France 24 - Les Observateurs

Organization: France 24 - Les Observateurs
Applicant: Derek Thomson
Assessor: Laurent Bigot
Conclusion and recommendations
on 25-Nov-2018 (1 year ago)

Laurent Bigot wrote:

Les Observateurs fact-checks photos and videos sent by people who want to become “observers” or eyewitnesses, from all around the world. This website also contains a distinct fact-checking section that debunks photos and videos from the web and social media. It's partially compliant with only 3 criterions, but respects the main criterions of the IFCN code of ethics.

on 25-Nov-2018 (1 year ago)

Laurent Bigot recommended Accept


Section 1: Organization

Criterion 1a
Proof of registration
Evidence required: Please provide evidence that the signatory is a legally-registered organization set up exclusively for the purpose of fact-checking or the distinct fact-checking project of a recognized media house or research institution.

France 24 - Les Observateurs
02-Nov-2018 (1 year ago)

France 24 is part of the state-owned France Médias Monde media group.

https://www.francemediasmonde.com/en/legal-notice


Laurent Bigot Assessor
11-Nov-2018 (1 year ago) Updated: 1 year ago

Les Observateurs is a distinct fact-checking section of France 24, a legally registered French media outlet. All the evidence of its legal registration are presented in the “Mentions légales” through its RCS number, here: https://www.francemediasmonde.com/fr/legal-notice

And here : https://www.francemediasmonde.com/en/legal-notice


done_all 1a marked as Fully compliant by Laurent Bigot.

Criterion 1b
Archive
Evidence required: Insert a link to the archive of fact checks published in the previous three months. If you do not collect all fact checks in one place, please explain how the fact-checking is conducted by your organization.

Laurent Bigot Assessor
11-Nov-2018 (1 year ago) Updated: 1 year ago

Les Observateurs publish reports about the accuracy of photos and videos. Its fact-checking section is more a debunking section dedicated to fake images and videos .

The signatory publishes reports on a regular basis (once a week over the previous three months), here:

http://observers.france24.com/fr/tag/intox

http://observers.france24.com/en/tag/debunked

http://observers.france24.com/ar/tag/%D8%AE%D8%A8%D8%B1-%D9%83%D8%A7%D8%B0%D8%A8



done_all 1b marked as Fully compliant by Laurent Bigot.

Section 2: Nonpartisanship and Fairness

Criterion 2a
Body of work sample
Evidence required: Please share links to ten fact checks that better represent the scope and consistency of your fact-checking. Provide a short explanation of how your organization strives to maintain coherent standards across fact checks.

France 24 - Les Observateurs
02-Nov-2018 (1 year ago)

We have 10 years of experience in the verification of amateur content, using standard technical methods (reverse image search, Youtube Data Viewer, INVID), but backed up by human verification from our network of 5,000 "Observers" - trusted sources in countries across the world. We use the same standards and procedures regardless of the subject matter, though our techniques of course vary according the specific challenges of the information or document.

Here are some examples:


1. Info ou Intox #1 - Veiled Muslim women collecting benefits in France? NO (video module explaining how to use reverse image search.  

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RG_yH1n5gUI&list=PL6MttmbrzTMTW9-TRDyfPkUP8doAl7NZZ


2. No, images of Khashoggi’s body have not been leaked online

http://observers.france24.com/en/20181025-debunked-jamal-khashoggi-body-photos


3. Migrant caravan faces false accusations as it crosses Mexico

http://observers.france24.com/en/20181023-debunked-migrant-caravan-false-photos


4. Trash everywhere after Paris climate march? Not true…

http://observers.france24.com/en/20180912-debunked-trash-paris-climate-march


5. No, journalists did not stage these images to draw sympathy for migrants

http://observers.france24.com/en/20180827-debunked-media-stage-video-migrants


6. No, people are not eating human flesh in Cameroon

http://observers.france24.com/en/20180706-cameroon-english-speaking-eating-human-flesh-fake


7. A playful video of ducks on a city street is doctored. Should we care?

http://observers.france24.com/en/20180531-ducks-video-manipulated-doctored-debunked


8. No, the Chinese aren’t trying to poison us with plastic eggs

http://observers.france24.com/en/20180504-worry-chinese-really-trying-poison-us-plastic-eggs-fake-news-debunked


9. This video does NOT show ‘Muslims attacking cars in Birmingham’

http://observers.france24.com/en/20180601-video-muslims-debunked-birmingham


10. Syria govt supporters use old video to back false claim that Ghouta atrocities are staged

http://observers.france24.com/en/20180301-syria-supporters-old-video-fake-ghouta-staged



Laurent Bigot Assessor
11-Nov-2018 (1 year ago) Updated: 1 year ago

Les Observateurs selected 10 fact-checks’ links to prove scope and consistency of its work. They demonstrate that their video fact-checks cover a variety of subjects or speakers.


done_all 2a marked as Fully compliant by Laurent Bigot.

