Factual.ro

Organization: Funky Citizens
Applicant: Elena Calistru
Assessor: Emilia Codruța Simina

Background

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Assessment Conclusion

Factual.ro (henceforth referred to as “Factual”) is an online project aimed at fact-checking political statements and policies. Founded in 2014 in Romania, Factual came as a response to the changes in Romanian society and growing amount of political false claims. It is currently a distinct unit of reporters (12) and volunteering experts (10) focused on fact-checking within Funky Citizens, an NGO legally registered in Romania in 2012, as shown in a section of their site. Their projects also include fact-checking candidates’ statements for local, national and european elections, as well as analyzing political programmes and verifying Government economic plans. In addition to fact-checking political claims, for the past year, they developed an online video show analyzing current viral false information and disinformation/misinformation campaigns during COVID-19 pandemic, offering context to news and promoting scientific proofs and sources of information. Factual uses high standards of evidence, always searching for primary sources of information or sources that are beyond any reasonable doubt. They are transparently showing funding sources and procedures for accepting funds. Factual does not appear to be affiliated with or showing any support to any political actors or other parties.The various fact-checks I assesed prove they have been marking as FALSE statements made by prime ministers and their opposition, strong or feared romanian political leaders, regardless of their political beliefs. Factual has a chief editor who applies on fact-checking all standard criteria in journalism and their policies are public. 

on 05-Apr-2021 (1 month ago)

Emilia Codruța Simina assesses application as Compliant

A short summary in native publishing language

Factual.ro este unicul proiect din România axat pe verificarea declarațiilor politice din spațiul public. Este, de asemenea, primul proiect dedicat exclusiv fact-checking-ului. Fondat în 2013 și lansat în mai, 2014, Factual este finanțat exclusiv din donațiile cititorilor și granturi, toate sursele de venit fiind afișate transparent pe pagina online a proiectului. Factual este realizat de reporteri independenți, coordonați de un editor cu experiență solidă în jurnalism, și beneficiază de experiența a 10 experți în diverse sectoare care țin de administrație locală și națională, politici publice, economie, justiție sau fonduri europene. În cei 7 ani de existență, Factual a devenit un instrument util și un reper pentru jurnaliști și cetățeni, oferind atât o evaluare independentă și profesionistă a declarațiilor politice, cât și un model de muncă în ceea ce privește fact-checking-ul.

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
20-Jan-2021 (3 months ago) Updated: 3 months ago

Our about page is the definite starting point for anyone who wants to find out more about the organization behind Factual.ro. ON this page, there is a specific section that provides info about who is behind the project, with a link towards the Funky Citizens page with proof that we are legally registered in Romania as an association (non-profit).

Emilia Codruța Simina Assessor
19-Mar-2021 (1 month ago)

According to the link provided by the applicant, Factual.ro (henceforth referred to as “Factual”) is an online project aimed at fact-checking political statements and policies. Founded in 2014 in Romania, Factual came as a response to the changes in Romanian society and growing amount of political false claims. It is currently a distinct team focused on fact-checking within Funky Citizens, an NGO legally registered in Romania in 2012, as shown in a section of their site.


done_all 1.1 marked as Compliant by Emilia Codruța Simina.

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
20-Jan-2021 (3 months ago) Updated: 3 months ago

1. Factual.ro, the first and only political fact-checking operation in Romania was started in May 2014, as a response to the changing political and civic energies of the youth in Romania at that time. The project was founded by a new team of young professionals, but later on was taken under the formal umbrella of a nonprofit - Funky Citizens. Also, it is worth noting that two of Factual.ro’s founders were and still are key members of Funky Citizens.


