The IFCN welcomes new applications to its Code of Principles beginning Jan. 16, 2024. Our website is currently under renovation, so new signatories should begin the application process by emailing their interest to info@ifcn.org with "New Signatory" in the subject line.

Factual.ro

Organization: Funky Citizens
Applicant: Elena Calistru
Assessor: Ciprian Cucu

Background

Factual is a fact checking platform established as a specialized unit under Funky Citizens - a known and well-respected non-profit, non-governmental organization.

Assessment Conclusion

Factual has proven they are committed to following the IFCN Code of Principles, have correctly provided requested information, and are very active, focusing on verifying statements from political leaders as well as social media posts that have the potential to become viral.  

on 15-Oct-2023 (4 months ago)

Ciprian Cucu assesses application as Compliant

A short summary in native publishing language

Factual este un proiect de verificare a informațiilor organizat ca o unitate distinctă în cadrul Funky Citizens, o cunoscută organizație non-guvernamentală activă în domeniul educației și implicării civice.

Factual aderă la principiile IFCN, fiind transparentă, nepartinică și activă, focalizată pe verificarea declarațiilor liderilor politici, dar și pe verificarea unor postări social media cu potențial de viralizare. 

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.

Funky Citizens
31-Jul-2023 (7 months ago) Updated: 7 months ago

Our about page (https://www.factual.ro/despre/) is populated with the most relevant information one would need in order to find out more about our fact-checking operation and the organization behind it, namely Funky Citizens (including a link to a dedicated page with proof that we are a legally registered entity as an association/ non-profit under Romanian legislation). This section also contains information on grants received, the team behind the project and Factual's affiliations. 

Files Attached
picture_as_pdf Extras RAF Funky Cit... (206 KB) RO_Fiscal_registrati... (739 KB)
Ciprian Cucu Assessor
09-Oct-2023 (4 months ago) Updated: 4 months ago

Factual.ro functions as a distinct team under a well known Romanian NGO called Funky Citizens, registered according to Romanian law. The link provided details how the project was started and how it evolved. A link to the main NGO page is provided, where registration data is presented.


done_all 1.1 marked as Compliant by Ciprian Cucu.

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?

Funky Citizens
31-Jul-2023 (7 months ago) Updated: 7 months ago

1. Factual.ro was founded in May 2014 as a response to the changing political and civic landscape in Romania, especially in the way which these changes were perceived by young adults. It thus became the first political fact-checking operation in the country. Factual.ro was founded by a team of young professionals, but later on was taken under the formal umbrella of Funky Citizens, a non-profit founded in 2012. Two of the founders of Factual.ro are to this day members of Funky Citizens' board. 


2. Factual.ro functions as an independent unit inside Funky Citizens, with its own two editors-in-chief and editorial staff totalling 12 individuals, including a part-time role of monitoring the media for fact-checkable statements. and the contribution of Funky Citizens' communication team. Factual.ro would not be possible without the deluxe volunteers that make up our pool of experts, with whom we constantly run peer reviews for our articles or ask for guidance in researching and debunking claims (e.g.. in terms of reliable sources). The names of all he people involved, including the aforementioned experts, are available on the website, in the "about" section.

3. Factual's main focus was, for most of its existence, classic fact-checking work, namely contextualizing and verifying political claims. In the previous years, we have expanded upon blog posts (https://blog.factual.ro/), in which we tackle narratives that aren't linked to only one statement, but represent a trend or concern in the society and have also experimented with different formats and products that represent different iteration of Factual's mission, such as electoral programme verification (see our evaluation of electoral programmes during the last elections here: https://www.factual.ro/programe-electorale-locale-2020/, for previous European Parliament Elections here: https://www.factual.ro/europarlamentare/, an analysis on the Government's performance here: https://guvernometru.factual.ro/), all endeavours we wish to continue for the next cycle of elections to come. Factual has also experimented with video formats, such as the materials produced during the pandemic, as a weekly show (https://www.factual.ro/fake/) or  documentary-style materials (see our collaboration on combatting anti-Western propaganda with NATO, here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ua982KEcxf0). 

