Ferret Fact Service

Organization: Ferret Fact Service
Applicant: Alastair Brian
Assessor: Michael Wagner
Edits made by the organization after this assessment

IFCN Staff wrote:



Background

 I conducted a reassessment of Fact Ferret’s application after Fact Ferret sought to address several key areas of noncompliance in their original submission. Ferret Fact Service is part of The Ferret and appears to be exclusively designed for fact-checking. The site currently produces fact-checks about the COVID-19 pandemic, though it has done a few fact-checks on other topics earlier in its history. The fact checks are professionally done and do not appear to favor any ideological or partisan point of view. The initial submissions was not compliant on a few matters and Fact Ferret resubmitted their application, altering/updating their website and providing more information to IFCN.

Assessment Conclusion

The revised application meets, in my view, the requirements of the IFCN Application. The application, and, more importantly, Fact Ferret’s website, are much improved. Fact Ferret appears to operate in a professional, non-partisan and transparent manner.

on 28-Jun-2020 (11 months ago)

Michael Wagner assesses application as Compliant

A short summary in native publishing language

...

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
10-Apr-2020 (1 year ago) Updated: 1 year ago

Abut 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
picture_as_pdf The Ferret Media Lim... (336 KB)
Michael Wagner Assessor
29-Apr-2020 (1 year ago) Updated: 1 year ago

The Ferret is a legally registered organization. 


done_all 1.1 marked as Compliant by Michael Wagner.

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
10-Apr-2020 (1 year ago) Updated: 1 year 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-checker, Alastair Brian, supported by an editorial board. He does not write for The Ferret, only for Ferret Fact Service.

3. We do regular fact-check articles, explainers, 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 number of online fact-checking courses, which will be available from our website. We have fact-checked more than 30 claims about coronavirus (Covid-19) and are developing our fact-checking on the virus to include multimedia elements including video and graphics. 

The current pandemic is our sole fact-checking focus at the moment, and we are well-prepared to continue our efforts as the situation develops. Previous to this we have produced hundreds of fact-checks on numerous issues surrounding Scottish and UK politics. 


Michael Wagner Assessor
29-Apr-2020 (1 year ago) Updated: 1 year ago

Ferret Fact Service is part of The Ferret and appears to be exclusively designed for fact-checking. The site currently produces fact-checks about the COVID-19 pandemic, though it has done a few fact-checks on other topics earlier in its history. The applicant notes that the reporter who the applicant's claim does the fact-checks does not do other kinds of reporting as well. The fact-checks do not list the reporter's name but the reporter's name is listed as a fact-checker on the About page. 


done_all 1.2 marked as Compliant by Michael Wagner.

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.

Michael Wagner Assessor
29-Apr-2020 (1 year ago) Updated: 1 year ago

The applicant meets this criteria.


done_all 1.3 marked as Compliant by Michael Wagner.

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.

Michael Wagner Assessor
29-Apr-2020 (1 year ago) Updated: 1 year ago

The applicant meets this criteria. COVD-19 is an important issue related to the well-being of individuals and society.


done_all 1.4 marked as Compliant by Michael Wagner.

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
10-Apr-2020 (1 year ago)

None

Michael Wagner Assessor
29-Apr-2020 (1 year ago) Updated: 1 year ago

The Ferret explains their funding sources on their About page.


done_all 1.5 marked as Compliant by Michael Wagner.

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
10-Apr-2020 (1 year ago) Updated: 1 year ago

None

Michael Wagner Assessor
29-Apr-2020 (1 year ago) Updated: 1 year ago

See above.


done_all 1.6 marked as Compliant by Michael Wagner.

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
10-Apr-2020 (1 year ago) Updated: 1 year ago

These fact checks include a selection of claims we found false or mostly false from across the political spectrum in the last year.

It includes claims from Labour, the Conservatives, the SNP and Liberal Democrats, as well as viral claims which were being used to serve partisan agendas.

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 specific numerical claims, for which we used the same rigorous level of research. 

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

https://theferret.scot/scotland-deficit-3-per-cent-eu/

https://theferret.scot/claim-scotland-pays-out-more-than-gets-back-false/

https://theferret.scot/nicola-sturgeon-violent-crime-fact-check/

https://theferret.scot/scotland-highest-tax-uk-mostly-false/

https://theferret.scot/brexit-party-holyrood-cost-first-minister-fact-check/

https://theferret.scot/scotlands-drug-related-deaths-comparable/

https://theferret.scot/fact-check-jo-swinson-university-govan/

https://theferret.scot/nigel-farage-tweet-scots-coming-to-heel-fake-ffs/

https://theferret.scot/customs-union-eu-deal-brexit/

https://theferret.scot/voting-id-polling-station/

Michael Wagner Assessor
29-Apr-2020 (1 year ago) Updated: 1 year ago

After reviewing more than a dozen fact-checks, I conclude that the verdict reached on fact-checks is not related to who made the claim. First, most claims checked in regards to the corona virus are claims with several claimants as the claims are traveling across the internet. Second, there has not been a focus on checking claims from one major political party or one general political ideological perspective over another. The standards do not appear to change based upon who makes the claim. There are times where the verdict reached is debatable. For example, the question about whether one can get coronavirus twice was rated half true even though the answer to the question, as reported in the story was yes, even though it appears to be rare. Rare is not the same as half true. The reporting appears more consistent with what the site defines as 'mostly true'. If the claim being checked was that many people get coronavirus twice, a half true or even mostly false rating would be merited, but that was not the claim being checked. People can get it twice. 


done_all 2.1 marked as Compliant by Michael Wagner.