2. Factual.ro runs as an independent unit inside Funky Citizens, with its own editor in chief and editorial staff totaling up to a dozen individuals, which includes a part-time role of monitoring the media for fact-checkable statements. Factual.ro would not be possible without the deluxe volunteers that make up our pool of experts, with whom we constantly run peer-reviews or generally look for guidance (e.g.. in terms of reliable sources)

3. Whereas most of the time we just stick to plain old (political) fact-checking, lately, we have experimented with regular video content (25 episodes of a weekly Fake News Bulletin) and traditionally we are known for data-rich special projects we launch occasionally. Some examples of these special projects include:

  • the GovMeter, which broke down the Government’s plan into more than 1000 chunks that can be independently verified, then proceeded to quickly analyze them and issuing a byte-sized verdict with a small explanation where necessary. (i.e. before elections time)
  • Analyzing the electoral programmes of the two main candidates from 6 big cities, for the local elections in 2020
  • Travel Bans in Europe, at the beginning of of the Covid-19 restrictions
  • Fact-checking an interview: one of Romania’s first influencers (now turned education activist) face to face with one of the ex-Ministers of Education.
  • Analyzing the programmes of the last two candidates for President (2019)
  • Fact-checking candidates for the europarliamentary elections in 2019
  • Fact-checking candidates for the local elections in 2016
  • Fact-checking the activity or Romanian MEPs, on Europe’s Day (2015)
  • Fact-checking women in the Romanian Parliament, on Women’s Day (2015)
  • Factual Romania - (2015, 2016) - various stats compiled from key areas
  • Live checkathon with the debates in the final round of the Presidential Elections, 2014 (plus analysis on their electoral programmes)
  • Fact-checking and behavior analysis in partnership with Vice Romania

4. We plan on focusing on more video content for 2021, given the good results we had with our similar video experiments in 2020.

Emilia Codruța Simina Assessor
19-Mar-2021 (1 month ago) Updated: 1 month ago

Factual is a distinct unit of reporters (12) and volunteering experts (10) fact-checking political claims and statements. Their projects also include fact-checking candidates’ statements for local, national and european elections, as well as analyzing political programmes and verifying Government economic plans. In addition to fact-checks, for the past year, they developed an online video show analyzing current viral false information and disinformation/misinformation campaigns during COVID-19 pandemic, offering context to news and promoting scientific proofs and sources of information.


done_all 1.2 marked as Compliant by Emilia Codruța Simina.

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
20-Jan-2021 (3 months ago) Updated: 3 months ago

We have published over 1000 fact-checks in our almost 7 years of existence. A complete archive can be found on our website, here. The most relevant ones are also published on our Facebook page


https://www.factual.ro/declaratii/diana-sosoaca-despre-izolarea-noului-coronavirus-in-laborator/

https://www.factual.ro/declaratii/diana-iovanovici-sosoaca-despre-decesele-cauzate-de-gripa-si-covid19

https://www.factual.ro/declaratii/stelian-ion-despre-pensiile-magistratilor/

https://www.factual.ro/declaratii/attila-cseke-dspre-prefecti-si-subprefecti/

https://www.factual.ro/declaratii/siegfried-muresan-despre-institutii-europene/

https://www.factual.ro/declaratii/ecaterina-andronescu-despre-scoala-profesionala/

https://www.factual.ro/declaratii/olguta-vasilescu-despre-spitalul-din-craiova/

https://www.factual.ro/declaratii/george-simion-despre-finantarea-partidelor/

https://www.factual.ro/declaratii/traian-berbeceanu-despre-numarul-de-cazuri-de-covid19/

https://www.factual.ro/declaratii/emil-boc-despre-spitalele-covid-19-din-romania/

https://www.factual.ro/declaratii/tanczos-barna-despre-coalitii/

https://www.factual.ro/declaratii/raluca-turcan-despre-angajatii-din-institutiile-statului/

https://www.factual.ro/declaratii/ecaterina-andronescu-despre-locurile-la-licee/

https://www.factual.ro/declaratii/virgil-popescu-despre-reteaua-de-apa/

https://www.factual.ro/declaratii/ciprian-ciucu-despre-politia-locala-din-sectorul-6/

https://www.factual.ro/declaratii/ioana-constantin-despre-dosarele-pentru-trafic-de-persoane/

https://www.factual.ro/declaratii/gabriel-oprea-despre-dosarul-gigina/

https://www.factual.ro/declaratii/mugur-cozmanciuc-despre-banii-pentru-sanatate/

https://www.factual.ro/declaratii/marcel-ciolacu-despre-zone-carantinate/

https://www.factual.ro/declaratii/adrian-tutuianu-despre-scoli-si-elevi/

https://www.factual.ro/declaratii/stefan-radu-oprea-despre-realizarile-psd/

https://www.factual.ro/declaratii/carmen-avram-despre-spitalul-din-vaslui/

https://www.factual.ro/declaratii/victor-ponta-despre-27-de-spitale-redeschise/

https://www.factual.ro/declaratii/marcel-ciolacu-despre-legea-sanatatii/

https://www.factual.ro/declaratii/victor-ponta-despre-finantarea-spitalelor-regionale/