Factual has tackled a other topics of interest for the general public, such as climate change misinformation, thanks to a dedicated grant by Poynter Institute: https://www.factual.ro/proiecte-speciale/combatem-dezinformarea-din-jurul-tranzitiei-la-o-economie-verde/ 

Our ongoing project led by DPA includes visual formatting (visual posts, videos) of the fact-checks produced by Factual in such a manner that will be more accessible to the public; here, Factual joins fact-chekcing outlets from 8 other countries: https://www.dpa-shop.com/en/shop/product-category/dpa-fact-graphics/ 

Factual is also a part of different consortia, such as European Digital Media Observatory, where we contribute to monthly reports and newsletters (https://edmo.eu/2023/07/20/best-of-fact-checking-map-july-23/) and the Bulgarian-Romanian Observatory of Digital Media (https://brodhub.eu/ro/), where we publish content alongside our Romanian and Bulgarian partners. 

Since July 2022, Factual is a third-party fact-checker in the fact-checking program run by Meta and checks posts with potentially misleading content on Facebook and Instagram. The articles resulted from scrutinizing social media can be found here https://factual.ro/dezinformare/, whilst the announcement and the methodology were published here: https://blog.factual.ro/factual-se-alatura-programului-de-fact-checking-al-meta/ 

4. Since in 2024 Romania will experience all rounds of elections (EP, local, general, presidential) in the span of about 6 months, most of our efforts will be directed towards combating disinformation linked to electoral campaigns. Funky Citizens is part of a number of countering disinformation initiatives that cover Romania and some of its neighbours (Moldova, Bulgaria) and include trainings and mentorship, thus Factual's efforts are strengthen and amplified for the foreseeable future. 




Ciprian Cucu Assessor
09-Oct-2023 (4 months ago) Updated: 4 months ago

The start of Factual (in 2014) and its subsequent evolution are presented in the response and on the official website. The "about" page of factual.ro lists the people working for the factchecking unit (part of the parent organization Funky Citizens, a civic NGO), mentioning their role in the team. 

Factual was set up to fact check statements from political leaders, but evolved to verify other claims, focusing on those that draw significant attention in the media (or social media). Factual has also ran projects that are not specifically focused on fact-checking such as evaluating electoral programs around the 2020 elections, but such projects are only a small part of the activity.

The plan for the next year is relevant, as Romania will face all types of elections in 2024 and mis- and disinformation will pose a significant threat to having free and fair elections where people can make informed choices.


done_all 1.2 marked as Compliant by Ciprian Cucu.

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.

Funky Citizens
31-Jul-2023 (7 months ago) Updated: 7 months ago

Since the beginning of the year, Factual has published 232 fact checks. Please find attached a spreadsheet of all published articles from January 1, 2023 to July 31, 2023. 

Files Attached
description 2023 Jan-Jul FACTUAL... (94 KB)
Ciprian Cucu Assessor
09-Oct-2023 (4 months ago) Updated: 4 months ago

Factual.ro is very active, especially in regard to social media mis- and disinformation, a category visible here: https://www.factual.ro/dezinformari-retele-sociale/

The document attached lists all the factchecks from 1 January 2023 to 31 July 2023, totaling 232 factchecks, spread relatively even across months/weeks.


done_all 1.3 marked as Compliant by Ciprian Cucu.

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.

Funky Citizens
31-Jul-2023 (7 months ago) Updated: 7 months ago

Our mission is to verify impactful claims, keeping in mind the topics encountered by the general public. Thus, our agenda is set by what public discourse is trending - including narratives that spread via social media. Sometimes, there is a need to elaborate on certain topics that are of interest, such as the disinformation linked to climate change or overarching narratives that deserve a more detailed narrative, i.e. the 15-minute city. In such cases, we either highlight the topic or we create detailed analyses as blogposts. Please find attached a spreadsheet with all fact-checks published over the course of the last three months, which totals 119 texts. 

Files Attached
description 2023 May-Jul FACTUAL... (67 KB)
Ciprian Cucu Assessor
09-Oct-2023 (4 months ago) Updated: 4 months ago

Factual addresses statements by political leaders, social media posts by influencers and special topics, such as climate change. All categories are relevant, either concerning information needed by Romanian citizens to inform their political decisions, or concerning understanding of world events in an attempt to curb the proliferation of conspiracy theories such as "chemtrails", COVID being spread from pest-control trucks etc. 


done_all 1.4 marked as Compliant by Ciprian Cucu.

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.

