Ferret Fact Service

Organization: Ferret Fact Service
Applicant: Alastair Brian
Assessor: Raymond Joseph

Background

Ferret Fact Service (FFS) is the fact-checking unit of The Ferret, an award-winning investigative journalism platform. The Ferret is a Co-operative Society and is registered in the UK in terms of the Co-operative and Community Benefit Societies Act of 2014.

FFS’s previous IFCN accreditation lapsed in July 2021 and this application is to seek new accreditation.

The fact-checking unit was launched in April 2017 with a grant from the Google Digital News Initiative. It deals exclusively with fact-checking and is funded through subscriptions to The Ferret.

FFS was launched “to fill a gap in fact-checking in Scotland, particularly after the Scottish Independence referendum and the Brexit vote, and we remain the only non-partisan fact-checker in the country,” FFS says in this application.

As a registered co-operative, The Ferret reserves places on its board for both journalists and subscribers. Its members are part owners of the project.

The Ferret – and by extension FFS - displays an impressive degree of transparency with regard to its finances by publishing comprehensive details of its sources of income and its expenditure, as well as linking to all its statutory financial reporting.

With its limited resources, much of FFS’s fact-checking over the past two years has been focused on Covid-19, but not exclusively. It also regularly does fact-checks of parties and politicians and issues from across Scotland’s political spectrum. It also checks statements from pundits and prominent public figures on a range of issues relevant to its audience. From time to time, it also fact-checks viral claims, hoaxes and memes that are widely shared on social media but do not come from a specific person.

Assessment Conclusion

Ferret Fact Service is doing an impressive job with - what appears to be - relatively limited resources and meets the necessary criteria for IFCN accreditation.

on 04-Jan-2022 (4 months ago)

Raymond Joseph assesses application as Compliant

A short summary in native publishing language

See background

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.

Ferret Fact Service
29-Sep-2021 (7 months ago)

About The Ferret's status as registered co-operative https://theferret.scot/about-us/

Evidence of Ferret Fact Service organisation - https://theferret.scot/about-us/ and https://theferret.scot/ferret-fact-service/

Attached evidence of co-operative status.

Files Attached
FCA co-operative evi... (86 KB)
Raymond Joseph Assessor
31-Dec-2021 (4 months ago) Updated: 4 months ago

The Ferret is a Co-operative Society and is registered in the UK in terms of the Co-operative and Community Benefit Societies Act of 2014.

"The Ferret is a registered co-operative with places reserved on the board for both journalists and subscribers" - See https://bit.ly/3JztmAu

As a co-operative, its members are part owners of the project

See attached proof of registration

Files Attached
The Ferret FCA co-op... (86 KB)
done_all 1.1 marked as Compliant by Raymond Joseph.

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?

Ferret Fact Service
29-Sep-2021 (7 months ago) Updated: 5 months ago

1. Ferret Fact Service was launched in April 2017 after funding from the Google Digital News Initiative, and is now funded by subscribers to The Ferret. It is part of The Ferret, an investigative journalism platform, but exclusively for fact-checking. We launched to fill a gap in fact-checking in Scotland, particularly after the Scottish Independence referendum and the Brexit vote, and we remain the only non-partisan fact-checker in the country.

2. We have one dedicated fact-checking lead, Alastair Brian, supported by an editorial board. He does not write for The Ferret, only for Ferret Fact Service. Our podcast is co-hosted by Alastair and Sam Goncalves, who works as The Ferret's Digital Engagement Officer.

3. We do regular fact-check articles, explainers, and podcasts, appear on radio and in other media promoting fact-checking, and deliver regular workshops to community groups, students, activists and members of the public. We also develop tools for others to use and teach fact-checking and verification skills.

4. We are developing a new podcast format, as well as exploring multimedia fact-checks, and fact-checks utilising social media platforms such as TikTok and YouTube. We are also developing a media literacy programme aimed at sections of society identified as at special risk from misinformation. 

