Full Fact

Organization: Full Fact
Applicant: Joël Reland
Assessor: Raymond Joseph
Conclusion and recommendations
on 15-Aug-2018 (1 year ago)

Raymond Joseph wrote:

I was responsible for the original assessment of Full Fact in 2017. At the time I made several recommendations, all of which were implemented (see attachment from FF of steps taken, which I am able to confirm were all done).

I am impressed at the increase in the number of fact-checks Full Fact now does since my first assessment in 2017, with several sometimes being published on a single day

I find the degree of transparency of the organisation and the extent of its documentation of its policies and processes to be most impressive. Many of these, in my opinion, are examples of best practices and I have on occasion pointed to some of them as examples, when making recommendations in other fact-checks I have done.

I particularly commend them on their fact-checking toolkit, which includes educational resources for schools. (https://fullfact.org/toolkit/)

In conclusion, I find Full Fact to be fully complaint with IFCN’s code of conduct. Therefore, I have no hesitation whatsoever in recommending that the IFCN once again give its stamp of approval to Full Fact.

on 15-Aug-2018 (1 year ago)

Raymond Joseph 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.

Raymond Joseph Assessor
15-Aug-2018 (1 year ago) Updated: 1 year ago
Criterion empty.

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.

Full Fact
15-Aug-2018 (1 year ago) Updated: 1 year ago
Raymond Joseph Assessor
15-Aug-2018 (1 year ago) Updated: 1 year ago

The evidence submitted complies with IFCN requirements. 


done_all 1b marked as Fully compliant by Raymond Joseph.

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.

Full Fact
15-Aug-2018 (1 year ago) Updated: 1 year ago

Full Fact is a registered charity (number 1158683) so we are legally required to be ‘objective, ‘balanced’, and to observe ‘strict political neutrality’. http://apps.charitycommission.gov.uk/Showcharity/RegisterOfCharities/CharityFramework.aspx?RegisteredCharityNumber=1158683&SubsidiaryNumber=0

We monitor media, politicians and pressure groups across the political spectrum.

When publishing roundups (multiple claims from a TV show/debate), if we check a claim from a member of the government, we ensure that we also check one from the member of the official opposition (and vice versa). We also ensure that we do not only check claims from one person in a roundup, and aim for balance from across the debate.

Our policy is to attempt to contact the claimant about their evidence before writing.

We link to primary sources for our factual assertions.

We seek guidance from neutral external experts on particularly complex or specialist topics.

We operate a two-tier factchecker process so all articles go through two people. All factchecks and updates/corrections are reviewed by a senior researcher before publication and our director if the topic is politically sensitive.

Reviewing is restricted to experienced factcheckers. Our six week training programme covers statistics, impartiality, polling and surveys, making graphs, and good communication. Please see attached our reviewing checklist, which is not exhaustive.

Factchecks have a standardised claim and conclusion intended to guide not dictate readers’ conclusions.

Examples of our factchecking (which covers roundups, factchecks, live factchecking)

1. https://fullfact.org/event/2017/May/18

2. https://fullfact.org/event/2017/May/16

3. https://fullfact.org/event/2017/May/17

4. https://fullfact.org/health/are-more-people-going-hospital-obesity-related-illnesses/

5. https://fullfact.org/education/are-there-more-children-care-any-time-1980s/

6. https://fullfact.org/health/18-million-gp-appointments-pharmacists/

7. https://fullfact.org/europe/eu-less-important-world-economy/

8. https://fullfact.org/europe/small-businesses-and-brexit/

9. https://fullfact.org/immigration/eu-citizens-brexodus/

10. https://fullfact.org/bbcqt/2018/Mar/08

11. https://twitter.com/search?f=tweets&q=from%3Afullfact%20%23bbcqt&src=typd (Live factchecking)

Raymond Joseph Assessor
15-Aug-2018 (1 year ago) Updated: 1 year ago

Full Fact publishes fact-checks on a very regular basis, sometimes publishing several on a single day. They are well ordered and easy to navigate, with the latest fact-checks published on the Home page. Fact-checks are also categorised under tabs on the Home page for easy reference. Categories include Economy, Health, Crime and Education. There are also separate links to “collections” of fact-checks on immigration and mental health.