Funky Citizens
31-Jul-2023 (7 months ago) Updated: 7 months ago

We are proudly independent, with no strings attached and no funds received from political actors, politicians or state actors for Factual.ro. The platform has a distinct team, formally placed under the organizational umbrella of Funky Citizens, a well-established non-profit active in the fields of good governance, transparency, civic education, with an excellent track record. Funky Citizens participates to call for proposals from institutions like the European Commission, but they are competitive ones.

We have outlined our policy when it comes to neutrality and non-partisanship: https://blog.factual.ro/politica-de-neutralitate/ 

Our core principles are as follows:

  • We are not partisan. We are independent, equidistant and honest.
  • We are transparent with our sources and have various standards regarding them.
  • We are transparent about our funding and organizational affiliation.
  • We have a transparent methodology that we follow.
  • We have an honest and transparent corrections policy.


Because we advocate transparency as a principle, one of the pieces of information we share by default on our About page is the one pertaining to all funding sources we have received so far. There are two types of sources of funding: 

1) individual donations from citizens and 

2) specific grants.

As far as grants are concerned, please consult the list below for details on the previous fiscal year:

  • In 2022, The Poynter Institute for Media funded the IFCN Climate Misinformation project with USD 47,465. 
  • In 2023, the European Union via the Digital Europe Programme funded the Bulgarian-Romanian Observatory of Digital Media, a larger project which includes entities from Romania and Bulgaria - our share for the entire 30-month duration of the project is EUR 120,054 EU funding and EUR 120,054 self-funding.
  • In 2023, the European Media and Information Fund financed the project "Boosting Fact-Checking Activities in Europe" carried out by the Deutsche Press Agentur (DPA) in the amount of EUR 69,986. The 10-month project allows Factual and other partners to create checks in a novel visual format called Fact Graphics.


As of now, Factual receives individual donations via Pateron from 23 subscribers each month, totalling USD 124. Via its economic contract with Meta, Factual has received USD 51,200 since the summer of 2022.


Ciprian Cucu Assessor
09-Oct-2023 (4 months ago) Updated: 4 months ago

Both the fact-checking unit (Factual) and the parent organization (Funky Citizens) have no relationship to local or foreign state or political actors. 

Funding comes mostly from various grant programs but also from individual donations (Patreon). Some of the grants are funded by foreign embassies (US embassy, Dutch embassy), but they are competitive grants that ensure editorial independence.


done_all 1.5 marked as Compliant by Ciprian Cucu.

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.

Funky Citizens
31-Jul-2023 (7 months ago) Updated: 7 months ago

Factual's policy does not allow for any political funding; all funds received are listed on our About page, here: https://www.factual.ro/despre/

As for funding received from foreign states, which are listed on the About page as well, they are as follows:

  • The Embassy of the Kingdom of the Netherlands from a specific project - the Fake News Bulletin  
  • The US Embassy, for a project on involving young people in fact-checking.
  • The Swiss Government, through the Civic Innovation Fund 
Ciprian Cucu Assessor
09-Oct-2023 (4 months ago) Updated: 4 months ago

Some of the grants that the parent organization of Factual has applied for are provided by foreign embassies (US embassy, Dutch embassy), but they are competitive grants that ensure editorial independence.


done_all 1.6 marked as Compliant by Ciprian Cucu.

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.

Funky Citizens
31-Jul-2023 (7 months ago) Updated: 7 months ago

Our policy, which will be detailed below, provides that Factual remains above any claim of partisanship. Partisanship is defined in our methodology as taking the side of one entity to the detriment of another and can be reflected by the selection of topics and statements to be checked, how the argument from the verification of a statement is handled or the way the fact-check is promoted. We strive to maintain a high standard and to serve the interest of the public above all else. In doing so, we do not set the agenda and we do not focus on one topic or one party alone. Please see the selection below highlighting the variety of topics and claims by people:

  1. https://www.factual.ro/declaratii/catalin-drula-despre-procentul-din-pib-reprezentat-de-pensiile-speciale/
  2. https://www.factual.ro/declaratii/trunchiat-ciprian-ciucu-se-lauda-cu-bugetul-alocat-educatiei/
  3. https://www.factual.ro/declaratii/cristian-terhes-despre-tratamentul-pentru-schimbare-de-sex/
  4. https://www.factual.ro/declaratii/george-simion-despre-proiectul-de-lege-pentru-prevenirea-riscului-de-abandon/
  5. https://www.factual.ro/declaratii/trunchiat-marcel-ciolacu-despre-portul-constanta/
  6. https://www.factual.ro/declaratii/nicusor-dan-despre-datoriile-curente-ale-primariei-generale/
  7. https://www.factual.ro/declaratii/oana-toiu-despre-inchiderea-centrelor-pentru-dizabili/
  8. https://www.factual.ro/declaratii/sebastian-burduja-despre-cresterea-bugetului-pentru-cercetare/
  9. https://www.factual.ro/declaratii/partial-adevarat-tanczos-barna-despre-numarul-de-ursi-in-continua-crestere/ 
  10. https://www.factual.ro/declaratii/raluca-turcan-despre-cresterea-varstei-de-pensionare/