Raymond Joseph Assessor
31-Dec-2021 (4 months ago) Updated: 4 months ago

1) Ferret Fact Service (FFS) is part of The Ferret, an award-winning investigative fact-checking platform. FFS was launched in April 2017 with a grant from the Google Digital News Initiative and deals exclusively with fact-checking.

"We launched to fill a gap in fact-checking in Scotland, particularly after the Scottish Independence referendum and the Brexit vote, and we remain the only non-partisan fact-checker in the country." (from FFS application).

2) FFS has one dedicated fact-checker, Alastair Brian, who is supported by an editorial board. FFS's podcast is hosted by Brian and Sam Goncalves, The Ferret's digital engagement officer.

3) FFS does fact-checking articles, podcasts and explainers, like The A-Z of Cop 26 )https://bit.ly/3qO3ojP). FFS representatives also appear on radio and in other media to promote fact-checking. They also conduct regular workshops for community groups, students, activists and members of the public. FFS also develops tools for others to use and teach fact-checking and verification skills.

 4) FFS is developing a new podcast format, as well as exploring multimedia fact-checks, and fact-checks utilising social media platforms that include TikTok and YouTube. It is also developing a media literacy programme "aimed at sections of society identified as at special risk from misinformation."


done_all 1.2 marked as Compliant by Raymond Joseph.

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.

Ferret Fact Service
29-Sep-2021 (7 months ago) Updated: 5 months ago
Raymond Joseph Assessor
31-Dec-2021 (4 months ago) Updated: 4 months ago

Criteria met


done_all 1.3 marked as Compliant by Raymond Joseph.

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.

Ferret Fact Service
29-Sep-2021 (7 months ago)

None.

Raymond Joseph Assessor
31-Dec-2021 (4 months ago) Updated: 4 months ago

Criteria met


done_all 1.4 marked as Compliant by Raymond Joseph.

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.

Ferret Fact Service
29-Sep-2021 (7 months ago)

None.

Raymond Joseph Assessor
31-Dec-2021 (4 months ago) Updated: 4 months ago

Not applicable as no such relationships or funding/support exist

See" https://bit.ly/34lTw9F 


done_all 1.5 marked as Compliant by Raymond Joseph.

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.

Ferret Fact Service
29-Sep-2021 (7 months ago)

None

Raymond Joseph Assessor
31-Dec-2021 (4 months ago) Updated: 4 months ago

n/a


done_all 1.6 marked as Compliant by Raymond Joseph.

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.

Ferret Fact Service
29-Sep-2021 (7 months ago) Updated: 5 months ago

These fact checks include a selection of claims we checked in the past year which show a variety of claimants and verdicts.

It includes claims from celebrities, politicians from different sides of the political debate, newspapers, and claims which originated online.

For each check we used the same methodology, which is available on our website here https://theferret.scot/ferret-fact-service

Many of the claims relate to Covid-19, which has been the focus of much of our checking over the last two years, but there are also numerous political claims from different sides.

We believe these checks show that we use an evidential basis for all our claims, no matter where they come from.

https://theferret.scot/fact-check-dawn-butlers-claims-about-boris-johnson/

https://theferret.scot/right-said-fred-vaccine-impact-long-covid-symptoms/

https://theferret.scot/claim-about-new-transgender-guidance-mostly-false/

https://theferret.scot/claim-nigel-farage-about-rnli-taxi-service-false/

https://theferret.scot/covid-19-graphic-shared-john-swinney-mostly-false/

https://theferret.scot/claim-scottish-government-budget-underspent/

https://theferret.scot/boris-johnson-wages-growing-mostly-true/

https://theferret.scot/scotland-lagging-behind-uk-on-vaccines-is-half-true/

https://theferret.scot/nicola-sturgeon-missed-early-covid-19-cobra/

https://theferret.scot/multiple-deaths-covid-19-vaccine-scotland-half-true/


Raymond Joseph Assessor
31-Dec-2021 (4 months ago) Updated: 4 months ago

Over the past two years, Covid-19 has been much of the focus of FFS's fact-checking. But based on some of the fact-checks submitted for this section and a review of others of a political nature that they have done, it is clear that FFS is non-partisan in its fact-checking.