Examples of fact checks covering roundups, fact-checks and live fact-checking)

1. Fact-check Conservative Party 2017/2018 manifesto launch https://fullfact.org/event/2017/May/18

2. Labour party manifesto launch fact-check https://fullfact.org/event/2017/May/16

3. Social Democrat manifesto launch https://fullfact.org/event/2017/May/17

4. Are more people being hospitalised for obesity? https://fullfact.org/health/are-more-people-going-hospital-obesity-related-illnesses/

5. Are there more people in care than at any time since the 80s? https://fullfact.org/education/are-there-more-children-care-any-time-1980s/

6. Money is unnecessarily being wasted on GP and A&E visits thttps://fullfact.org/health/18-million-gp-appointments-pharmacists/

7) What did Labour Party members say about anti-Semitism? https://fullfact.org/news/what-did-labour-party-members-say-about-antisemitism/

8) Have house prices risen because of immigration? https://fullfact.org/immigration/have-house-prices-risen-because-immigrants/

9) The UK is one of the three largest economies in Europe https://fullfact.org/economy/uk-largest-economies-eu/

10) Defence spending is 2% of GDP https://fullfact.org/economy/defence-spending/?utm_source=homepage&utm_medium=debates

11. BBC Question Time fact-check https://fullfact.org/bbcqt/2018/Mar/08

12. Live fact-checking via Twitter https://twitter.com/search?f=tweets&q=from%3Afullfact%20%23bbcqt&src=typd


done_all 2a marked as Fully compliant by Raymond Joseph.

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.

Full Fact
15-Aug-2018 (1 year ago) Updated: 1 year ago

We have rigorous safeguards in place to ensure our neutrality. These have been carefully constructed based on advice from our board and examples ranging from Amnesty International to the BBC.

We have a cross-party board of trustees, which has no involvement in day-to-day editorial decisions (these are the responsibility of the Director).

We have strict operating guidelines and because of our charity status we operate within a legal framework that obliges us to be non-partisan (see Charity Commission website: http://apps.charitycommission.gov.uk/Showcharity/RegisterOfCharities/CharityFramework.aspx?RegisteredCharityNumber=1158683&SubsidiaryNumber=0)

Our staff handbook states that staff may not reveal publicly how they vote or express support for any political party, or express a view for or against any policy which is currently a matter of party political debate, including on social media. Actively campaigning for a party or seeking nomination as a party candidate in local or national election, or as an independent, is incompatible with working at Full Fact. All staff must complete a declaration of personal interests before they start work here.

Full Fact does not express opinions on the topics we check. From time to time we express opinions on matters that directly affect our work (such as statistics policy, our experience of using the press regulator, or freedom of information policy).

Supporting attachments sent to factchecknet@poynter.org include our operating guidelines, charitable objects, conflicts of interest policy, staff declaration of personal interests form, and relevant parts of our staff handbook.

See also https://fullfact.org/about/impartiality/

Raymond Joseph Assessor
15-Aug-2018 (1 year ago) Updated: 1 year ago

The organisation has clear policies in place to ensure its neutrality and also to avoid any possible conflicts of interest. Staff are required to sign a “Personal Declaration of Interests”(See a copy attached to the mail sent with this assessment)

From Full Facts’ application for reassessment:

“We have rigorous safeguards in place to ensure our neutrality. These have been carefully constructed based on advice from our board and examples ranging from Amnesty International to the BBC.

We have a cross-party board of trustees, which has no involvement in day-to-day editorial decisions (these are the responsibility of the Director).

We have strict operating guidelines and because of our charity status we operate within a legal framework that obliges us to be non-partisan

Our staff handbook states that staff may not reveal publicly how they vote or express support for any political party, or express a view for or against any policy which is currently a matter of party political debate, including on social media. Actively campaigning for a party or seeking nomination as a party candidate in local or national election, or as an independent, is incompatible with working at Full Fact. All staff must complete a declaration of personal interests before they start work here.

Full Fact does not express opinions on the topics we check. From time to time we express opinions on matters that directly affect our work (such as statistics policy, our experience of using the press regulator, or freedom of information policy).

See also https://fullfact.org/about/impartiality/


done_all 2b marked as Fully compliant by Raymond Joseph.

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.

Full Fact
15-Aug-2018 (1 year ago) Updated: 1 year ago

Please see: "What kind of sources do you use?" in FAQs: https://fullfact.org/about/frequently-asked-questions/

We draw on publicly available information, such as statistics or primary research, to assess the validity of claims. For some topics, such as foreign affairs or defence, there is a lack of independent or unclassified sources, so we are unable to factcheck those claims.

We link to primary sources for all factual assertions. We prefer to link to the data tables, legal document, or relevant page of a PDF report — rather than a press release or summary of a statistical release.

We prefer to link to a specific table rather than a directory of tables, where possible (the user interface of some public information websites does not always allow for as granular a link as we would like). For example, NHS Digital gives only the option of linking directly to a downloadable spreadsheet, or to a directory of spreadsheets, some of which are not relevant to a reader seeking to follow our analysis.

We also use anchor links when linking to parliamentary records, where possible.