Ciprian Cucu Assessor
09-Oct-2023 (4 months ago) Updated: 4 months ago

Factual verifies constantly declarations from leader of all major political parties in Romania and has issued all types of "verdicts", i.e., false, misleading, partly true, true, and impossible to verify. 
Examples given prove all claims are analyzed using the same process and follow existing evidence, no matter what the source is.


done_all 2.1 marked as Compliant by Ciprian Cucu.

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.

Funky Citizens
31-Jul-2023 (7 months ago) Updated: 7 months ago

Please consider our methodology policy publically available on our website. Below we highlight a few ideas:

  • Factual verifies the facts using the same standards, based on evidence and accurate data, objectively evaluating the statements, regardless of their issuer. Contributors use the same verification process for each article, in accordance with the Factual methodology, and base their conclusions solely on evidence.
  • Factual does not show ideological partisanship or preferences in verifying the statements and considers the importance and relevance of the statements it selects, in accordance with the public work methodology and the policy of neutrality.
Ciprian Cucu Assessor
09-Oct-2023 (4 months ago) Updated: 4 months ago

Factual is focused on claims made by leading politicians in Romania, and social media posts made by various influencers. In the first case, Factual does not discriminate based on party affiliation, but verifies claims both from politicians from government parties and opposition parties. They even include declarations from parties that do not have groups in Parliament, as there are some new parties in Romania that are very vocal (e.g., SOS founded by Diana Sosoacă) and influence the public discourse.
Regarding social media, Factual targets claims that touch upon important conversations in the public sphere, such as COVID and vaccines, the war in Ukraine, or popular conspiracy theories such as "chemtrails".

Another special line of factcheck has been set up to verify climate change narratives, since the topic is extremely important and prompts significant mis- and disinformation.


done_all 2.2 marked as Compliant by Ciprian Cucu.

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.

Funky Citizens
31-Jul-2023 (7 months ago) Updated: 7 months ago

--

Ciprian Cucu Assessor
09-Oct-2023 (4 months ago) Updated: 4 months ago

Factual uses mostly official sources in their factchecks. Such sources range from existing laws to reports published by established institutions such as the World Bank. In some cases, Factual uses official statements (eg., from NATO, EU Commission etc), articles published in high-quality media outlets or technical information sheets of products. 

There are no instances where any relationships that might influence the findings could be found.


done_all 2.3 marked as Compliant by Ciprian Cucu.

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.

Funky Citizens
31-Jul-2023 (7 months ago) Updated: 7 months ago

--

Ciprian Cucu Assessor
09-Oct-2023 (4 months ago) Updated: 4 months ago

Factchecks are neutral and verify claims from different sources, including politicians from all parties. There is no ideological bias and articles do not support any politician, party or policy.


done_all 2.4 marked as Compliant by Ciprian Cucu.

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.

Funky Citizens
31-Jul-2023 (7 months ago) Updated: 7 months ago

This is an excerpt from our neutrality policy focusing on non-partisanship; please find the entire methodology on the dedicated page:

To ensure that Factual is a non-partisan and apolitical project, the editorial staff will follow these rules:

  • will verify the facts using the same high standards of evidence and judgment for equivalent claims, regardless of the claimant and his or her political affiliation.
  • will pay attention to the selection of statements to be verified and their issuers, to avoid unjustified concentration of fact-checks on one side or another of the political spectrum
  • concretely, the selection will be made taking into account the public interest behind the respective statement and the potential magnitude that the consequences of an erroneous statement may have in that case
  • the sources used in the checks will be of the highest quality, as neutral as possible. Where a source has the potential to be biased towards one of the actors in verification, the editor has an obligation to flag this as such (eg disclose any commercial or other relationships the source may have with the broadcaster of the verified statement or other entities close to it) could influence the conclusions of the fact check.
Ciprian Cucu Assessor
09-Oct-2023 (4 months ago) Updated: 4 months ago

Factual has a statement of non-partisanship published on their website that clearly defines what partisanship is and what steps are taken to ensure neutrality. 


done_all 2.5 marked as Compliant by Ciprian Cucu.

