiek Fonds can be found on our website: https://factcheck.vlaanderen/bijdrage

As the assessor noted, these funds lasted until September 2019, resulting in a limited number of articles in the rest of that year. In 2020, we received new funding by KBS and coronavirusalliance.

factcheck.vlaanderen did not receive direct funding from FEDASIL. We cooperated with research that was commissioned by FEDASIL and conducted by KULeuven, and we were compensated for this by KULeuven. It is only a small budget, which accounted for less than 5% of our 2021 revenues. The contract with KULeuven explicitly stipulated that we retained editorial autonomy at all times.

The aim of the experiment was to find out the most efficient way to react on social media concerning migration. One aspect of this was the role of factchecks: does it help to refer to factchecks to depolarize the debate? For this, 6 fact check articles of factcheck.vlaanderen were used. Apart from providing articles, factcheck.vlaanderen was not involved in the experiment. We received no instructions regarding the content or conclusion of fact checks, except that they had to be related to migration. Other than that, there was complete autonomy. The factchecks were under editorial responsibility and copyright of factcheck.vlaanderen. They were only published on our website.

Tree company was initially a partner in Factcheck.Vlaanderen: they built the first version of the website, but experienced some technical difficulties. Textgain decided to redesign the website and integrate their AI-tools in a single web site. Tree company has no more involvement in the factcheck.vlaanderen-project.

Regarding our collaboration with magazine EOS Wetenschap: contrary to third party Gezondheid & Wetenschap, factcheck.vlaanderen has editorial control over articles in collaboration with EOS. We now made this more clear by adding an extra sentence in the disclaimer at the top of these articles (orange box): eg https://factcheck.vlaanderen/factcheck/een-glaasje-alcohol-per-dag-gezond. We reviewed these articles again, and decided to label 5 of them as an 'explainer' instead of a 'factcheck', as they provide factual context rather than investigate a specific public claim. The most recent article is from May 2021, hence why the authors are not shown on our staff page.

Henk van Ess Assessor
04-Jul-2022 (6 months ago) Updated: 5 months ago

 Due to doubts about the objectivity of over 300 factchecks done by a third party, the applicant removed them all.

The applicant is also now more transparent about collaboration with another team's scientific magazine, EOS Wetenschap. By describing why they are working with them and their criteria for fact checks, they made it clearer to the reader why they are working with them. There is now a clear disclaimer at the top of these articles (orange box) The applicant reviewed the articles again, and opted to label some as 'explainers' instead of 'factchecks', since they provide factual context rather than investigate a specific public claim.

Additionally, the applicant disclosed more details about governmental funding.


done_all 1.5 marked as Compliant by Henk van Ess.

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.vlaanderen
23-Aug-2021 (1 year ago) Updated: 1 year ago

We have a separate page on our website where people can support us by giving a donation. No conditions at all are attached to donations, as we explain on that page. https://factcheck.vlaanderen/bijdrage 

factcheck.vlaanderen
25-Jul-2022 (6 months ago) Updated: 5 months ago

We have provided hyperlinks to fact checks from a third party, namely 'Gezondheid & Wetenschap'. These are not our own articles, but we shared links to their articles in a separate section. The reason we have done so, is because we hold the idea that we want to make fact-checks in general more accessible to the public. Following your remarks, we decided to stop this approach. Third party fact checks are no longer shown on our website.

We have no financial relationship with KBC.

Henk van Ess Assessor
04-Jul-2022 (6 months ago) Updated: 5 months ago

The applicant didn’t originally mention that 400+ factchecks are done by a third party financed by the government. They removed the postings and are now compliant


done_all 1.6 marked as Compliant by Henk van Ess.

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.vlaanderen
23-Aug-2021 (1 year ago) Updated: 10 months ago

We use the same method for every claim we check. We look for us much evidence as needed. In our articles we set out the sources we found that support or don’t support the claim, and explain where we’ve found these sources.

We do not make use of a judgement scale. We believe that, in the end, it is up to the reader to judge about a claim. Every article contains a conclusion in which we summarise our findings. The title is a reflection of the main conclusion.

Every article is reviewed by the editor-in-chief, who assesses whether a factcheck complies with our methods.

Below you can find a selection of our factcheck articles demonstrating our non-partisanship. We apply the same process across all topics, independent of the source of the maker of a claim, its political affinity, and the type of a claim.