Criterion 2b
Nonpartisanship policy
Evidence required: Please share evidence of your policy preventing staff from direct involvement in political parties and advocacy organizations. Please also indicate the policy your organization has as a whole regarding advocacy and supporting political candidates.

France 24 - Les Observateurs
02-Nov-2018 (1 year ago)

The code of standards of France Médias Monde (our parent company - I've sent a copy) has general wording about respecting pluralism and balance of viewpoint (excerpt below... let me know if you'd like a translation:

- Respecter le pluralisme et l’équilibre des points de vue. Le traitement de l’information doit être équitable, honnête et manifester le même niveau d’exigence et d’attention entre les différentes opinions et points de vues qui peuvent s’exprimer sur une même information dans le cadre du respect de l’ordre public, des valeurs de la personne et de la dignité humaine.


Also see this line in The Observers' About page: 

http://observers.france24.com/en/static/about

"The France 24 Observers does not endorse political parties, candidates or programs, and our journalists do not actively engage in political or other forms of advocacy."




Laurent Bigot Assessor
11-Nov-2018 (1 year ago) Updated: 1 year ago

To explain its policies to preserve its non-partisan way of fact-checking claims, Les Observateurs mentions the France Médias Monde code of ethics. This code specifies the independence of the journalists and their staff :

“Respect pluralism and balance of points of view. The processing of information must be fair, honest and show the same level of exigency and attention between the different opinions and points of view that can be expressed on the same information within the framework of the respect of public order , values of the person and human dignity. »

And Les Observateurs' About page specifies :
"The France 24 Observers does not endorse political parties, candidates or programs, and our journalists do not actively engage in political or other forms of advocacy."


Les Observateurs do not seem to support a candidate in any elections nor to advocate or take policy positions on any issues not strictly related to fact-checking. 


done_all 2b marked as Fully compliant by Laurent Bigot.

Section 3: Transparency of Sources

Criterion 3a
Sources Policy
Please share a brief and public explanation (500 words max) of how sources are provided in enough detail that readers could replicate the fact check. If you have a public policy on how you find and use sources for your fact-checking, it should be shared here.

France 24 - Les Observateurs
02-Nov-2018 (1 year ago)

http://observers.france24.com/en/static/about

Pertinent sections:


FACT-CHECKING INFORMATION

To fact-check information from our Observers - especially the first time they contribute - we use traditional journalistic methods. The first time we come into contact with a potential Observer (either they approach us or we approach them), we treat them like any other news source. We crosscheck the information we give them against other sources; we ask for photo or video documentation; we question them closely about their access to the event and motivations for talking to us. We err on the side of caution. We contact pertinent government agencies or other concerned parties. Once an Observer has contributed, they become a trusted source. 

...

VERIFYING IMAGES

We use the following methodology to verify photos/videos sent in by our Observers, whether they say they took them themselves or found them online:

We try to contact the author of the image (if not our Observer).

We check to see whether the image has been previously posted elsewhere (Google Image search, InVID, Amnesty’s YouTube Dataviewer, etc).

We examine the image for signs of manipulation/tampering/photomontage.

We show the image to other Observers with firsthand knowledge of the issue/location.

We show the image to expert sources with knowledge of the issue/location.

We compare the image with published accounts of the same event.

...

DEBUNKED

Our work with amateur contributors has made us experts at verifying images from nontraditional sources. Since 2014 our team of journalists put that expertise to use in a special section called “Debunked.” Our journalists analyze and verify photographs and videos that have been widely shared online, but that may have been faked, manipulated or taken out of context. We explain our fact-checking methodology in each Debunked article, and we further share our expertise with the public, for instance in our detailed online photo/video verification guide.




Laurent Bigot Assessor
11-Nov-2018 (1 year ago) Updated: 1 year ago

The Observateurs’ staff explains their different activities in their "About" section here :
http://observers.france24.com/en/static/about

Les Observateurs' fact-checking work is specific, cause they verify photos and videos of reports sent from all over the world. There's only a part of their work that consist to debunk false informations, in the "Intox" section. It's explained here :
"DEBUNKED

Our work with amateur contributors has made us experts at verifying images from nontraditional sources. Since 2014 our team of journalists put that expertise to use in a special section called “Debunked.” Our journalists analyze and verify photographs and videos that have been widely shared online, but that may have been faked, manipulated or taken out of context. We explain our fact-checking methodology in each Debunked article, and we further share our expertise with the public, for instance in our detailed online photo/video verification guide."