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.

Funky Citizens
31-Jul-2023 (7 months ago) Updated: 7 months ago

Factual operates under the following criteria regarding the use of evidence and sources, as highlighted in our dedicated methodology:

  • Factual calls on primary data sources and compares the information used in the checks with multiple sources. The texts include clarifications about the possible interests of the persons or data cited, if considered contextually relevant to the position adopted.
  • Factual includes in the published checks the relevant sources used, to allow the reader to prove the accuracy of the data invoked and the verdict given. By corroborating the sources cited with the Factual methodology, members of the public are given the opportunity to recreate the verification on their own.

Ciprian Cucu Assessor
09-Oct-2023 (4 months ago) Updated: 4 months ago

Analyzing several factchecks (see below), we can conclude that sources are clearly identified. Links to sources are provided where available (media articles, laws, social media posts). Some people who made statements that are relevant are also linked to their profiles (eg. university personal page for academics).  

In some cases, sources are presented as images/scans of official documents - for example, in some instances, the team asked for an official position from relevant authorities and uploaded a scanned copy of the response (while redacting only the personal information of the person signing the response). Even in this cases, anyone can replicate the process, since asking for information from authorities is a process available to citizens, according to Romanian law.

Selected factchecks (ranging from 2021 to 2023):


https://www.factual.ro/declaratii/alin-colesa-despre-emisiile-de-carbon-care-nu-ar-fi-poluante/

https://www.factual.ro/declaratii/florin-citu-despre-spectacolele-pilot-cu-public/

https://www.factual.ro/declaratii/laura-iuliana-scantei-despre-romania-primul-loc-in-europa-la-traficul-de-persoane/

https://blog.factual.ro/serghei-lavrov-noi-nu-am-atacat-ucraina/

https://blog.factual.ro/analiza-cum-influenteaza-schimbarile-climatice-inflatia/

https://www.factual.ro/declaratii/marcel-ciolacu-despre-scoaterea-pacanelelor-din-localitati/

https://www.factual.ro/dezinformari-retele-sociale/fals-masina-care-imprastie-boli/

https://www.factual.ro/dezinformari-retele-sociale/partial-fals-timisoara-nu-a-ramas-fara-turisti/

https://www.factual.ro/dezinformari-retele-sociale/fals-comisia-europeana-nu-pregateste-o-noua-pandemie/

https://www.factual.ro/dezinformari-retele-sociale/context-lipsa-nato-nu-a-transmis-in-mod-oficial-ca-ucraina-trebuie-sa-cedeze-teritorii/







done_all 3.1 marked as Compliant by Ciprian Cucu.

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.

Funky Citizens
31-Jul-2023 (7 months ago) Updated: 7 months ago

See our aforementioned mention on methodology and flow of work.

Ciprian Cucu Assessor
09-Oct-2023 (4 months ago) Updated: 4 months ago

Factual uses primary sources whenever available, and sometimes completes the factcheck with secondary sources. 

Primary sources include official reports and statistics, laws, statements from various officials, and answers to petitions addressed to relevant authorities.

(Selected factchecks are the same as 3.1.)


done_all 3.2 marked as Compliant by Ciprian Cucu.

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.

Funky Citizens
31-Jul-2023 (7 months ago) Updated: 7 months ago

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Ciprian Cucu Assessor
09-Oct-2023 (4 months ago) Updated: 4 months ago

Factual uses multiple sources for each of the claims verified. Each factcheck clearly stated what is being verified, and several sources of different types are always mentioned.

(Selected factchecks are the same as 3.1.)


done_all 3.3 marked as Compliant by Ciprian Cucu.

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.

Funky Citizens
31-Jul-2023 (7 months ago) Updated: 7 months ago

--

Ciprian Cucu Assessor
09-Oct-2023 (4 months ago) Updated: 4 months ago

Factual clearly identifies the sources used in verifications, mostly official bodies or institutions, researchers or media outlets. There are no instances where any kind of conflict of interest might be assumed. 


(Selected factchecks are the same as 3.1.)


done_all 3.4 marked as Compliant by Ciprian Cucu.