Different sources of a claim:

1) Anonymous website https://factcheck.vlaanderen/factcheck/geen-bewijs-dat-spike-eiwit-na-vaccinatie-giftig-is (health)

2) News site: https://factcheck.vlaanderen/factcheck/beweringen-professor-mattias-desmet-kloppen-niet-altijd (health)

3) Social media: https://factcheck.vlaanderen/factcheck/deze-brief-met-corona-desinformatie-komt-niet-van-uz-gent (health)

4) Public TV broadcaster: https://factcheck.vlaanderen/factcheck/nog-geen-cijfers-over-corona-besmettingsbronnen-in-woonzorgcentra (health)

Political affinity (left to right leaning, progressive/conservative, contra/pro Flemish autonomy):

5) PvdA, Workers’ Party: https://factcheck.vlaanderen/factcheck/pvda-claim-4-op-5-belgen-voorstander-coronataks (taxation)

6) Groen, Green Party: https://factcheck.vlaanderen/factcheck/dagelijks-7-hectare-bebouwde-percelen-erbij-in-2018 (environment)

7) CD&V, Christian Democratic & Flemish: https://factcheck.vlaanderen/factcheck/55-procent-belgische-jongeren-kampt-met-meerdere-psychische-klanten (mental health)

8) N-VA, New Flemish Alliance: https://factcheck.vlaanderen/factcheck/34procent-vlaamse-jobs-gelinkt-aan-belgische-uitvoer (economy)

9) VB, Flemish Importance https://factcheck.vlaanderen/factcheck/vlaams-belang-onderschat-kostprijs-unia (taxation, society)

The type of claim (most claims we check are textual, but we also factcheck visual content):

10) Picture: https://factcheck.vlaanderen/factcheck/blogpost-zwangere-arts-miskraam-na-vaccinatie-is-fout (vaccination)

11) https://factcheck.vlaanderen/factcheck/federaal-zorgwerkers-kregen-premies-maar-hielden-geen-honderden-euros-extras-over

12) https://factcheck.vlaanderen/factcheck/hongerstakers-konden-zeker-60-dagen-zonder-eten-en-naaiden-eigen-monden-dicht

Henk van Ess Assessor
04-Jul-2022 (6 months ago) Updated: 5 months ago

We didn't notice any major hyperfocus on special interest groups. The links to publications and the explanations match the non-partisanship criteria.






done_all 2.1 marked as Compliant by Henk van Ess.

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.vlaanderen
23-Aug-2021 (1 year ago) Updated: 1 year ago

We explain this in the section 'Wat factchecken we?' on the following page: https://factcheck.vlaanderen/werkwijze

Henk van Ess Assessor
04-Jul-2022 (6 months ago) Updated: 5 months ago

Applicant has a clear section with criteria and also allows the public to respond to any errors in fact checking via their e-mail address 


done_all 2.2 marked as Compliant by Henk van Ess.

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.

Henk van Ess Assessor
04-Jul-2022 (6 months ago) Updated: 6 months ago

Applicant own productions  (<1000) use often sources in main text via direct hyperlinks and often has an extensive section of used sources at the end of each article. The 400+ third party articles from Gezondheid en Wetenschap are often based on the knowledge of a medical person. Since the majority of the articles are made by Factcheck.Vlaanderen, we find that applicant met the criterium but we do suggest to make it clear what information is from an editorial team and what information is from a medical team. The site does not explain that there are two teams factchecking who use different criteria.


done_all 2.3 marked as Compliant by Henk van Ess.

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.

Henk van Ess Assessor
04-Jul-2022 (6 months ago) Updated: 6 months ago

Most of the times the criteria are met. We did noticed that Factcheck.vlaanderen did a at least two fact checks on FEDASIL (Oudergem, https://factcheck.vlaanderen/factcheck/fedasil-opent-geen-asielcentrum-in-oudergem-zonder-medeweten-van-gemeente Immigratie, https://factcheck.vlaanderen/factcheck/weinig-bewijs-dat-immigrate-belgie-jaarlijks-11-miljard-euro-kost ) - there is no disclaimer thatFEDASIL is partly financing those factchecks. 




done_all 2.4 marked as Compliant by Henk van Ess.

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.vlaanderen
23-Aug-2021 (1 year ago) Updated: 1 year ago

A statement on the non-partisanship of our organisation and staff is included in the first principle of our commitment to IFCN's code of principles: https://factcheck.vlaanderen/werkwijze

factcheck.vlaanderen
25-Jul-2022 (6 months ago) Updated: 5 months ago

The term 'wettelijk statuut' refers to 'legal form' (see 4.1). It has nothing to do with 'internal rules for fact checking'.