Les Observateurs link regularly to the sources of theirfact-chechecking work… 




done_all 3a marked as Fully compliant by Laurent Bigot.

Section 4: Transparency of Funding & Organization

Criterion 4a
Funding Sources
Evidence required: Please link to the section where you publicly list your sources of funding (including, if they exist, any rules around which types of funding you do or don't accept), or a statement on ownership if you are the branch of an established media organization or research institution.

France 24 - Les Observateurs
02-Nov-2018 (1 year ago)

The FMM group's publicly available "Cahier de Charges" states that:

- FMM is 100%-owned by the French state

- we clearly identify programs that are sponsored


We note any additional funding on our About page: 

"We participate in Facebook's Third-Party Fact-Checking Program, and receive compensation for the work. Participation in the Facebook program does not influence our selection of items to verify." 


Laurent Bigot Assessor
11-Nov-2018 (1 year ago) Updated: 1 year ago

Les Observateurs have no real specific section to detail their sources of funding. In their website, there's a link to explain the founding of their media house, France Médias Monde, here :

https://www.francemediasmonde.com/fr/legal-notice

It states that FMM is 100%-owned by the French state. Les Observateurs and France Médias Monde are part of the French public broadcasting service, like it's explained here :

https://www.legifrance.gouv.fr/eli/decret/2012/1/25/MCCE1132195D/jo/texte

There's no explaination about that in the Observateurs' English and Arabic websites. There's only a text in the French website about all the funding sources :

"The editors of Les Observateurs, as a service of France 24, is part of the France Médias Monde group, wholly owned by the French State. We also receive ad hoc funding from private organizations to support editorial projects. Between April 2016 and April 2017, the funds allocated by the New Venture Fund enabled the editorial staff to finance a full-time journalist position on the project Les Observateurs engage. In 2018, funds allocated by Facebook enabled the editorial staff to finance a full-time journalist position on the Info / Intox project."


done 4a marked as Partially compliant by Laurent Bigot.

Criterion 4b
Staff
Evidence required: Please link to the section detailing all authors and key actors behind your fact-checking project with their biographies. You can also list the name and bios of the members of the editorial board, pool of experts, advisory board, etc. if your organization has those.

France 24 - Les Observateurs
02-Nov-2018 (1 year ago)
Laurent Bigot Assessor
11-Nov-2018 (1 year ago) Updated: 1 year ago

There’s a section (on the Observateurs website) detailing authors behind the project and their biographies, here:

http://observers.france24.com/en/static/about


done_all 4b marked as Fully compliant by Laurent Bigot.

Criterion 4c
Contact
Evidence required: Please link to the section where readers can get in touch with the organization.

France 24 - Les Observateurs
02-Nov-2018 (1 year ago)

Contact page on our site 

http://observers.france24.com/en/static/contact-us


+ Contact info at the end of every weekly TV show. 




Laurent Bigot Assessor
11-Nov-2018 (1 year ago) Updated: 1 year ago

It’s quite easy for readers to contact Les Observateurs: they can use the page called “Nous contacter” or “Contactez-nous” . The link is at the bottom of each page: http://observers.france24.com/fr/static/contactez-nous https://observers.france24.com/en/static/contact-us
It provides a generic e-mail to contact the journalists and a phone number to use Whatsapp (Skype, Gmail, MSN for the Arabic version).


done_all 4c marked as Fully compliant by Laurent Bigot.

Section 5: Transparency of Methodology

Criterion 5a
Detailed Methodology
Evidence required: Please link to a section or article detailing the steps you follow for your fact-checking work.

France 24 - Les Observateurs
02-Nov-2018 (1 year ago)
Laurent Bigot Assessor
11-Nov-2018 (1 year ago) Updated: 1 year ago

Les Observateurs explain their particular methodology to do fact-checking here :
https://observers.france24.com/en/static/about
https://observers.france24.com/fr/static/a-propos

Here are some details : 
"FACT-CHECKING INFORMATION

To fact-check information from our Observers - especially the first time they contribute - we use traditional journalistic methods. The first time we come into contact with a potential Observer (either they approach us or we approach them), we treat them like any other news source. We crosscheck the information we give them against other sources; we ask for photo or video documentation; we question them closely about their access to the event and motivations for talking to us. We err on the side of caution. We contact pertinent government agencies or other concerned parties. Once an Observer has contributed, they become a trusted source. The France 24 Observers does not endorse political parties or candidates or programs.

The France 24 Observers are members of the International Fact-Checking Network (IFCN). We participate in Facebook's Third-Party Fact-Checking Program, and receive compensation for the work. Participation in the Facebook program does not influence our selection of items to verify.