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.

Funky Citizens
31-Jul-2023 (7 months ago) Updated: 7 months ago

As stated in its Constitution, Factual.ro is a distinct, autonomous and independent team formally functioning inside Funky Citizens, a legally registered non-profit in Romania.

Funky Citizens is a Romanian NGO that builds research-based, data-driven online advocacy tools that aim to be educational and actionable, encouraging citizens to engage in good governance initiatives in which they can see an impact. Our activities are mostly focused on the area of good governance and civic engagement. 

The registration number for our organization and the fiscal identification number are available on our website. The registration of our organization can also be seen on the portal for associations on the website of the Ministry of JusticePlease see the attached registration form and our fiscal registration form.

Factual's independence is stated in our policy and all sources of funding are disclosed on the website. The same claims are valid for Funky Citizens - see yearly reports by Funky Citizens for more details on funding. 

Files Attached
RO_Fiscal_registrati... (739 KB) picture_as_pdf RAF.pdf (664 KB)
Ciprian Cucu Assessor
09-Oct-2023 (4 months ago) Updated: 4 months ago

Factual is a distinct unit of Funky Citizens, a well known Romanian NGO (non-profit, non-governmental organization), active in promoting civic education and civic engagement.

Organization funding is detailed in reports and complete income/expense sheets, while specific funding for the factual unit is detailed on the factual webpage (https://www.factual.ro/despre/#cinenefinanteaza). Funding comes from grants and crowdfunding.



done_all 4.1 marked as Compliant by Ciprian Cucu.

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.

Funky Citizens
31-Jul-2023 (7 months ago) Updated: 7 months ago

Factual is an independent fact-checking operation legally operating under Funky Citizens and this fact is openly mentioned on the About page.

Ciprian Cucu Assessor
09-Oct-2023 (4 months ago) Updated: 4 months ago

Factual is a distinct unit of Funky Citizens (Romanian NGO). This information is clearly stated on the official web page (about section):https://www.factual.ro/despre/#:~:text=Facebook%20%C8%99i%20Instagram.-,Cine%20suntem%3F,-Proiectul%20a%20fost


done_all 4.2 marked as Compliant by Ciprian Cucu.

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.

Funky Citizens
31-Jul-2023 (7 months ago) Updated: 7 months ago

On Factual's About page, names and roles of all those involved are disclosed, including those of our network of experts who are regularly consulted for fact-checking. 

Ciprian Cucu Assessor
09-Oct-2023 (4 months ago) Updated: 4 months ago

Factual has a specialized team of people doing reporting and verifications, with special editor roles considered. The Factual webpage provides the names and roles of every team member. Expert consultants are also mentioned, as they are sometimes asked to give insights into specific topics. 

Editorial control is fully exercised by the editors, especially Ana Poenariu, known Romanian journalist and coordinator of Factual.


done_all 4.3 marked as Compliant by Ciprian Cucu.

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.

Funky Citizens
31-Jul-2023 (7 months ago) Updated: 7 months ago

The About page has a list of names and roles, as stated above, but it also features a link to a more detailed outlook of the people involved, editors and writers and auxiliary personnel, with a short biography for every person listed. 

Ciprian Cucu Assessor
09-Oct-2023 (4 months ago) Updated: 4 months ago

Biographies of reporters and editors involved in Factual are presented on the Factual website here https://blog.factual.ro/echipa/

External experts that sometimes provide insights into specific topics (economy, justice, statistics etc) are also listed, even though they don't have any control on the editorial process (they are just consulted when needed). For each expert, a link to their social media profile (LinkedIn) is presented.


done_all 4.4 marked as Compliant by Ciprian Cucu.

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.

Funky Citizens
31-Jul-2023 (7 months ago) Updated: 7 months ago

On Factual's Contact page, this encouragement and the methods of contact are highlighted:

For additional information about Factual.ro, we invite you to contact us by any of the following methods: you can find us on Facebook or at the e-mail address facts [at] factual. ro.

If you have suggestions for fact-checking or statements of potential public interest, feel free to send us your suggestions. The Factual editorial office chooses the subjects that are the subject of checks according to a methodology.

If you are of the opinion that you are entitled to invoke the right of reply as a result of the publication of an article on our website that starts from a statement made by you, we invite you to use the contact address mentioned above.