Henk van Ess Assessor
04-Jul-2022 (6 months ago) Updated: 5 months ago

The criteria 2.5 is met. We suggest a change: paraphrase also the specific statement of non-partisanship rules of IFCN.



done_all 2.5 marked as Compliant by Henk van Ess.

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.

Henk van Ess Assessor
04-Jul-2022 (6 months ago) Updated: 6 months ago

Applicant mentions primary sources as often as possible. We did noticed in third party postings of gezondheidenwetenschap.be, sometimes different criteria were used, see 3.3


done_all 3.1 marked as Compliant by Henk van Ess.

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.

Henk van Ess Assessor
04-Jul-2022 (6 months ago) Updated: 5 months ago

"Primary sources of the claim are mostly mentioned, but not always via a direct hyperlink but screenshot. In backing up medical claims from the third party contributor, sometimes sources are not given. Example, https://www.gezondheidenwetenschap.be/gezondheid-in-de-media/nieuw-voedingssupplement-heeft-bescheiden-effect-op-overgewicht. Assessor decided to remove that information.

Files Attached
2022-07-04_14-21-20.... (307 KB) 2022-07-04_14-21-20.... (307 KB)
done_all 3.2 marked as Compliant by Henk van Ess.

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.

Henk van Ess Assessor
04-Jul-2022 (6 months ago) Updated: 5 months ago

"Applicant was first using over 400 factchecks on their website that are done by https://www.gezondheidenwetenschap.be. They now removed those check because of lack of journalistic standards”


done_all 3.3 marked as Compliant by Henk van Ess.

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.

Henk van Ess Assessor
04-Jul-2022 (6 months ago) Updated: 6 months ago

Applicant tries to include the original source and/or the link to the original claim, like https://factcheck.vlaanderen/factcheck/deze-brief-met-corona-desinformatie-komt-niet-van-uz-gent (actual letter is not shown). Sometimes the original posting is not shown, but a screenshot https://factcheck.vlaanderen/factcheck/vlaams-belang-onderschat-kostprijs-unia or https://factcheck.vlaanderen/factcheck/blogpost-zwangere-arts-miskraam-na-vaccinatie-is-fout

Technically, the reader can't be sure you showed the original posting in its full form, the screenshot could be of a second source, not the original source.

We suggest to link to the claim if it's on the web and not use screenshots. Try to use tools like Crowdtangle to find "Patient O" and link to that posting. If you are afraid that the link will rot, try to archive the original link yourself via archive.org or archive.is.


done_all 3.4 marked as Compliant by Henk van Ess.

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.vlaanderen
23-Aug-2021 (1 year ago) Updated: 1 year ago

We are the fact-checking unit affliated with parent organisation Square Truth Network, a non-profit under Belgian Law (company no. 0715.614.530).

factcheck.vlaanderen
25-Jul-2022 (6 months ago) Updated: 5 months ago

We are the fact-checking unit affliated with parent organisation Square Truth Network, a non-profit under Belgian Law (company no. 0715.614.530).


We added more precise information on our sources of funding here: https://factcheck.vlaanderen/bijdrage ('deze organsiaties steunden reeds factcheck.vlaanderen')

Henk van Ess Assessor
04-Jul-2022 (6 months ago) Updated: 5 months ago

At the request of the IFCN assessor, applicant added more precise information on their sources of funding: https://factcheck.vlaanderen/bijdrage



done_all 4.1 marked as Compliant by Henk van Ess.

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.vlaanderen
23-Aug-2021 (1 year ago) Updated: 1 year ago
factcheck.vlaanderen
25-Jul-2022 (6 months ago) Updated: 6 months ago

We make this clear on the following pages on our website:

https://factcheck.vlaanderen/partners

https://factcheck.vlaanderen/werkwijze

https://factcheck.vlaanderen/bijdrage


Following your remarks, we decided to discontinue providing hyperlinks to 'Gezondheid & Wetenschap'. Third party fact checks are no longer shown on our website.

Henk van Ess Assessor
04-Jul-2022 (6 months ago) Updated: 5 months ago

Following IFCN advice, applicant decided to discontinue providing hyperlinks to 'Gezondheid & Wetenschap'.


done_all 4.2 marked as Compliant by Henk van Ess.

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.vlaanderen
23-Aug-2021 (1 year ago) Updated: 1 year ago
factcheck.vlaanderen
25-Jul-2022 (6 months ago) Updated: 6 months ago

https://factcheck.vlaanderen/redactie


Following your remarks, we decided to discontinue providing hyperlinks to 'Gezondheid & Wetenschap'. Third party fact checks are no longer shown on our website.