VERIFYING IMAGES

We use the following methodology to verify photos/videos sent in by our Observers, whether they say they took them themselves or found them online:

We try to contact the author of the image (if not our Observer).
We check to see whether the image has been previously posted elsewhere (Google Image search, InVID, Amnesty’s YouTube Dataviewer, etc).
We examine the image for signs of manipulation/tampering/photomontage.

We show the image to other Observers with firsthand knowledge of the issue/location.

We show the image to expert sources with knowledge of the issue/location.

We compare the image with published accounts of the same event.


done_all 5a marked as Fully compliant by Laurent Bigot.

Criterion 5b
Claim submissions
Evidence required: Please link to the page or process through which readers can submit claims to fact-check. If you do not allow this, please briefly explain why.

France 24 - Les Observateurs
02-Nov-2018 (1 year ago)

We have no specific "submit for fact-checking" button on the site. We are in constant contact with our Observers who send us examples of potential fake news via Facebook, email, Whatsapp, etc. 



Laurent Bigot Assessor
11-Nov-2018 (1 year ago) Updated: 1 year ago

There’s no dedicated page to invite readers to submit claims to fact-check on Les Observateurs’ web site.

The staff explains:

“We have no specific "submit for fact-checking" button on the site. We are in constant contact with our Observers who send us examples of potential fake news via Facebook, email, Whatsapp, etc.”

But we can find links called "contribute" ou contribuez"  at the bottom of each page:

https://observers.france24.com/fr/static/contribute-obs

https://observers.france24.com/en/static/contribute-obs


The organization provides no statistics on the frequency of reader-submitted fact checks being published but it makes it clear what readers can legitimately expect will be fact-checked and what isn’t fact-checkable in its "about" section.



done 5b marked as Partially compliant by Laurent Bigot.

Section 6: Open & Honest Corrections Policy

Criterion 6a
Corrections policy
Evidence required: Please link to the page with your policy to address corrections. If it is not public, please share your organization's handbook.

France 24 - Les Observateurs
02-Nov-2018 (1 year ago)

http://observers.france24.com/en/static/about

CORRECTIONS

If we receive pertinent information after the initial publication, we add it to the original article as an update or - if the new information invalidates our original information - as a correction. We are open about our sources and our methodology and publish information only when we are convinced that it is accurate on the basis of the information we have gathered. If we receive new information that changes our conclusions, it is our responsibility to alert our users by publishing any update or correction quickly, clearly and openly. Members of the public who have information relating to the accuracy of our reporting should send it to us! You can find our contact information here. We correct major inaccuracies – those that could change the principal findings of the report - in the opening section of the article concerned, in a paragraph marked “CORRECTION” with the date the correction was published. We correct inaccuracies that do not have a direct bearing on the principal findings of the report at the end of the article, also with a paragraph marked “CORRECTION.”

Laurent Bigot Assessor
11-Nov-2018 (1 year ago) Updated: 1 year ago

Les Observateurs have a public corrections policy, explained here:
https://observers.france24.com/fr/static/a-propos
https://observers.france24.com/en/static/about

"If we receive pertinent information after the initial publication, we add it to the original article as an update or - if the new information invalidates our original information - as a correction. We are open about our sources and our methodology and publish information only when we are convinced that it is accurate on the basis of the information we have gathered. If we receive new information that changes our conclusions, it is our responsibility to alert our users by publishing any update or correction quickly, clearly and openly. Members of the public who have information relating to the accuracy of our reporting should send it to us! You can find our contact information here. We correct major inaccuracies – those that could change the principal findings of the report - in the opening section of the article concerned, in a paragraph marked “CORRECTION” with the date the correction was published. We correct inaccuracies that do not have a direct bearing on the principal findings of the report at the end of the article, also with a paragraph marked “CORRECTION.”"

France Médias Monde, parent company of France 24, has got is own code of standards, that outlines (their) correction policy: published errors shall be corrected and the right of response accorded to those who claim it.”


done_all 6a marked as Fully compliant by Laurent Bigot.

Criterion 6b
Examples of corrections
Evidence required: Please provide two examples of a correction made, or correction requests handled, in the past year.

Laurent Bigot Assessor
11-Nov-2018 (1 year ago) Updated: 1 year ago

Les Observateurs have two examples of implementation of its correction policy to provide:
http://observers.france24.com/en/20180508-horse-massacres-pressure-iran-border-guards

http://observers.france24.com/en/20180827-giant-sinkhole-drought-iran-Hamadan

But there's no public page listing all corrections made.


done 6b marked as Partially compliant by Laurent Bigot.