Ciprian Cucu Assessor
09-Oct-2023 (4 months ago) Updated: 4 months ago

The contact page of the Factual website starts with suggesting visitors to contact them for any inquiries, by sending a message to the Factual Facebook page or by email.


done_all 4.5 marked as Compliant by Ciprian Cucu.

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.

Funky Citizens
31-Jul-2023 (7 months ago) Updated: 7 months ago

Our website features a detailed account of the methodology used. It includes the following steps:

1. Finding topics

2. Drafting the fact-check, with the following 

  • I. Context
  • II. What we check
  • III. Verification
  • IV. Conclusion
3. Review, editing, publication


The barometer of truth is also explained on the website, since we strive to make members of the public aware of the intricacies of our work and encourage them to do their own fact-checking. 

Ciprian Cucu Assessor
09-Oct-2023 (4 months ago) Updated: 4 months ago

A clear methodology is provided on the Factual website (https://blog.factual.ro/metodologie/) . The methodology presents detailed information, starting from defining what "facts" mean, how claims are being chosen, how they are being verified and what the verdicts mean. 

Some writing style norms are also presenting, to ensure a neutral language as well as a clear way of mentioning relevant actors (either those making the initial claim, or those that are used as sources for the verification). 


done_all 5.1 marked as Compliant by Ciprian Cucu.

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.

Ciprian Cucu Assessor
09-Oct-2023 (4 months ago) Updated: 4 months ago

All factchecks selected for analysis have been on relevant, significant claims. Some of them verify viral social media posts, others verify declarations from relevant political figures, declarations that touch upon subjects that are present in the public sphere (these obviously change according to politicians trying to influence the agenda of public discourse, but Factual has proven to follow topics of interest).


done_all 5.2 marked as Compliant by Ciprian Cucu.

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.

Ciprian Cucu Assessor
09-Oct-2023 (4 months ago) Updated: 4 months ago

Factcheck published by Factual present the claim being verified in original with its corresponding source, while also providing context information when needed. When analyzing social media posts, Factual provides detailed information on what is being claimed, but there is seldom any evidence to support those claims (in my opinion, Factual selects mostly posts that suggest some conspiracy theories, and not very complex, subtle statements that may have some evidentiary support).

When it comes to political statements, Factual publishes verifications that sometimes are concluded to be "true" or "partly true", if the evidence points to this "verdict".


done_all 5.3 marked as Compliant by Ciprian Cucu.

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.

Ciprian Cucu Assessor
09-Oct-2023 (4 months ago) Updated: 4 months ago

All factchecks selected for analysis present the same verification process, no matter if the original claim is taken from a social media post, or from a statement of some political leader. Statements are being chosen from all sides of the political spectrum, and the verifications use the same standards. Statements from all political parties have been given all types of verdicts, from "false" to "true".


done_all 5.4 marked as Compliant by Ciprian Cucu.

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.

Ciprian Cucu Assessor
09-Oct-2023 (4 months ago) Updated: 4 months ago

A significant number of factchecks correspond to social media posts that, as mentioned in the criteria, make it difficult to contact the person making the claim.

Regarding political statement, while analyzed verifications did not include contacting the source, it is my consideration that these are not needed, since only statements that are clear and present facts that can be verified are chosen, according to the methodology.



done_all 5.5 marked as Compliant by Ciprian Cucu.

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.

Funky Citizens
31-Jul-2023 (7 months ago) Updated: 7 months ago

Our contact page features an explicit mention to members of the public being encouraged to send us examples for claims:

If you have suggestions for fact-checking or statements of potential public interest, feel free to send us your suggestions. The Factual editorial office chooses the subjects that are the subject of checks according to a methodology.

Ciprian Cucu Assessor
09-Oct-2023 (4 months ago) Updated: 4 months ago

The contact page from the Factual website specifically asks the public to submit claims for verification but states the claims are chosen according to the published methodology.                                                                                                 

The verification methodology explicitly mentions that claims that are chosen to be verified need to be relevant for the public discourse and need to have some verifiable statements (for example they cannot verify opinions).  


done_all 5.6 marked as Compliant by Ciprian Cucu.

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.

Funky Citizens
31-Jul-2023 (7 months ago) Updated: 7 months ago

We have a dedicated methodological section on correction policy, available on our website, which includes details such as how the corrected information will be highlighted and disseminated to make it clear it is in fact a correction and to reach a similar level of our audience, for both the website and the social media platforms used. 