"For each fact-check, we use the same methodology, which is available on our website" See: https://theferret.scot/ferret-fact-service


done_all 2.1 marked as Compliant by Raymond Joseph.

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.

Ferret Fact Service
29-Sep-2021 (7 months ago)

We check statements from politicians, pundits and prominent public figures about issues which you are interested in. Fact checks will also be undertaken on some viral claims, hoaxes and memes which are widely shared on social media but do not come from a specific person.

When we are looking at potential checks, we ask ourselves a few questions to see whether a statement or claim is appropriate for fact checking.

Is it verifiable? We don’t check opinions which are subjective value judgements, entirely speculative, or based on moral or philosophical argument.

Is it likely to be widely seen? We aim to check the veracity of claims which may have an impact on the public debate, and therefore have the potential to mislead a lot of people.

What is the source of the claim? We are more likely to check claims from those who have a significant voice in public debate, such as politicians and public figures.

Is it newsworthy? We want to fact check things which are part of the current conversation, so will focus on current issues as they come up.

Would you hear or read the claim and wonder about it’s veracity? The Ferret Fact Service’s aim is to inform the public, and so we aim to check statements which can be questioned."

https://theferret.scot/ferret-fact-service/

Raymond Joseph Assessor
31-Dec-2021 (4 months ago) Updated: 4 months ago

See "What do we check" and "How do we find fact-checks" https://bit.ly/3qwdUfq 

"From the FFS application: "We check statements from politicians, pundits and prominent public figures about issues which you are interested in. Fact-checks will also be undertaken on some viral claims, hoaxes and memes which are widely shared on social media but do not come from a specific person.

When we are looking at potential checks, we ask ourselves a few questions to see whether a statement or claim is appropriate for fact-checking.

Is it verifiable? We don’t check opinions which are subjective value judgments, entirely speculative or based on moral or philosophical argument.

Is it likely to be widely seen? We aim to check the veracity of claims which may have an impact on the public debate and therefore have the potential to mislead a lot of people.

What is the source of the claim? We are more likely to check claims from those who have a significant voice in public debate, such as politicians and public figures.

Is it newsworthy? We want to fact-check things which are part of the current conversation, so [we] will focus on current issues as they come up.

Would you hear or read the claim and wonder about its veracity? The Ferret Fact Service’s aim is to inform the public, and so we aim to check statements which can be questioned."


done_all 2.2 marked as Compliant by Raymond Joseph.

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.

Raymond Joseph Assessor
31-Dec-2021 (4 months ago) Updated: 4 months ago

Criteria met


done_all 2.3 marked as Compliant by Raymond Joseph.

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.

Raymond Joseph Assessor
31-Dec-2021 (4 months ago) Updated: 4 months ago

Criteria met.


done_all 2.4 marked as Compliant by Raymond Joseph.

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.

Ferret Fact Service
29-Sep-2021 (7 months ago) Updated: 5 months ago

"The Ferret was the first publisher in Scotland to be regulated by Impress, and is also pledged to uphold the principles of the voluntary code of practice for social enterprise in Scotland.

None of our Directors or the people we work with regularly are members of a political party, and we are committed to taking a non-partisan approach to everything we do.

All our stories are reviewed by experienced journalists before they are published, and it is our Reader Directors who review any formal complaints we receive.

We aim to operate as transparently as possible and to this end, we publish public transparency reports to provide our supporters with clear information about our progress and how we use our resources."

https://theferret.scot/about-us/

Ferret Fact Service is non-partisan. This means that we are politically neutral and will not endorse or support any political party.

