La Silla Vacía

Organization: La Silla Vacía
Applicant: Juan Esteban Lewin
Assessor: Eduardo Arriagada
Conclusion and recommendations

Section 1: Organization

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

Eduardo Arriagada Assessor
03-Nov-2018 (1 year ago)

Legally founded in 2009, La Silla Vacía had become the most renowned online native news outlet of Colombia, with a political relevance that can be compare with leaders of tradicional media as Semana and El Tiempo. Since may 2014 it runs a section called El Detector de Mentiras (“Polygraph”), focus in fact checking.


done_all 1a marked as Fully compliant by Eduardo Arriagada.

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

La Silla Vacía
23-Oct-2018 (1 year ago) Updated: 1 year ago

Eduardo,

We noticed that some of our fact checks were not tagged in the URL we sent you. Thank you for the advice. This process of adding all the fact checks manually to one tag will take some weeks, but we have already started this process. Meanwhile we can share with you this data base which contains all the fact checks we have made in the past year. https://docs.google.com/spreadsheets/d/1AX_kiL9A4SVLo43MOwhJpZRzPxJ_9gzoLRieVRwED68/edit?usp=sharing 

Does this solves your doubts?

Eduardo Arriagada Assessor
03-Nov-2018 (1 year ago) Updated: 1 year ago

La Silla Vacía publishes fact checks about different topics and people on a relative regular basis: throughout the last year analyzed (October 2017-October 2018), some weeks have been found with two fact checks, although there were also some weeks with not one fact checks in months as December, January and August. It looks that this rhythm is the normal news flow of a section that had been running it activity uninterruptedly since for more than four years ago. With a work that publish at least two fact checks in the weak months and 8 in average month per year this assessor concludes that this organization complies partially with the requirements even is possible than the results of the new Whatsapp method could allow me to define as fully compliant this assessment. 


done 1b marked as Partially compliant by Eduardo Arriagada.

Section 2: Nonpartisanship and Fairness

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

La Silla Vacía
23-Oct-2018 (1 year ago) Updated: 1 year ago

1. Engañosa cadena sobre Viviane Morales y el uribismo: https://lasillavacia.com/detector-la-enganosa-cadena-sobre-viviane-morales-y-el-uribismo-66123

2. Detector a las falsas portadas de Semana en redes sociales: https://lasillavacia.com/detector-las-falsas-portadas-de-semana-en-redes-66226

3. El arranque del NO al plebiscito: http://lasillavacia.com/historia/detector-de-mentiras-al-arranque-del-no-al-plebiscito-57371

4. Detector a Gustavo Petro en Hora 20: https://lasillavacia.com/detector-gustavo-petro-en-hora-20-65832

5. La francesa que murió en el Centro Comercial Andino: http://lasillavacia.com/historia/detector-de-whatsapp-sobre-la-francesa-que-murio-en-el-andino-61499

6. Detector en vivo al debate en Caracol: https://lasillavacia.com/detector-en-vivo-al-debate-de-caracol-66248

7. Posición de Iván Duque sobre la cadena perpetua: https://lasillavacia.com/detector-la-posicion-de-duque-sobre-la-cadena-perpetua-para-asesinos-y-violadores-de 

8. El falso negocio de los hijos de Álvaro Uribe: https://lasillavacia.com/el-falso-nuevo-negocio-de-los-hijos-de-uribe-68179

9. Juan Manuel Santos sobre las regalías: http://lasillavacia.com/historia/detector-de-mentiras-santos-sobre-las-regalias-52912

10. Los mitos del Bronx: http://lasillavacia.com/historia/los-mitos-del-bronx-pasados-por-el-detector-de-mentiras-61191#5

La Silla Vacía has run the Lie Detector (Detector de Mentiras) since 2013 to factcheck claims made by powerful figures in Colombia. It was created following advise form Chequeado, using standard coherent and consistent way of assessing the value of the claims. We created it to demystify the political discourse and make political players accountable for what they say. We fact-check all parts of the political debate, not only politicians but the judgments made by opinion leaders, media, and the opposition.

Recently we have focused our efforts on partnering with the public and audiences, specifically by asking our readers to send us WhatsApp claims, because we found that news consumers in Colombia often use the popular global messaging and communication platform as their main information source and that it has been used to misinform. We thus launched WhatsApp Detector in January 2017 as a service that factchecks viral chain messages that circulate on the platform, using the same method to create and disseminate fact checks.