https://www.factual.ro/declaratii/nicusor-dan-despre-reteaua-de-incalzire/

https://www.factual.ro/declaratii/sorin-grindeanu-despre-pacientii-cu-covid19/

https://www.factual.ro/declaratii/alexandru-rafila-despre-teste-pozitive-in-contextul-covid19/

https://www.factual.ro/declaratii/marcel-ciolacu-despre-decese-cauzate-de-covid19-in-romania/

https://www.factual.ro/declaratii/alina-gorghiu-despre-marirea-alocatiilor/

https://www.factual.ro/declaratii/allen-coliban-despre-propriile-studii/

https://www.factual.ro/declaratii/care-nu-a-trecut-prin-infectarea-cu-covid19/

https://www.factual.ro/declaratii/nicolae-neagu-despre-bugetul-judetului-sibiu/

https://www.factual.ro/declaratii/mihai-fifor-parlamentare/

https://www.factual.ro/declaratii/ludovic-orban-despre-managerii-de-spitale/

https://www.factual.ro/declaratii/mara-mares-despre-numarul-de-ministere/

https://www.factual.ro/declaratii/ionel-arsene-despre-spitale-si-autorizatii-isu/

https://www.factual.ro/declaratii/raluca-turcan-despre-ultimii-trei-ministri-ai-sanatatii/

https://www.factual.ro/declaratii/adrian-streinu-cercel-despre-comorbiditati-si-covid19/

https://www.factual.ro/declaratii/marcel-ciolacu-despre-testari/

https://www.factual.ro/declaratii/gabriela-firea-despre-cabinetele-medicale-scolare/

https://www.factual.ro/declaratii/ludovic-orban-despre-bugetul-primariei-capitalei/

https://www.factual.ro/declaratii/ludovic-orban-despre-numarul-de-cazuri/

https://www.factual.ro/declaratii/ludovic-orban-despre-rata-somajului/

https://www.factual.ro/declaratii/ludovic-orban-despre-investitiile-aprobate-de-comisia-europeana-in-guvernarea-psd/

https://www.factual.ro/declaratii/florin-citu-despre-inflatie-2/

https://www.factual.ro/declaratii/victor-ponta-despre-voturile-nule/

https://www.factual.ro/declaratii/marcel-ciolacu-despre-dna/

https://www.factual.ro/declaratii/marcel-ciolacu-despre-conducerea-ministerului-sanatatii/

https://www.factual.ro/declaratii/vlad-voiculescu-despre-stimulentele-financiare-pentru-persoane-cu-handicap/

https://www.factual.ro/declaratii/gabriela-firea-despre-scoli-in-timpul-pandemiei/

https://www.factual.ro/declaratii/mihaela-hunca-despre-angajatiii-din-invatamant/

https://www.factual.ro/declaratii/mihaela-hunca-despre-tichetele-de-masa/

https://www.factual.ro/declaratii/cristian-seidler-despre-pensiile-alesilor-locali/

https://www.factual.ro/declaratii/florin-citu-despre-buget/

https://www.factual.ro/declaratii/klaus-iohannis-despre-testarea-in-masa/

https://www.factual.ro/declaratii/ludovic-orban-despre-oecd/

https://www.factual.ro/declaratii/klaus-iohannis-despre-romania-si-spania-in-contextul-covid19/

https://www.factual.ro/declaratii/aurelian-badulescu-despre-raspandirea-covid-prin-industria-horeca/

https://www.factual.ro/declaratii/gabriela-firea-despre-voturile-nule/

https://www.factual.ro/declaratii/raluca-turcan-despre-fonduri-europene/

https://www.factual.ro/declaratii/stefan-radu-oprea-despre-buget/

https://www.factual.ro/declaratii/mihai-tudose-despre-numarul-medicilor/

https://www.factual.ro/declaratii/dorel-covaci-despre-candidatura-lui-dominic-fritz/

