I give lots of credit to Lead Stories for "hunting for"--as it says online--trending hoax stories that should be debunked. More credit is owed to its transparency of methodology, which is clear and offers ways to replicate the fact checks. A piece is included here and could work as a model for other sites--even those that don't use its Trendolizer data to start the process of fact checking. It even created a new "satire" policy, which for some fact check sites has been a gray area.
Each story is different but these are the questions we try to answer before rendering a verdict and writing an article:
Is this version of the story the original? Or was it taken from some other site, and if so, which one and when?
Once the original source has been established: how reliable it has been in the past? Is it a legitimate news site? Are there satire disclaimers? Is the author identifiable? Is there contact information? Have previous stories from this source been debunked/checked by ourselves or other sites?
If the story is based on a scientific paper or study: can we find the original source and do the claims in the story match the claims in the paper or study? In some cases we might try to get the view of the scientist(s) who wrote the study or paper in order to be sure of our interpretation.
If there are pictures or video in the story: have they been used before elsewhere? Have they been manipulated? Can they be verified?
Do the people, places and quotes in the story really exist? And if so, can they be contacted to confirm what happened?
Is there evidence the events in the story didn't take place?
Depending on the answers to these questions we will label a story "False", "Mostly False", "Unproven", "Mostly True" or "True" after laying out all the evidence for our readers. We may also opt to label a story as "Satire" in accordance with our satire policy.'
5a marked as Fully compliant by Margot Susca.