We are also members of the Third-Party Fact Checkers group of media that Facebook choose to inspect fake news that circulate at the social media. Acordingly, we are checking an average of 20 news monthly.

Eduardo Arriagada Assessor
03-Nov-2018 (1 year ago) Updated: 1 year ago

According to the analysis of their fact checks I found in the section its clear that the section "El Detector" from "La Silla Vacía" covers a variety of subjects and speakers in a balance way. Most or them are colombian mains political figures what is normal in every country that this kind of work in a general interest media is concentrate over the power holders.


done_all 2a marked as Fully compliant by Eduardo Arriagada.

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

La Silla Vacía
23-Oct-2018 (1 year ago) Updated: 1 year ago

http://lasillavacia.com/content/preguntas-frecuentes-55167 

In order to maintain the independence of La Silla Vacía we use the techniques of good journalism: we have an objective method of verifying data, we report against our prejudices, we do not make stories from a single source, we call all sides of a history, and we do research until we convince ourselves of what happened.

La Silla Vacía is not politically affiliated with any party although that doesn't mean that individual journalists do not have their political preferences. But we try to report against our prejudices and preferences to filter out those biases. We are only ideologically aligned to the Colombian Political Constitution of 1991.

We don't enter into any relationship that may restrain our freedom to report what we want. We don't accept donations or funding from national government offices or political parties. Invitations or gifts from the sources are never accepted.

Eduardo Arriagada Assessor
03-Nov-2018 (1 year ago) Updated: 1 year ago

Based on the same evidences I conclude that La Silla Vacía does not, in any way, advocate in favor or against any of the main political parties and movements that dispute the leadership of the political system at Colombia. Even during the last plebiscite the section cover fairly the two options that separate the people of Colombia in relation with a peace process that looks like they support as media. La Silla Vacía works under a publicly accessible organization policy who talk about ideologies that is accepted by the journalist before they become part of the staff.


done_all 2b marked as Fully compliant by Eduardo Arriagada.

Section 3: Transparency of Sources

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

La Silla Vacía
23-Oct-2018 (1 year ago)

Our factchecks always provide at least the name of the expert, institution or organization that we used as a source. When possible, we include a link to the document that sustains the data used.

Our policy is to use, whenever possible, public data that has not been put into question. When that is not possible, or the claim relates to an argument rather than a specific information, we look for the best renowned experts in the field and crosscheck their answers. Readers could replicate the fact check by writing directly to the team of La Silla Vacía by the contact form, or simply in the comments section below every story which are constantly reviewed by the author.

Eduardo Arriagada Assessor
03-Nov-2018 (1 year ago) Updated: 1 year ago

In their published fact-checks La Silla Vacía provides links to reliable sources of data, images and links of the social networks post that refer to them or at least they provide complete details of them to allow readers or others colleague to repeat the process by themselves. They have a clear space call "reglas de juego" that allow users to replicate: https://lasillavacia.com/content/reglas-de-juego-55171.


done_all 3a marked as Fully compliant by Eduardo Arriagada.

Section 4: Transparency of Funding & Organization

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

La Silla Vacía
23-Oct-2018 (1 year ago) Updated: 1 year ago

Half of our resources come from international cooperation projects with international ONGs such as Ford, Open Society, Ned and Oxfam. The other half come from commercial projects such as our "Silla Académica" (where universities pay to have contextual ads of their papers and other academic publications); the sponsorship of our theme-based expert networks ("Silla Llena") and regional dedicated media (regional Sillas); debates in universities; talks and workshops; crowdfunding; and commercial ads. See detailed resources and expendidures in: https://lasillavacia.com/content/financiacion-63024 

Eduardo Arriagada Assessor
03-Nov-2018 (1 year ago) Updated: 1 year ago

Even in the signature application, La Silla Vacía has provide only general information in the link they there is a lot of information: https://lasillavacia.com/content/financiacion-63024 that show an example of how a media can share the different sources of finance they have, with very clear figures and graphics. It show that they had been not only have a lot of institutions, specially internationals, helping they, they also have been created commercials projects that increased their resources.


done_all 4a marked as Fully compliant by Eduardo Arriagada.