https://www.factual.ro/declaratii/alexandru-rafila-despre-cazurile-covid19-in-suedia/

https://www.factual.ro/declaratii/ludovic-orban-despre-investitii/

https://www.factual.ro/declaratii/alina-gorghiu-despre-investitii/

https://www.factual.ro/declaratii/klaus-iohannis-despre-germania/

https://www.factual.ro/declaratii/robert-sighiartau-despre-judetele-in-care-psd-a-castigat-alegerile/ 

https://www.factual.ro/declaratii/iohannis-despre-guvern-si-parlamentari/

https://www.factual.ro/declaratii/clotilde-armand-despre-scoli/

https://www.factual.ro/declaratii/carmen-avram-despre-remdesivir/

https://www.factual.ro/declaratii/victor-ponta-despre-autostrada-sibiu-deva/

https://www.factual.ro/declaratii/gabriel-mutu-despre-reabilitarea-blocurilor-din-sectorul-6/

https://www.factual.ro/declaratii/catalin-drula-despre-trenul-spre-aeroport/

https://www.factual.ro/declaratii/lucian-bode-despre-infrastructura-feroviara/

https://www.factual.ro/declaratii/florin-citu-despre-rata-inflatiei/

https://www.factual.ro/declaratii/raluca-turcan-despre-banii-alocati-penntru-scoli-in-contextul-pandemiei/

https://www.factual.ro/declaratii/rares-bogdan-despre-alegerile-locale/

https://www.factual.ro/declaratii/siegfried-muresan-despre-aeroportul-din-brasov/

https://www.factual.ro/declaratii/adrian-mocanu-despre-initiativa-de-reducere-a-numarului-de-parlamentari/

https://www.factual.ro/declaratii/cristina-pruna-despre-asf/

Files Attached
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Emilia Codruța Simina Assessor
19-Mar-2021 (1 month ago) Updated: 1 month ago

The applicant published an average of at least 5 fact checks weekly for the past 6 months.


done_all 1.3 marked as Compliant by Emilia Codruța Simina.

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
20-Jan-2021 (3 months ago) Updated: 3 months ago

We strive to choose the most relevant statements to fact-check, in relationship to their public interestingness. We have covered a lot of health and Covid-19 related statements in the past year. We have also included health, education and the electoral process as topics for our fact-checks in 2020, which was, like 2019, marked by two rounds of elections.

Files Attached
insert_drive_file SPREADSHEET-factual-... (78 KB)
Emilia Codruța Simina Assessor
19-Mar-2021 (1 month ago) Updated: 1 month ago

Factual fact-checks various claims made by politicians in all parties in Romania. They also fact-check claims made by prime ministers and ministers, regardless of their political affiliation, government officials, the president of Romania and other significant public voices. The issues they are referring to are most times of general public interest and could have an important impact on peoples lives and decisions they are making. În 2020, they also covered claims on health and COVID-19 pandemic, in a time when Romania was sinking in false information and mis/disinformation.


done_all 1.4 marked as Compliant by Emilia Codruța Simina.

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
20-Jan-2021 (3 months ago) Updated: 3 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. 

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, Factual has attracted 6 in its whole 7 year history.

Between January and September 2014, one of the founding members attracted a $2,800 grant from the Open Society Institute Foundation, through the Alumni Grants Program. We chose to use these funds to carry out the launch checkathon and a communication campaign dedicated to the project (including branding - we are still using that visual identity today).

Between January and July 2015, the project received a grant of EUR 15,000 from the Civic Innovation Fund. We used the funds to cover the local elections in 2016. 

In the summer of 2016, the project received a $ 8,000 grant from TechSoup Europe to develop a Google Chrome plugin.

Between August 2016 and February 21, 2017, Funky Citizens attracted individual donations (on PayPal, directly to the bank account or on Generosity.com) from 322 citizens, donations totaling EUR 24,830, of which about 15,000 were donated exclusively for the Factual.ro project.

In 2020, the US Embassy awarded Factual.ro a grant of USD 15,000 in order to train in fact-checking 30 young people and to offer some of them a paid internship to perform fact-checking at our platform. The grant was a competitive one. 