Additionally, none of our fact-check team are members of Ferret Fact Service is the fact-checking unit of The Ferret, an investigative journalism platform. It is funded through subscriptions to The Ferret.

Available to view through the Ferret Fact Service section of the website. https://theferret.scot/ferret-fact-service/

Full list of funders to The Ferret is available here. https://theferret.scot/transparency/

"None of our fact-check team are members of any political party and we do not accept donations from political parties, or any organisation that seeks to influence our editorial independence."

https://theferret.freshdesk.com/support/solutions/articles/43000575786-does-ferret-fact-service-support-any-political-parties-

Available to view through the Help and support section of the website. 

Raymond Joseph Assessor
31-Dec-2021 (4 months ago) Updated: 4 months ago

From FFS application: "The Ferret was the first publisher in Scotland to be regulated by Impress - https://bit.ly/3zfR0gE - and is also pledged to uphold the principles of the voluntary code of practice for social enterprise in Scotland.

None of our Directors or the people we work with regularly are members of a political party, and we are committed to taking a non-partisan approach to everything we do.

All our stories are reviewed by experienced journalists before they are published, and it is our Reader Directors who review any formal complaints we receive.

We aim to operate as transparently as possible and to this end, we publish public transparency reports to provide our supporters with clear information about our progress and how we use our resources."

See: https://bit.ly/3JztmAu 

And: "Ferret Fact Service is non-partisan. This means that we are politically neutral and will not endorse or support any political party.

Ferret Fact Service is the fact-checking unit of The Ferret, an award-winning investigative journalism platform. It is funded through subscriptions to The Ferret.

See: https://bit.ly/3EJKaRk


done_all 2.5 marked as Compliant by Raymond Joseph.

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.

Raymond Joseph Assessor
31-Dec-2021 (4 months ago) Updated: 4 months ago

Criteria met


done_all 3.1 marked as Compliant by Raymond Joseph.

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.

Raymond Joseph Assessor
31-Dec-2021 (4 months ago) Updated: 4 months ago

Criteria met


done_all 3.2 marked as Compliant by Raymond Joseph.

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.

Raymond Joseph Assessor
31-Dec-2021 (4 months ago) Updated: 4 months ago

Criteria met


done_all 3.3 marked as Compliant by Raymond Joseph.

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.

Raymond Joseph Assessor
31-Dec-2021 (4 months ago) Updated: 4 months ago

Criteria met


done_all 3.4 marked as Compliant by Raymond Joseph.

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.

Ferret Fact Service
29-Sep-2021 (7 months ago) Updated: 5 months ago

Ferret Fact Service is the fact-checking unit of The Ferret, an investigative journalism platform. It is funded through subscriptions to The Ferret.

Available to view through the Ferret Fact Service section of the website. https://theferret.scot/ferret-fact-service/

Full list of funders to The Ferret is available here. https://theferret.scot/transparency/

Also available to view through the Help and Support section of the website.

Raymond Joseph Assessor
31-Dec-2021 (4 months ago) Updated: 4 months ago

Ferret Fact Service is the fact-checking unit of The Ferret, an investigative journalism platform. FFS is funded through subscriptions to The Ferret

The Ferret  publishes comprehensive details of its income - and sources of this income - and expenditure here: https://bit.ly/3mXgslV 


done_all 4.1 marked as Compliant by Raymond Joseph.

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.

Ferret Fact Service
29-Sep-2021 (7 months ago)
Raymond Joseph Assessor
31-Dec-2021 (4 months ago) Updated: 4 months ago

From The Ferret's website "In Spring 2017 we launched Scotland’s first fact-checking service, Ferret Fact Service." - See heading "Ferret Fact Service" https://bit.ly/3JztmAu 

And: "The Ferret is a registered co-operative with places reserved on the board for both journalists and subscribers." - See https://bit.ly/3JztmAu


Files Attached
FFS FCA co-operative... (86 KB)
done_all 4.2 marked as Compliant by Raymond Joseph.