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

La Silla Vacía
23-Oct-2018 (1 year ago)
Eduardo Arriagada Assessor
03-Nov-2018 (1 year ago) Updated: 1 year ago

The staff of La Silla Vacía is a clear group of journalist that are easy to find in the web site, and each member have a link with a text about their last years experience and their twitter account and some recent work that they had been responsable. In addition, every fact-check provides information about the journalists behind each work, including a link to the others fact checks that they had handle.


done_all 4b marked as Fully compliant by Eduardo Arriagada.

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

La Silla Vacía
23-Oct-2018 (1 year ago) Updated: 1 year ago
Eduardo Arriagada Assessor
03-Nov-2018 (1 year ago) Updated: 1 year ago

The site shows clear and accessible means of contact to fact-checkers, that allow readers to send their claims. In the La Silla Vacía website is very clear the contact link and also the form included in it. There are several places of the site that promote the work of the readers, specially in relation with Whats app.


done_all 4c marked as Fully compliant by Eduardo Arriagada.

Section 5: Transparency of Methodology

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

La Silla Vacía
23-Oct-2018 (1 year ago) Updated: 1 year ago

https://lasillavacia.com/content/metodologia-62965 

We have developed a specific method for our WhatsApp checks. If a WhatsApp user contacts La Silla Vacía with a piece of misleading information, we will answer, either with a fact-check or explaining why we cannot factcheck it, mainly because it can be outside the scope of our work. The hope: each user will then share the fact-check with his or her social circle. Checking WhatsApp chain messages is a way to get involved in conversations that real people are actually participating in, and to give them tools to form opinions based on facts, rather than falsehoods. 90 percent of what we’ve factchecked turns out to be untrue, which suggests that people share information on WhatsApp based on their emotions and interests, not what they know to be factual. The WhatsApp Detector relies on the same tagging system developed for La Silla Vacía’s Lie Detector: sections are labeled as “True,” “False,” “True but…,” “Debatable,” “Rushed,” “Exaggerated,” or “Misleading.” La Silla Vacía publishes 2 to 5 detectors per week in order to cover enough topics and fake news. Example: http://lasillavacia.com/historia/detector-de-whatsapp-sobre-la-supuesta-casa-de-santos-en-londres-61994 

Eduardo Arriagada Assessor
03-Nov-2018 (1 year ago) Updated: 1 year ago

La Silla Vacía provides a clear page with necessary details of how they make fact checks under the title of methodology. Is a well designed page that explain their types of categories they use to classified each fact checks.


done_all 5a marked as Fully compliant by Eduardo Arriagada.

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

La Silla Vacía
23-Oct-2018 (1 year ago) Updated: 1 year ago

We constantly publish the following GIF in our webpage (https://giphy.com/gifs/26gsb8FMXu7lSVXXi/fullscreen) in order to persuade more people to send us viral chain messages that circulate on Whatsapp. In most Detectors, we also remind our audience to send the messages they want to factcheck (http://lasillavacia.com/historia/detector-de-whatsapp-cadena-sobre-voto-en-blanco-y-farc-61852). La Silla Vacía also includes a form open to any user that want to submit new or additional information about a specific history. This space is called “Cuéntenos lo que sabe” and users should include their name and message (http://lasillavacia.com/historia/detector-de-mentiras-al-resumen-uribista-de-los-acuerdos-por-whatsapp-57860).                         

Eduardo Arriagada Assessor
03-Nov-2018 (1 year ago) Updated: 1 year ago

The site has good forms to allow readers to contact the site to submit claims related to fact checks. Maybe is necessary to review the site because in this moment its not easy to find this spaces because the order of the site, with the develop of the campaign to receive funds and the grown of sections, specially in terms of local sites, is getting difficult to find this key information. But each fact check have a blue box that its call "tell me what do you know" this is ready for this and a commentary section that also could be use to do this. The participation of the reader now is even better thanks of the new section related with WhatsApp that allow the reader to become an actually a fact checkers in the "be you the detector" sharing viral chain messages. 


done_all 5b marked as Fully compliant by Eduardo Arriagada.