The Embassy of the Kingdom of the Netherlands awarded our project on countering disinformation a grant of EUR 20,500 in June 2020. Buletin de fake news ran for 25 weekly episodes over the course of six months, covering both the local and the general elections of 2020. Special episodes were dedicated to fake news related to the ongoing pandemic. The main idea was to equip citizens with the skills to counter disinformation and fake news and to have experts on the topic of the week as guests, in order to better inform the public.

We currently have around 19 patrons on Patreon.com who contribute with $119 monthly and regular donors through Paypal and direct debit that account an average of 1500 euro per month.  

Emilia Codruța Simina Assessor
19-Mar-2021 (1 month ago) Updated: 1 month ago

Factual funding comes from two main sources: public donations through Patreon - the funding site is linked to the site’s main page - and grants. The grants come from various institutions, transparently cited on Factual.


done_all 1.5 marked as Compliant by Emilia Codruța Simina.

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
20-Jan-2021 (3 months ago) Updated: 3 months ago

We do not receive funding from political sources at all, and never will, as a principle. The same goes for political sources. We have, however, received funds, as stated above, from:

  • The Embassy of the Kingdom of the Netherlands from a specific project - the Fake News Bulettin and The US Embassy, also for a specific project - involving young people in fact-checking. 
  • the Swiss Government, through the Civic Innovation Fund (2015)

They are all listed in the about page.

Emilia Codruța Simina Assessor
19-Mar-2021 (1 month ago) Updated: 1 month ago

The project transparently shows its funding sources and procedures for accepting funds and states that no influence from any funders is accepted. Factual has a clear statement on how it adresses problems related to possible influence and the independence of their work. I have not found any significant proof that Factual content is biased or influenced.


done_all 1.6 marked as Compliant by Emilia Codruța Simina.

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
20-Jan-2021 (3 months ago) Updated: 3 months ago

We have a non-partisanship policy, titled "neutrality policy". We have shared below a random sample of fact-checks, not paying much attention to the selection itself, since we are terribly confident that each and every fact-check published follows our methodology thoroughly (context information: prior to launching the project, we spent one year to refine the methodology, being thus aware of its crucial importance to a fact-checking project, in which reputation is essential).

Factual has an expert editor in chief, well known for her investigative materials written under the umbrella of a distinct organization - RISE Project (part of OCCRP - the Organized Crime and Corruption Reporting Project). Their standards are extremely high as well.

Moreover, as detailed in our methodology, each fact-check undergoes a thorough peer-review process, to make sure biases are eliminated, that the argumentation is clear and based on evidence, which leads to a factually correct conclusion.

  1. https://www.factual.ro/declaratii/pmb-municipiul-bucuresti-nu-competente-ceea-ce-priveste-demararea-procedurilor-pentru-demolarea-cathedral-plaza/
  2. https://www.factual.ro/declaratii/viorica-dancila-despre-angajarea-fiului-sau-la-curtea-de-conturi/
  3. https://www.factual.ro/declaratii/cristian-popescu-piedone-avem-la-dosar-toate-actele-am-indeplinit-toate-normele-legale-de-eliberare-a-acordului-de-functionare/
  4. https://www.factual.ro/declaratii/ramona-strugariu-despre-aplicarea-legislatiei-europene-in-securitatea-sociala/
  5. https://www.factual.ro/declaratii/viorica-dancila-despre-intalnirea-lui-klaus-iohannis-cu-diaspora/
  6. https://www.factual.ro/declaratii/viorica-dancila-despre-cum-a-verificat-ministrul-transporturilor-pasagerii-aeronavelor/
  7. https://www.factual.ro/declaratii/klaus-iohannis-in-europa-practic-nu-se-mai-poate-circula/
  8. https://www.factual.ro/declaratii/mihai-fifor-despre-votul-negativ-primit-de-vioricai-dancila-in-comisia-juridica-din-parlamentul-european/
  9. https://www.factual.ro/declaratii/serban-nicolae-despre-recomandarea-comisiei-de-la-venetia-despre-referendum/
  10. https://www.factual.ro/declaratii/marcel-ciolacu-despre-avertizarile-comisiei-europene/ 

Emilia Codruța Simina Assessor
19-Mar-2021 (1 month ago) Updated: 1 month ago

The links provided by the applicant at this section are not fact-checks published by the applicant in the past year, as requested in the application form, but in the past 6 years.