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.

Ferret Fact Service
29-Sep-2021 (7 months ago)

"After interpreting and evaluating the evidence we give each of our Ferret Fact Service checks a final rating. While this verdict is the final assessment of just how truthful we find the statement to be, it should be taken along with the evidence in the full check and our accompanying analysis.

The decision on how to rate a claim is taken by the Ferret Fact Service editorial panel, which is made up of the fact checker along with two editors, who will review each article and suggest edits or changes. So you can be sure that a claim has been cross-checked by at least two other people."

https://theferret.scot/ferret-fact-service/

"All our stories are reviewed by experienced journalists before they are published, and it is our Reader Directors who review any formal complaints we receive."

https://theferret.scot/about-us/

Raymond Joseph Assessor
31-Dec-2021 (4 months ago) Updated: 4 months ago

Organisational structure: See https://bit.ly/3JztmAu 

"After interpreting and evaluating the evidence we give each of our Ferret Fact Service checks a final rating. While this verdict is the final assessment of just how truthful we find the statement to be, it should be taken along with the evidence in the full check and our accompanying analysis.

The decision on how to rate a claim is taken by the Ferret Fact Service editorial panel, which is made up of the fact checker along with two editors, who will review each article and suggest edits or changes. So you can be sure that a claim has been cross-checked by at least two other people."

https://theferret.scot/ferret-fact-service/

"All our stories are reviewed by experienced journalists before they are published, and it is our Reader Directors who review any formal complaints we receive."

https://theferret.scot/about-us/


done_all 4.3 marked as Compliant by Raymond Joseph.

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.

Ferret Fact Service
29-Sep-2021 (7 months ago)
Raymond Joseph Assessor
31-Dec-2021 (4 months ago) Updated: 4 months ago

done_all 4.4 marked as Compliant by Raymond Joseph.

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.

Ferret Fact Service
29-Sep-2021 (7 months ago)

https://theferret.scot/contact/

https://theferret.scot/faqs/

At the bottom of each fact check

"Ferret Fact Service (FFS) is a non-partisan fact checker, working to the International Fact-Checking Network fact-checkers’ code of principles. All the sources used in our checks are publicly available and the FFS fact-checking methodology can be viewed here. Want to suggest a fact check? Email us at factcheck@theferret.scot or join our Facebook group."

Raymond Joseph Assessor
31-Dec-2021 (4 months ago) Updated: 4 months ago

There are a variety of ways to contact FFS. See https://bit.ly/3FJ5doJ 

Significantly, they explain to anyone who wishes to leak information how to go about this, including suggesting a variety of free, safe tools to use. Considering the risks that people leaking information face, especially whistleblowers within public and private bodies, I highly recommend that other fact-checking organisations follow FFS lead on explaining how to leak information safely.


done_all 4.5 marked as Compliant by Raymond Joseph.

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.

Ferret Fact Service
29-Sep-2021 (7 months ago)
Raymond Joseph Assessor
31-Dec-2021 (4 months ago) Updated: 4 months ago

done_all 5.1 marked as Compliant by Raymond Joseph.

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.

Raymond Joseph Assessor
31-Dec-2021 (4 months ago) Updated: 4 months ago

Criteria met


done_all 5.2 marked as Compliant by Raymond Joseph.

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.

Raymond Joseph Assessor
31-Dec-2021 (4 months ago) Updated: 4 months ago

Criteria met


done_all 5.3 marked as Compliant by Raymond Joseph.

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.

Raymond Joseph Assessor
31-Dec-2021 (4 months ago) Updated: 4 months ago

Criteria met


done_all 5.4 marked as Compliant by Raymond Joseph.

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.

Raymond Joseph Assessor
31-Dec-2021 (4 months ago) Updated: 4 months ago

Criteria met


done_all 5.5 marked as Compliant by Raymond Joseph.