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
10-Apr-2020 (1 year ago) Updated: 1 year 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/


Michael Wagner Assessor
29-Apr-2020 (1 year ago) Updated: 1 year ago

The site explains how they select claims to check and that the process does not involve focusing on "any side."


done_all 2.2 marked as Compliant by Michael Wagner.

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.

Michael Wagner Assessor
29-Apr-2020 (1 year ago) Updated: 1 year ago

I'm not sure I haev a basis to make a conclusion on this. I have found no obvious reason to mark non-compliant, but I am not in a position to know whether every sources cited has an entanglement with the company that ought to be highlighted in a fact-check. The Ferret links to primary sources in its fact-checks on a regular basis. These sources appear too be directly relevant to adjudicating the claims, but I am not an expert in Socttish poltiics and business.


done_all 2.3 marked as Compliant by Michael Wagner.

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.

Michael Wagner Assessor
29-Apr-2020 (1 year ago) Updated: 1 year ago

The applicant meets this criteria.


done_all 2.4 marked as Compliant by Michael Wagner.

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
15-May-2020 (1 year ago) Updated: 1 year 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 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 Ferret Fact Service section of the website. 

 

Ferret Fact Service
15-May-2020 (1 year ago) Updated: 1 year 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 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 Ferret Fact Service section of the website. 

 

Michael Wagner Assessor
29-Apr-2020 (1 year ago) Updated: 1 year ago

The Ferret provides a link to a voluntary code of practice and notes on their website that their fact-checkers are not members of a political party, nor will they endorse or support a party. 


done_all 2.5 marked as Compliant by Michael Wagner.

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.

Michael Wagner Assessor
29-Apr-2020 (1 year ago) Updated: 1 year ago

The applicant meets this criteria.


done_all 3.1 marked as Compliant by Michael Wagner.

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.

Michael Wagner Assessor
29-Apr-2020 (1 year ago) Updated: 1 year ago

The applicant regularly uses primary sources when checking claims. Sometimes, the site uses secondary sources, such as a fact-check quoting a BBC report in which a reporter talked to the subject of a fact check who had been rumored to be dead (thus proving the person was not dead), but generally primary sources are cited in fact checks. I have not done my own independent set of fact check reporting for each claim analyzed and so I cannot say for sure whether the primary sources are the "best available" as indicated by the criteria.


done_all 3.2 marked as Compliant by Michael Wagner.

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.

Michael Wagner Assessor
29-Apr-2020 (1 year ago) Updated: 1 year ago

The fact checks conducted by The Ferret regulalry use more than one named source in their stories. Whether they meet the criteria is not something I can definitively identify as I cannot know "where the one source is the only source relevant on the topic." My view, based upon the fact checks I reviewed, is that The Ferret is compliant, but I am not certain whether stories using a single-source to adjudicate the major claim used the *only* relevant source.


done_all 3.3 marked as Compliant by Michael Wagner.

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.

Michael Wagner Assessor
29-Apr-2020 (1 year ago) Updated: 1 year ago

While The Ferret does not identify the government's interest when citing a government official or document as the source, my judgment is The Ferret meets the spirit of this criteria with respect to the sources it cites when checking claims of fact.


done_all 3.4 marked as Compliant by Michael Wagner.

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
15-May-2020 (1 year ago) Updated: 1 year 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. 

Full list of funders to The Ferret is available here.

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



Ferret Fact Service
15-May-2020 (1 year ago) Updated: 1 year 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. 

Full list of funders to The Ferret is available here.

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



Michael Wagner Assessor
29-Apr-2020 (1 year ago) Updated: 1 year ago

The site lists their major funders here: https://theferret.freshdesk.com/support/solutions/articles/43000540524-where-does-the-ferret-get-its-funding-from-

They also are funded by subscriptions.


done_all 4.1 marked as Compliant by Michael Wagner.

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
10-Apr-2020 (1 year ago) Updated: 1 year ago
Michael Wagner Assessor
29-Apr-2020 (1 year ago) Updated: 1 year ago

The applicant meets this criteria.


done_all 4.2 marked as Compliant by Michael Wagner.

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
10-Apr-2020 (1 year ago) Updated: 1 year 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/



Michael Wagner Assessor
29-Apr-2020 (1 year ago) Updated: 1 year ago

The applicant meets this criteria.


done_all 4.3 marked as Compliant by Michael Wagner.

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
10-Apr-2020 (1 year ago) Updated: 1 year ago
Michael Wagner Assessor
29-Apr-2020 (1 year ago) Updated: 1 year ago

The applicant meets this criteria.


done_all 4.4 marked as Compliant by Michael Wagner.