Henk van Ess Assessor
04-Jul-2022 (6 months ago) Updated: 5 months ago

In response to IFCN assessor comments, applicant has decided to discontinue providing links to 'Gezondheid & Wetenschap'.


done_all 4.3 marked as Compliant by Henk van Ess.

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.vlaanderen
23-Aug-2021 (1 year ago) Updated: 1 year ago
factcheck.vlaanderen
25-Jul-2022 (6 months ago) Updated: 6 months ago

https://factcheck.vlaanderen/redactie


Following your remarks, we decided to discontinue providing hyperlinks to 'Gezondheid & Wetenschap'. Third party fact checks are no longer shown on our website.

Henk van Ess Assessor
04-Jul-2022 (6 months ago) Updated: 5 months ago

As a result of IFCN assessor comments, applicant has decided to cease providing links to 'Gezondheid & Wetenschap'. 


done_all 4.4 marked as Compliant by Henk van Ess.

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.vlaanderen
23-Aug-2021 (1 year ago) Updated: 1 year ago

On our homepage (https://factcheck.vlaanderen/), people can contact us by clicking on 'Contacteer ons', below 'Over FC.V'.

factcheck.vlaanderen
25-Jul-2022 (6 months ago) Updated: 5 months ago

On our homepage (https://factcheck.vlaanderen/), people can contact us by clicking on 'Contacteer ons', below 'Over FC.V'.


People can contact us on our homepage, as explained above. We now also added our e-mail address in the banner below.

We do not have a physical address, as we don't have a physical office or operating seat. As set out in criterion 8 of principle 3, this is not a requirement: https://drive.google.com/file/d/1e-A_AmU3B3G8cbC9NfKSY0nH1zfWeH67/view#page=14 

Henk van Ess Assessor
04-Jul-2022 (6 months ago) Updated: 5 months ago

The applicant does not have a physical address. Contact information can be found on the applicant's homepage. The banners now include an e-mail address.


done_all 4.5 marked as Compliant by Henk van Ess.

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.vlaanderen
23-Aug-2021 (1 year ago) Updated: 1 year ago

Our methodology is explained here (see 'Hoe factchecken we?' and 'Hoe komen we tot een conclusie?'): https://factcheck.vlaanderen/werkwijze 

factcheck.vlaanderen
25-Jul-2022 (6 months ago) Updated: 6 months ago

Our methodology is explained here (see 'Hoe factchecken we?' and 'Hoe komen we tot een conclusie?'): https://factcheck.vlaanderen/werkwijze 


Following your remarks, we decided to discontinue providing hyperlinks to 'Gezondheid & Wetenschap'. Third party fact checks are no longer shown on our website.

Henk van Ess Assessor
04-Jul-2022 (6 months ago) Updated: 5 months ago

The applicant removed hyperlinks to the Gezondheid & Wetenschap page. 


done_all 5.1 marked as Compliant by Henk van Ess.

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.

Henk van Ess Assessor
04-Jul-2022 (6 months ago) Updated: 6 months ago

The project is up-to 90% based on health topics. Especially the topics done by Gezondheid en Wetenschap now and then hyperfocus on very specific medical information.  But overall, 5.2 is met.


done_all 5.2 marked as Compliant by Henk van Ess.

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.

Henk van Ess Assessor
04-Jul-2022 (6 months ago) Updated: 5 months ago

The medical fact checks done by medical people that didn’t follow journalist standards, are removed by applicant. Criterion is met now.


done_all 5.3 marked as Compliant by Henk van Ess.

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.

Henk van Ess Assessor
04-Jul-2022 (6 months ago) Updated: 6 months ago

 In https://factcheck.vlaanderen/factcheck/veganistisch-dieet-kinderen-supplementen-opvolging-gevaarlijk the question is raised if Veganism for children is dangerous, and it could be, the article claims. In https://www.gezondheidenwetenschap.be/gezondheid-in-de-media/vegetarisch-eten-vertraagt-de-groei-van-jonge-kinderen-niet, written by nutritionist, a vegan diet has no negative effect. The scientist doesn't mention any other scientific work that matches the topic, like https://scholar.google.nl/scholar?q=vegan+children&hl=en&as_sdt=0&as_vis=1&oi=scholart We still think applicant met the criteria because the majority of the articles followed them. We do think conflicting information from different teams on the same topic should be avoided.


done_all 5.4 marked as Compliant by Henk van Ess.

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.

Henk van Ess Assessor
04-Jul-2022 (6 months ago) Updated: 5 months ago

After changes in website, the applicant meets this criterion now.


done_all 5.5 marked as Compliant by Henk van Ess.