The links submitted show Factual fact-checkers are definitely using high standards of evidence, always searching for sources of information that are beyond any reasonable doubt. The process in fact-checking each claim follows the same procedures and offers strong objective proof for its conclusions. The fact-checks submitted show they are verifying statements made by key political leaders and institutions, without taking sides or being biased in their conclusions.


done_all 2.1 marked as Compliant by Emilia Codruța Simina.

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
20-Jan-2021 (3 months ago) Updated: 3 months ago

This information is listed in our methodology, which can be accessed via the `about` page. The neutrality policy also mentions selection of claims to check.

Emilia Codruța Simina Assessor
19-Mar-2021 (1 month ago) Updated: 1 month ago

The applicant has a public, clearly stated, methodology for fact-checking procedures. It is not clear, though, which are the main criteria to select the claims for further fact-checking. The criteria I found are different, in two different documents (Methodology and Neutrality Policy), one stating that the claim must be made by a public official and contains verifiable information, and the other offering more criteria, like public interest or potential harm as a result of people believing the false claim.

I would recommend a single document and criteria focused on public interest, potential of claims to gain high public reach or become viral and harming people’s capacity for making decisions.


done_all 2.2 marked as Compliant by Emilia Codruța Simina.

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
20-Jan-2021 (3 months ago) Updated: 3 months ago

-

Emilia Codruța Simina Assessor
19-Mar-2021 (1 month ago) Updated: 1 month ago

The applicant uses only primary sources, such as laws, court orders, official documents and resources. I found no significant proof of any influence or bias that could come from obscure interests or malign sources.


done_all 2.3 marked as Compliant by Emilia Codruța Simina.

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
20-Jan-2021 (3 months ago) Updated: 3 months ago

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Emilia Codruța Simina Assessor
19-Mar-2021 (1 month ago) Updated: 1 month ago

The applicant does not appear to be affiliated with or showing any support to any political actors or other parties. For the past years, Funky Citizens advocated for transparency in policy making and public spending, anti corruption laws and better organized administrations, according to their website. (https://funky.ong/category/scrisori-comunicate/page/2/)


done_all 2.4 marked as Compliant by Emilia Codruța Simina.

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
20-Jan-2021 (3 months ago) Updated: 3 months ago
Emilia Codruța Simina Assessor
19-Mar-2021 (1 month ago) Updated: 1 month ago

The applicant sets very clear non-partisanship policies for staff on their website. I found no reason to believe the organization’s staff working on fact checking can be perceived as being one-sided.


done_all 2.5 marked as Compliant by Emilia Codruța Simina.

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
20-Jan-2021 (3 months ago) Updated: 3 months ago

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Emilia Codruța Simina Assessor
19-Mar-2021 (1 month ago) Updated: 1 month ago

The applicant always provides official documents and links to primary sources so the reader can replicate the fact check on his own. Since Factual is fact-checking claims made by political figures, most of the sources they need are official and/or public policies, documents, budgets.


done_all 3.1 marked as Compliant by Emilia Codruța Simina.

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
20-Jan-2021 (3 months ago) Updated: 3 months ago

-

Emilia Codruța Simina Assessor
19-Mar-2021 (1 month ago) Updated: 1 month ago

The applicant uses the best available primary sources, linking them to the fact check.


done_all 3.2 marked as Compliant by Emilia Codruța Simina.

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
20-Jan-2021 (3 months ago) Updated: 3 months ago

-

Emilia Codruța Simina Assessor
19-Mar-2021 (1 month ago) Updated: 1 month ago

The applicant checks the key claims and uses the best available sources and also explains the use of the sources in all cases.


done_all 3.3 marked as Compliant by Emilia Codruța Simina.

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
20-Jan-2021 (3 months ago) Updated: 3 months ago

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Emilia Codruța Simina Assessor
19-Mar-2021 (1 month ago) Updated: 1 month ago

Sources are always official documents and data, laws and regulations. The applicant explains how and why the sources are being chosen and used for fact checking. I found no such situation where the applicant needs to explain possible interests of the sources.


done_all 3.4 marked as Compliant by Emilia Codruța Simina.