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.

Ferret Fact Service
29-Sep-2021 (7 months ago)

Every fact check has a section at the bottom encouraging readers to send in suggestions to our factcheck@theferret.scot email.

We also regularly solicit fact check suggestions through our social media platforms and our Facebook group, as well as our 'ideas' site https://ideas.theferret.scot/ which anyone can join. We also receive fact check suggestions face-to-face through our workshops and talks around Scotland.

Our methodology page makes clear what we can and cant fact check. This is linked in each fact check. https://theferret.scot/ferret-fact-service/

Raymond Joseph Assessor
31-Dec-2021 (4 months ago) Updated: 4 months ago

FFS's previous IFCN accreditation lapsed in July 2021 and this application is to seek new accreditation.

Every fact-check has a section under it (see below) encouraging readers to submit fact-check suggestions to FFS. It also links to FFS's fact-checking methodology and how they choose what to fact-check. FFS also makes it clear that they work within the IFCN's code of principles. (They have stated that they will reinstate the requisite links to the IFCN's code of principles and complaints procedure on their website their application is successful)

"Ferret Fact Service (FFS) is a non-partisan fact checker, working to the International Fact-Checking Network fact-checkers code of principles. All the sources used in our checks are publicly available and the FFS fact-checking methodology can be viewed here. (https://bit.ly/3qwdUfq). Want to suggest a fact check? Go to https://ideas.theferret.scot/  email us at factcheck@theferret.scot or join our Facebook group. (https://www.facebook.com/groups/ferretunderground/)

FFS also regularly solicits fact check suggestions through its social media platforms and Facebook group, as well as its 'ideas' site https://ideas.theferret.scot/ which anyone can join. FFS also receives fact-check suggestions through its workshops and talks around Scotland.

The methodology page makes clear what FFS can and can't fact-check. 

"Is it verifiable? We don’t check opinions which are subjective value judgments, entirely speculative, or based on moral or philosophical argument." - See "What do we check": https://bit.ly/3qwdUfq


done_all 5.6 marked as Compliant by Raymond Joseph.

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.

Ferret Fact Service
29-Sep-2021 (7 months ago) Updated: 5 months ago

While we strive for accuracy in every Ferret Fact Service check, we are only human.

Occasionally we may make errors, and if so we will say so.

If you think you have spotted a factual error in one of our checks, please email us via factcheck@theferret.scot. Our editorial committee will assess your query, and if we decide that an minor edit is needed we will add a correction note. If the correction necessitates a change to our verdict, we will also note the change via our social media channels.

There may also be occasions where new information comes to light which could alter the conclusion of a fact check. If so, we may update the article to reflect the change, but the fact checks should be seen as an assessment of veracity at the time of its completion.

Sometimes you may agree with the conclusion we come to and sometimes you may disagree. We encourage you to email us via factcheck@theferret.scot and comment on Facebook and Twitter.

The Ferret has a detailed complaints policy that sets out how to make a complaint about any aspect of our work.

Complaints about the content of our published material are dealt with differently from complaints about other aspects the organisation.

You can find our complaints policy here.

Available to view through the Ferret Fact Service section of the website. https://theferret.scot/ferret-fact-service/

Raymond Joseph Assessor
31-Dec-2021 (4 months ago) Updated: 4 months ago

Complaints and corrections

The Ferret's site has a comprehensive explanation about its corrections and complaints policy, and how to lodge a complaint. This policy is also applicable to FFS: See: https://theferret.scot/complaints/ 

"Complaints policy and procedure of The Ferret

This policy sets out how the Ferret will respond to complaints.

If your complaint is about our published content, it is an editorial complaint. Editorial complaints relate to any material published and controlled by The Ferret.

If your complaint falls out with the Editorial Complaints process, please refer to the Non-Editorial Complaints section at the end of this complaints page.