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.vlaanderen
23-Aug-2021 (1 year ago) Updated: 1 year ago

We encourage our readers to submit a claim in the section where we explain what we fact check: https://factcheck.vlaanderen/werkwijze 

Here you can find an example of an article where we have fact checked a claim that was sent by a reader: https://factcheck.vlaanderen/factcheck/fitnesscentra-geen-belangrijke-besmettingshaarden-voor-covid19                            

factcheck.vlaanderen
25-Jul-2022 (6 months ago) Updated: 6 months ago

We encourage our readers to submit a claim in the section where we explain what we fact check: https://factcheck.vlaanderen/werkwijze We've now highlighted this by adding a caption.

Here you can find an example of an article where we have fact checked a claim that was sent by a reader: https://factcheck.vlaanderen/factcheck/fitnesscentra-geen-belangrijke-besmettingshaarden-voor-covid19                 

We now also encourage submitting claims on our homepage next to our contact info below.

Following your remarks, we decided to discontinue providing hyperlinks to 'Gezondheid & Wetenschap'. Third party fact checks are no longer shown on our website.           

Henk van Ess Assessor
04-Jul-2022 (6 months ago) Updated: 5 months ago

There is no separate section where readers are specifically asked to send in their own suggestions. There is no section that explains that up to 90% of the fact checks are health and science related.


done_all 5.6 marked as Compliant by Henk van Ess.

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.vlaanderen
23-Aug-2021 (1 year ago) Updated: 1 year ago

You can find this under section 'Ons correctiebeleid’ on the following page: https://factcheck.vlaanderen/werkwijze

factcheck.vlaanderen
25-Jul-2022 (6 months ago)

You can find this under section 'Ons correctiebeleid’ on the following page: https://factcheck.vlaanderen/werkwijze

Henk van Ess Assessor
04-Jul-2022 (6 months ago) Updated: 5 months ago

There was no information where to complain about articles from third party Gezondheid en Wetenschap. Applicant removed all links to Gezondheid en Wetenschap.



done_all 6.1 marked as Compliant by Henk van Ess.

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

Henk van Ess Assessor
04-Jul-2022 (6 months ago) Updated: 6 months ago

This concerns 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.  Applicant meets the criterium, because they claim:


We are transparent about any corrections or adjustments to our own fact checks. We will correct our articles in the cases below.

- When the article contains matters that go against our way or do not prove in a demonstrable way

- If there is a lack of evidence which contradicts the conclusion or provides for a necessary supplement to it

An orange text field at the top of the article makes clear what was modified along with the date of the customization.

Do you have complaints, remarks or did you see something that is not quite right or is still missing? Let us know by emailing info@factcheck.vlaanderen. Please add accurate evidence with reference to the primary source.


done_all 6.2 marked as Compliant by Henk van Ess.

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.vlaanderen
23-Aug-2021 (1 year ago) Updated: 10 months ago

In case of corrections, an orange text box at the top of the article makes it clear when and what has been changed or added. For example, we have changed the conclusion and added an extra section to a factcheck after receiving a remark from a reader by e-mail: https://factcheck.vlaanderen/factcheck/pcr-test-blijft-betrouwbaar-kleine-kans-op-vals-positieven

For another factcheck, we were made aware that, several months after publishing, more recent data was available relevant to the claim. We have added the updated data in the article: https://factcheck.vlaanderen/factcheck/dagelijks-7-hectare-bebouwde-percelen-erbij-in-2018 

"Here is a more recent example of an article to which we included additional information, with an indication of what and when was added: https://factcheck.vlaanderen/factcheck/enkel-wie-overlijdt-aan-covid19-wordtalscorona-overlijdengeteld "

Henk van Ess Assessor
04-Jul-2022 (6 months ago) Updated: 6 months ago

Criteria is met.


done_all 6.3 marked as Compliant by Henk van Ess.

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.vlaanderen
23-Aug-2021 (1 year ago) Updated: 1 year ago

n/a

Henk van Ess Assessor
04-Jul-2022 (6 months ago) Updated: 6 months ago

not applicable 


done_all 6.4 marked as Compliant by Henk van Ess.

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.vlaanderen
23-Aug-2021 (1 year ago) Updated: 1 year ago

n/a

factcheck.vlaanderen
25-Jul-2022 (6 months ago) Updated: 6 months ago

n/a


We are not the fact-checking unit of a media company.

Henk van Ess Assessor
04-Jul-2022 (6 months ago) Updated: 5 months ago

Applicant has no link to a honest and open corrections policy because they are not the fact-checking unit of a media company.


done_all 6.5 marked as Compliant by Henk van Ess.