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
20-Jan-2021 (3 months ago) Updated: 3 months ago

As state in its ConstitutionFactual.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 include various platforms which use civic tech: public spending (www.banipublici.ro), open justice (www.onoratainstanta.ro), anticorruption (www.piatadespaga.ro and www.maricorupti.ro) or civic education (www.educatiecivica.ro). A distinct project of our organization is the first (and so far the only) Romanian fact-checking platform (www.factual.ro).

The registration number for our organization and the fiscal identification number are available on our website: https://www.funky.ong/despre-noi/utile/datele-asociatiei/. The registration of our organization can also be seen on the portal for associations on the website of the Ministry of Justice: http://www.just.ro/wp-content/uploads/2015/12/Asociatii13082018.pdf

We also attach here our registration form and our fiscal registration form.

Files Attached
picture_as_pdf Certificat PJ fara s... (147 KB)
Emilia Codruța Simina Assessor
19-Mar-2021 (1 month ago) Updated: 1 month ago

The applicant, Funky Citizens, published on it’s website consistent proof that it is legally registered as a non-profit organisation in Romania. They also published consistent information on funding they are receiving and projects under development.


done_all 4.1 marked as Compliant by Emilia Codruța Simina.

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
20-Jan-2021 (3 months ago) Updated: 3 months ago
Emilia Codruța Simina Assessor
19-Mar-2021 (1 month ago) Updated: 1 month ago

Factual is an independent, specific unit “formally functioning inside Funky Citizens”, working with it’s own staff and volunteer experts, fact checking political claims. It is said on their website that Factual was founded and launched in may 2014 by a group of “young entrepreneurs, NGO workers, political advisers and corporate staff”. It is also stated that funding comes from working staff, readers and grants provided by various institutions.


done_all 4.2 marked as Compliant by Emilia Codruța Simina.

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
20-Jan-2021 (3 months ago) Updated: 3 months ago
Emilia Codruța Simina Assessor
19-Mar-2021 (1 month ago) Updated: 1 month ago

Factual is a team of 12 writers and media monitors, peer reviewed by 10 volunteering experts. The editorial control is exercised by the editor, a journalist with experience in investigative journalism, according to the Methodology section. The readers or anyone interested can contact the Factual team through a form published on their website.


done_all 4.3 marked as Compliant by Emilia Codruța Simina.

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
20-Jan-2021 (3 months ago) Updated: 3 months ago
Emilia Codruța Simina Assessor
19-Mar-2021 (1 month ago) Updated: 1 month ago

For a few of editorial staff members, the profile on Factual site is linked to their LinkedIn profile


done_all 4.4 marked as Compliant by Emilia Codruța Simina.

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
20-Jan-2021 (3 months ago) Updated: 3 months ago

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
20-Jan-2021 (3 months ago) Updated: 3 months ago
Emilia Codruța Simina Assessor
19-Mar-2021 (1 month ago) Updated: 1 month ago



done_all 5.1 marked as Compliant by Emilia Codruța Simina.

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.

Funky Citizens
20-Jan-2021 (3 months ago) Updated: 3 months ago

-

Emilia Codruța Simina Assessor
19-Mar-2021 (1 month ago) Updated: 1 month ago

The applicant usually selects claims to check based on the reach and importance of the claims, and where possible explains the reason for choosing the claim to check. They sometimes explain it on social media. I would recommend a more constant effort to explain the reasons for choosing the claim to check.


done_all 5.2 marked as Compliant by Emilia Codruța Simina.

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.

Funky Citizens
20-Jan-2021 (3 months ago) Updated: 3 months ago

-

Emilia Codruța Simina Assessor
19-Mar-2021 (1 month ago) Updated: 1 month ago

The applicant sets out in its fact checks relevant evidence that appears to support the claim and significant evidence that appears to undermine it.


done_all 5.3 marked as Compliant by Emilia Codruța Simina.

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.

Funky Citizens
20-Jan-2021 (3 months ago) Updated: 3 months ago

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Emilia Codruța Simina Assessor
19-Mar-2021 (1 month ago) Updated: 1 month ago

Same professional standards are being applied to all claims, regardless of who made them. Factual has marked as FALSE statements made by prime ministers and their opposition at the time, strong or feared politicals leaders.


done_all 5.4 marked as Compliant by Emilia Codruța Simina.