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
10-Apr-2020 (1 year ago) Updated: 1 year 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."

https://theferret.scot/scotland-deficit-3-per-cent-eu/


Michael Wagner Assessor
29-Apr-2020 (1 year ago) Updated: 1 year ago

It is easy for readers of any fact-check to figure out how to contact the editorial team. An email address was provided in every check I examined.


done_all 4.5 marked as Compliant by Michael Wagner.

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
10-Apr-2020 (1 year ago) Updated: 1 year ago
Michael Wagner Assessor
29-Apr-2020 (1 year ago) Updated: 1 year ago

The applicant meets this criteria, though I worry a bit if the distinctions between mostly true, half true and mostly false in terms of how much truth means 'some truth' and what kind of missing information makes something mostly true vs. mostly false.


done_all 5.1 marked as Compliant by Michael Wagner.

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.

Michael Wagner Assessor
29-Apr-2020 (1 year ago) Updated: 1 year ago

The applicant meets this criteria.


done_all 5.2 marked as Compliant by Michael Wagner.

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.

Michael Wagner Assessor
29-Apr-2020 (1 year ago) Updated: 1 year ago

The applicant meets this criteria.


done_all 5.3 marked as Compliant by Michael Wagner.

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.

Michael Wagner Assessor
29-Apr-2020 (1 year ago) Updated: 1 year ago

The applicant meets this criteria.


done_all 5.4 marked as Compliant by Michael Wagner.

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.

Michael Wagner Assessor
29-Apr-2020 (1 year ago) Updated: 1 year ago

The applicant generally meets this criteria, but I do nont recall a time that the applicant appeared to contact the claimant. Usually, the checks I examined involved claims with a wide variety of claimants moving around the web. When specific posts are referenced, it does not appear as though The Ferret made an attempt to contact the poster, though it might not be known who the poster was.


done_all 5.5 marked as Compliant by Michael Wagner.

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
10-Apr-2020 (1 year ago) Updated: 1 year 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, 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.

Michael Wagner Assessor
29-Apr-2020 (1 year ago) Updated: 1 year ago

The applicant meets this criteria.


done_all 5.6 marked as Compliant by Michael Wagner.

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
15-May-2020 (1 year ago) Updated: 1 year 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.

Ferret Fact Service
15-May-2020 (1 year ago) Updated: 1 year 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.

Michael Wagner Assessor
29-Apr-2020 (1 year ago) Updated: 1 year ago

The Ferret describes that they do make corrections; they describe their policy on a complaints page. It might be nice to call that Complaints and Corrections so that it is easier for readers to know the corrections policy in particular.


done_all 6.1 marked as Compliant by Michael Wagner.

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

Michael Wagner Assessor
29-Apr-2020 (1 year ago) Updated: 1 year ago

There is not this level of clarity on the site and there is no way for an assessor to judge whether the process is "adhered to scrupulosuly." Data would be required to show a sample of complaints/claims of error and the process The Ferret underwent to either make a correction or not. Materials offered by The Ferret in 6.3 might speak to this if they are a comprehensive report of requests made for corrections.


cancel 6.2 marked as Request change by Michael Wagner.
Michael Wagner Assessor
11-Jun-2020 (1 year ago)

done_all 6.2 marked as Compliant by Michael Wagner.

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
10-Apr-2020 (1 year ago) Updated: 1 year ago

Ferret Fact Service received one correction request which was upheld. This was from a reader on social media.

A note was added to the bottom of the piece: "An initial version of this fact check referred to public spending “in” Scotland. The wording was amended to refer to spending “for” Scotland on February 13. This change was made in order to reflect the fact that some spending allocated to Scotland in GERS does not take place in Scotland."

https://theferret.scot/claim-scotland-pays-out-more-than-gets-back-false/

We also received a complaint from a reader about this fact check. The complaint was escalated to our regulator, Impress, and was not upheld.

https://theferret.scot/gender-recognition-act-self-identification-fact-check/



Michael Wagner Assessor
29-Apr-2020 (1 year ago) Updated: 1 year ago

The applicant offered evidence about corrections made and a time when a reader complaint was not upheld. The process was an involved one with a clear communication about the decision to support The Ferret's reporting on the matter in question.


done_all 6.3 marked as Compliant by Michael Wagner.

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
15-May-2020 (1 year ago) Updated: 1 year 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 October 2018 when we did not renew due a bout of illness slowing down our fact-checking operation. However we still try to 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.


Ferret Fact Service
15-May-2020 (1 year ago) Updated: 1 year 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 October 2018 when we did not renew due a bout of illness slowing down our fact-checking operation. However we still try to 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.


Michael Wagner Assessor
29-Apr-2020 (1 year ago) Updated: 1 year ago

Presuming The Ferret does what they pledge to do in Criteria 6.4, they would be compliant. 


done_all 6.4 marked as Compliant by Michael Wagner.

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
10-Apr-2020 (1 year ago) Updated: 1 year ago
Michael Wagner Assessor
29-Apr-2020 (1 year ago) Updated: 1 year ago

The applicant meets this criteria.


done_all 6.5 marked as Compliant by Michael Wagner.