Section 6: Open & Honest Corrections Policy

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

La Silla Vacía
23-Oct-2018 (1 year ago) Updated: 1 year ago

La Silla Vacía is open to review any possible mistake or inaccuracy. We hence react to any request or warning, be it formal or not, on any alleged mistake or inaccuracy. Once we learn about a request or warning, we start a process by matching the request to what we have published and to our sources for that information. If it is required, we look for additional sources of information that may help us to clear the specific point. With this additional reporting we define whether it is necessary to modify, correct, clarify or rectify our piece. If we find that it requires a minor clarification or correction, we modify the original text and add, at the end of the piece, a note by the editor in which we explain what has happened, our decision and the change, in order for our users to complete and transparent information. If we find that it requires the adjustment of an essential element of our original piece, we create a new one that rectifies, apologizes for the mistake and explains all the process, as well as the new and correct information. We also modify the original piece, including its title, stating that it has been rectified and including a hyperlink to the new and correct piece. If our conclusion is that nothing needs to be changed and there is a formal request to rectify, we include a note by the editor in which we explain what has happened, our decision and a hyperlink to the request, in order for our users to have complete and transparent information. In exceptional cases, when a debate has aroused regarding a piece by La Silla Vacía, the director has written an entry on their blog, explaining our position on the issue. See more: https://lasillavacia.com/content/reglas-de-juego-55171 

Eduardo Arriagada Assessor
03-Nov-2018 (1 year ago) Updated: 1 year ago

As we had talk in the link https://lasillavacia.com/content/reglas-de-juego-55171 La Silla Vacía has a clear public corrections policy.


done_all 6a marked as Fully compliant by Eduardo Arriagada.

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

La Silla Vacía
23-Oct-2018 (1 year ago) Updated: 1 year ago

Recently, we have not had to revise or correct any of our claims made in the detectors. Nevertheless, we have two examples of corrections made in 2017 and 2016, and two more examples of corrections made from non fack-checking content.

In 2017 we published an article (http://lasillavacia.com/historia/detector-al-discurso-de-santos-en-la-instalacion-del-congreso-61825) regarding an important public address by the President. In one of the 40 fact checks that it included, pertaining to the amount of new homes whose construction was subsidized by the Government during his term, we forgot to include one of the channels in which such subsidies are granted, and thus mistakenly assessed the claim as false. In response to the piece a high level source contacted us, sent us the data that we had missed, and we thus corrected the fact check and included a note on the original piece explaining the situation.

In 2016, in another piece (http://lasillavacia.com/historia/detector-de-mentiras-la-tributaria-58605) with multiple fact checks (39) for different public figures regarding on subject, we mistakenly understood a claim to refer to a given year, due to the contexts it was made. After publishing the piece, the public figure contacted us to explain that it referred to another year. We thus corrected the fact check and included a note on the original piece explaining the situation.

One of the most recent corrections regards "Así funcionan los matrimonios entre políticos y empresarios" (https://lasillavacia.com/asi-funcionan-los-matrimonios-entre-politicos-y-empresarios-63661). This particular case merited an specific story explaining in detail the corrections asked for by former senator Piedad Zuccardi and her family, our arguments for granting one of them and including new information in the original story, and for not granting other corrections. It can be found in "Rectificación sobre Piedad Zuccardi" in https://lasillavacia.com/rectificacion-sobre-piedad-zuccardi-64345

Another example of a correction made in this year was about the mistaken tweet we posted in @lasillaenvivo informing that the senator Antanas Mockus urinated in Congress. Our mistake was that the senator only showed his buttock, as a symbolic gesture; we correctd the tweet a few minutes after the first one was published, expailened the mistake and erased the first tweet. However, other media republished our mistaken information, and we hence published fact-check to correct their information and take responsibility for being the original mistaken source: https://lasillavacia.com/la-falsa-noticia-sobre-la-orinada-de-mockus-en-el-congreso-67172 . 

See more of our correction policy in: https://lasillavacia.com/content/reglas-de-juego-55171 

Eduardo Arriagada Assessor
03-Nov-2018 (1 year ago) Updated: 1 year ago

Looks as a signal that there is no classical corrections from all year long, specially in an election one. In their application "La Silla Vacía" send two examples of corrections to fact-checks that show they had been transparent with corrections and that they applied the correction policy they promote in the methodology section. In both cases they made their corrections using a clear "note of the editor" for it. I recommend that the site for their next process, during next 12 months, develop a special section with all the corrections together as a repository of them.


done_all 6b marked as Fully compliant by Eduardo Arriagada.