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.

Funky Citizens
20-Jan-2021 (3 months ago) Updated: 3 months ago

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Emilia Codruța Simina Assessor
19-Mar-2021 (1 month ago) Updated: 1 month ago

Since we are talking about political claims, there is rarely a need for the team to contact the author of the claim. However, Factual has a chief editor who applies on fact-checking all standard criteria in journalism.


done_all 5.5 marked as Compliant by Emilia Codruța Simina.

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
20-Jan-2021 (3 months ago) Updated: 3 months ago

We do allow users to send such suggestions via email or Facebook, even if we do not openly encourage readers to submit claims to fact-check There are two reasons for this:

  • lack of resources: we cannot check as much as our readers want to (and we want to avoid their disappointment)
  • most of the things that they submit are uncheckable (i.e. political statements)

This is why we want to focus on educating the public about our methodology (precisely what we can be checked or not) 

Emilia Codruța Simina Assessor
19-Mar-2021 (1 month ago) Updated: 1 month ago

Factual allows his public to send claims to check, but it is not stated clearly on their website how they will adress them. I recommend a fair disclaimer for users on their website, and more specific criteria for selecting the claims, so the public would understand exactely which ones can and will be fact-check and whic ones won't.


done_all 5.6 marked as Compliant by Emilia Codruța Simina.

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
20-Jan-2021 (3 months ago) Updated: 3 months ago
Emilia Codruța Simina Assessor
19-Mar-2021 (1 month ago) Updated: 1 month ago

The corrections and complaints policy is available on a section of Factual blog (https://blog.factual.ro/politica-de-erata/). I would reccomend they move it on the site's main page.


done_all 6.1 marked as Compliant by Emilia Codruța Simina.

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
20-Jan-2021 (3 months ago) Updated: 3 months ago

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Emilia Codruța Simina Assessor
19-Mar-2021 (1 month ago) Updated: 1 month ago

The correction policy is very detailed and shows what happens if the staff makes minor or major mistakes, especially those requiring revised conclusions of a fact check. I also found no evidence that the correction policy is not respected.


done_all 6.2 marked as Compliant by Emilia Codruța Simina.

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
20-Jan-2021 (3 months ago) Updated: 3 months ago

We have only one example of a major correction regarding some economic data in a fact-check for one of the statements issued by the then Ministry of Finance. He was saying that "Pensions have been raised by the largest amount ever made by a Government". We initially labeled the statement as false, but in a quick timespan (two hours) after publication, we updated the verdict from “false” to “truncated”, thanks to our vigilant readers who pointed out some errors in our argumentation.

In order to stop the spreading of false information, we deleted the Facebook post altogether, being unable to edit the post and replace the attached image with a revised one.

On the website, the updated is marked at the end, in the “conclusion” section, with a strikethrough formatting on the word “false”

https://www.factual.ro/declaratii/florin-citu-despre-pensii/ 

Other than this, we have no such examples in the past year. Actually, we insist on making as few errors as possible. We try only much to live up to our reputation and be very thorough. Sometimes politicians interact and protest to the category in which their statement has been labeled by Factual: the dialogue is not very productive, but civilized: they use their politician tongue, we use our factual jargon and that’s that. Some of them honestly tried to understand where they were in error, and we appreciate that.

Emilia Codruța Simina Assessor
19-Mar-2021 (1 month ago) Updated: 1 month ago

The example offered by the applicant are relevant and show they are very adherent to their correction policy.


done_all 6.3 marked as Compliant by Emilia Codruța Simina.

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
20-Jan-2021 (3 months ago) Updated: 3 months ago
Emilia Codruța Simina Assessor
19-Mar-2021 (1 month ago) Updated: 1 month ago

Factual is not an existing signatory.


done_all 6.4 marked as Compliant by Emilia Codruța Simina.

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
20-Jan-2021 (3 months ago) Updated: 3 months ago

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Emilia Codruța Simina Assessor
19-Mar-2021 (1 month ago) Updated: 1 month ago

The conditions mentioned in are not applying to Factual, since their umbrella organization is an NGO not related to media.


done_all 6.5 marked as Compliant by Emilia Codruța Simina.