Editorial Complaints: Our Policy

The Ferret aims to correct substantial errors as soon as possible. Corrections appear on the relevant web page and will clearly explain when they were made and why.

In very limited circumstances, for example, where the correction relates to source protection or sensitive personal material, the editorial committee may decide not to add a correction note to an amended web page.

The Ferret also reports on the complaints it receives to its Independent Regulator IMPRESS. (https://bit.ly/3zfR0gE)

The Ferret reserves the right to amend this policy as required. The Ferret will publish the correct policy. Complaints will be considered against the published policy on the date of receipt of the complaint.

Complaints are made to The Ferret’s Reader Director responsible for legal and standards compliance and a member of The Ferret’s complaints panel. The Reader Director or another member of the complaints panel will look into complaints about articles and online content that The Ferret controls, assessing complaints and queries against the IMPRESS Standards Code.

Before submitting a complaint, you should take steps to understand whether the complaints panel are able to look at your complaint by reading through the Standards Code.

We can only deal with your complaint if you are:

• Personally and directly affected by an alleged breach of the Code

• A representative group affected by an alleged breach of the Code, where there is public interest in your complaint

• A third party seeking to ensure the accuracy of published information.



done_all 6.1 marked as Compliant by Raymond Joseph.

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

Raymond Joseph Assessor
31-Dec-2021 (4 months ago) Updated: 4 months ago

Criteria met


done_all 6.2 marked as Compliant by Raymond Joseph.

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.

Ferret Fact Service
29-Sep-2021 (7 months ago) Updated: 5 months ago

https://theferret.scot/claim-scottish-government-budget-underspent/

Correction: An earlier version of this fact check said the claimed underspend was “nearly half a million”. This has been corrected to “nearly half a billion”. Correction requested on Twitter. 



https://theferret.scot/contraceptive-pill-blood-clot-astrazeneca-vaccine/

Note: This article was updated on 23 March 2021 to clarify that the presence of progestins alongside oestrogen caused increased clotting rates and not the progestins alone.




Raymond Joseph Assessor
31-Dec-2021 (4 months ago) Updated: 4 months ago

Correction: An earlier version, published on July 26, 2021, of this fact check said the claimed underspend was “nearly half a million”. This has been corrected to “nearly half a billion”. Correction requested on Twitter. See https://bit.ly/3eNInAf 

Note: This article was updated on 23 March 2021 to clarify that the presence of progestins alongside oestrogen caused increased clotting rates and not the progestins alone. See: https://bit.ly/332ix8X 


done_all 6.3 marked as Compliant by Raymond Joseph.

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.

Ferret Fact Service
29-Sep-2021 (7 months ago)

The Ferret is not a signatory to the IFCN currently. Our website says we work to the International Fact-Checking Network fact-checkers’ code of principles. We previously had IFCN accreditation until July 2021. We maintain the standards we did when a signatory, and our practices are informed by the IFCN code.

Should we be reaccredited, we will add the disclaimer about users informing the IFCN if they believe we are violating the code.

Raymond Joseph Assessor
31-Dec-2021 (4 months ago) Updated: 4 months ago

The Ferret is not a signatory to the IFCN currently. Our website says we work to the International Fact-Checking Network fact-checkers code of principles. We previously had IFCN accreditation until July 2021. We maintain the standards we did when a signatory and our practices are informed by the IFCN code.

Should we be reaccredited, we will add the disclaimer about users informing the IFCN if they believe we are violating the code.

This is included with other important information below all of FFS's fact-checks publishing since its accreditation expired: "

Ferret Fact Service (FFS) is a non-partisan fact checker, working to the International Fact-Checking Network fact-checkers code of principles."


done_all 6.4 marked as Compliant by Raymond Joseph.

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.

Ferret Fact Service
29-Sep-2021 (7 months ago)
Raymond Joseph Assessor
31-Dec-2021 (4 months ago) Updated: 4 months ago

done_all 6.5 marked as Compliant by Raymond Joseph.