Please see also https://fullfact.org/finder/. The finder tool empowers people to do independent research round a topic rather than just following links we provide in a factcheck. It provides a guide to the key sources of information and a brief description of some of the variables each data source would be able to provide, so readers don’t have to navigate blind.

Occasionally we seek information /advice from external experts. We will name them and their organisation (if applicable). We normally quote them for their informed judgement and where relevant provide a primary source.

Raymond Joseph Assessor
15-Aug-2018 (1 year ago) Updated: 1 year ago

See: FAQs "What kind of sources do you use?" https://fullfact.org/about/frequently-asked-questions/

And from their application: “We draw on publicly available information, such as statistics or primary research, to assess the validity of claims. For some topics, such as foreign affairs or defence, there is a lack of independent or unclassified sources, so we are unable to fact-check those claims.

We link to primary sources for all factual assertions. We prefer to link to the data tables, legal document, or relevant page of a PDF report — rather than a press release or summary of a statistical release.

We prefer to link to a specific table rather than a directory of tables, where possible (the user interface of some public information websites does not always allow for as granular a link as we would like). For example, NHS Digital gives only the option of linking directly to a downloadable spreadsheet, or to a directory of spreadsheets, some of which are not relevant to a reader seeking to follow our analysis.

We also use anchor links when linking to parliamentary records, where possible.”

Full Fact have also developed a tool called Finder, that allows users to also do their own research rather than just follow links provided in a fact-check. This is a great research tool that is very useful for journalists and researchers, and they should be commended for this initiative.


done_all 3a marked as Fully compliant by Raymond Joseph.

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.

Full Fact
15-Aug-2018 (1 year ago) Updated: 1 year ago
Raymond Joseph Assessor
15-Aug-2018 (1 year ago) Updated: 1 year ago

The level of transparency on funding is impressive. Comprehensive information is supplied on all of Full Fact’s sources of income, including a simple to understand pie chart that breaks down different revenue streams as a percentage of income https://fullfact.org/about/funding/


done_all 4a marked as Fully compliant by Raymond Joseph.

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.

Full Fact
15-Aug-2018 (1 year ago) Updated: 1 year ago
Raymond Joseph Assessor
15-Aug-2018 (1 year ago) Updated: 1 year ago

Besides comprehensive bios for staff, the organisation’s trustee are all listed with their bios https://fullfact.org/about/our-team/


done_all 4b marked as Fully compliant by Raymond Joseph.

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

Full Fact
15-Aug-2018 (1 year ago) Updated: 1 year ago
Raymond Joseph Assessor
15-Aug-2018 (1 year ago) Updated: 1 year ago

Full fact provides the facility for user feedback and complaints, which includes an explanation of their processes https://fullfact.org/about/feedback/ and a contact page https://fullfact.org/about/contact/


done_all 4c marked as Fully compliant by Raymond Joseph.

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.

Full Fact
15-Aug-2018 (1 year ago) Updated: 1 year ago

Please see our FAQs page (https://fullfact.org/about/frequently-asked-questions). Especially: 1. "How do you factcheck?"; 2. Section entitled "ABOUT FACTCHECKING"; 3. "What kind of sources do you use?"; 4. "Why don't you have ratings?"

Raymond Joseph Assessor
15-Aug-2018 (1 year ago) Updated: 1 year ago

The evidence submitted is compliant with IFCN requirements. 


done_all 5a marked as Fully compliant by Raymond Joseph.

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.

Full Fact
15-Aug-2018 (1 year ago) Updated: 1 year ago

On our contact page, we invite readers to submit claims across multiple platforms, under the heading "Got a claim for us to check?" (https://fullfact.org/about/contact/). This section also explains what claims we are able to check, including a link to our FAQs page for more information on what kind of claims we can check.

Raymond Joseph Assessor
15-Aug-2018 (1 year ago) Updated: 1 year ago

The evidence submitted is compliant with IFCN requirements. 


done_all 5b marked as Fully compliant by Raymond Joseph.

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.

Full Fact
15-Aug-2018 (1 year ago) Updated: 1 year ago
Raymond Joseph Assessor
15-Aug-2018 (1 year ago) Updated: 1 year ago

The evidence submitted is compliant with IFCN requirements. 


done_all 6a marked as Fully compliant by Raymond Joseph.

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

Raymond Joseph Assessor
15-Aug-2018 (1 year ago) Updated: 1 year ago

Full Fact reports corrections on Twitter

https://twitter.com/FullFact/status/926072310976729088

https://twitter.com/FullFact/status/926119270425047040

And this links back to the original story where additional details of the corrections and why it was done are included. https://fullfact.org/economy/are-super-rich-paying-less-income-tax/


done_all 6b marked as Fully compliant by Raymond Joseph.