Factual also provides a list of corrections to its audience: https://blog.factual.ro/rectificari/ 


On our contact page, we detail how one can contact us if they feel like they should exercise their right to reply:

If you are of the opinion that you are entitled to invoke the right of reply as a result of the publication of an article on our website that starts from a statement made by you, we invite you to use the contact address mentioned above.

Ciprian Cucu Assessor
09-Oct-2023 (4 months ago) Updated: 4 months ago

The correction policy is detailed on the official website (https://blog.factual.ro/politica-de-erata/), mentioning relevant aspects, such as clarifying that a specific factcheck has been updated to include corrections, as well as the fact that the old version is not completely deleted, only marked accordingly, and the corrected information is presented next to the errors.


The right to reply is also mentioned on the contact page, easy to find by whomever would be interested.


done_all 6.1 marked as Compliant by Ciprian Cucu.

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

Funky Citizens
31-Jul-2023 (7 months ago) Updated: 7 months ago

--

Ciprian Cucu Assessor
09-Oct-2023 (4 months ago) Updated: 4 months ago

The correction policy posted on the website highlights there are two types of corrections - major ones (erroneous information) that may or may not change the verdict (true/false) and minor errors (spellcheck, missing or erroneous links etc). Major errors ale always highlighted in the factchecks (without removing the erroneous information, but marking it as such), while minor errors are only corrected in place.

I have identified some published factchecks that do have corrections integrated (e.g. https://www.factual.ro/declaratii/trunchiat-catalin-drula-despre-iohannis-care-a-numit-mai-multi-premieri-psd-decat-iliescu/) which show this policy is actually being implemented.

Significant attention is given to social media posts that promoted factchecks. In case of errors, social media posts are either edited to clarify the update, or deleted, if editing would not be sufficient, and replaced with a new post. Before deletion, a comment is added below the erroneous post to inform of its subsequent deletion. New social media posts mention the actualization.



done_all 6.2 marked as Compliant by Ciprian Cucu.

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.

Funky Citizens
31-Jul-2023 (7 months ago) Updated: 7 months ago

According to our correction policy, we will list all such cases on a dedicated page

For the previous 12 months, these are the examples at hand:

Here, the correction reads: *** CORRECTION: The originally published text contained documentation errors. We rechecked everything and modified the text. All changes made to the article are observable. Thanks to our readers for bringing it to our attention. The verdict remained the same. ***

The reader can notice different paragraphs and lines are strikedthrough, which makes it easy to both read the original article, but to notice the changes made. The changes are also colour-coded, where an edit was done.

Here, the correction reads: *In the original version of the text it was written "infection with Covid19". According to the terminology agreed by the WHO, Covid19 is the name given to the disease caused by infection with the Sars-Cov2 virus. (Update 13.03.2023)

Ciprian Cucu Assessor
09-Oct-2023 (4 months ago) Updated: 4 months ago

The corrected factchecks provided are following the correction policy - they mention there has been an update, and the erroneous information is clearly marked as such (not removed), while the updated information is presented next to it. 

Factual also provides a separate page that lists all corrections made, which includes factchecks published on the platform as well as social media posts promoting factchecks. This shows commitment to ensure the public gets information about corrections.


done_all 6.3 marked as Compliant by Ciprian Cucu.

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.

Funky Citizens
31-Jul-2023 (7 months ago) Updated: 7 months ago

This information can be found on Factual's About page:

Factual adheres to the International Fact-Checking Network (IFCN) code of principles. If you suspect that our activity violates these principles, you can report it directly to IFCN here.

Ciprian Cucu Assessor
09-Oct-2023 (4 months ago) Updated: 4 months ago

The Factual official webpage states on the "about" section (https://www.factual.ro/despre) that it adheres to IFCN code of principles and mentions anyone can address a complaint to IFCN, also providing a link to the IFCN Complaints Policy.



done_all 6.4 marked as Compliant by Ciprian Cucu.

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.

Funky Citizens
31-Jul-2023 (7 months ago) Updated: 7 months ago

Non-applicable to Factual.

Ciprian Cucu Assessor
09-Oct-2023 (4 months ago) Updated: 4 months ago

Factual is not a unit of a media company, but a unit of a non-profit, non-governmental organization, active in civic education and civic engagement.


done_all 6.5 marked as Compliant by Ciprian Cucu.