Vishvas.News (MMI Online Limited)

Organization: MMI Online Limited
Applicant: Rajesh Upadhyay
Assessor: Preeti Chauhan
Conclusion and recommendations
on 21-Jan-2020 (4 months ago)

Preeti Chauhan wrote:

The applicant has provided relevant documents to show that it is a fact-checking division of a media organization which is a registered firm. It has regularly published fact-checks over the last three months.

The applicant lists its owner group and also provided the funding source. It has also provided the balance sheet of the owner company.

The applicant has explained its policy on checking claims. It has also assessed claims using similar standards. They have a non-partisanship policy and provided a copy of the contract.

They clearly mention their sources and explain the step-wise process of a fact-check so that the readers can do a fact check themselves. They have also provided a Sources policy. 

They have mentioned their whole team with their job profiles on the website.

The applicant encourages readers to reach out. They have multiple ways to contact or to send claims. 

Their website also has a methodology section. 

The applicant's correction policy is clearly articulated. The applicant provided two examples of corrections. Though mentioning the correction note in the article would be good. 

on 21-Jan-2020 (4 months ago)

Preeti Chauhan recommended Accept


Section 1: Organization

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

MMI Online Limited
17-Jan-2020 (4 months ago)

Vishvasnews.com is a Fact-Checking Initiative of MMI Online Limited. It is managed by a team of dedicated, trained and certified fact-checkers and journalists.

Vishvas.News debunks viral misinformation, which is in public domain and capable of creating social imbalance and influencing the thoughts of the general public. Vishvas.News strongly follows all the guidelines by IFCN (International Fact Checking Network) and the in-house editorial and ethics policies as well. Vishvas.News has set-up an internal and external auditing system to make sure the policies (Non-partisanship, Correction, Methodology, and Sources etc.) are followed in a transparent manner in each and every story and all the due processes are followed as well. Maintaining the quality of stories is of utmost priority for the team.

Internal auditing

The members of Team Vishvas.News are qualified, certified and trained fact-checkers and they rigorously follow all the guidelines by the International Fact-Checking Network (IFCN) and the 'in-house editorial/ethics policy' as well. The work process is clearly defined and all the members of Vishvas.News follow the Systematic Operating Procedure (SOP) in each and every step - right from the editorial discussions on story selection to the final go ahead for story publishing.

Physical verification from the primary or secondary sources in each story is one important step of story investigation and filing process of Vishvas.News.

Vishvas.News has a clearly defined Correction Policy (https://www.vishvasnews.com/correction-policy/). Vishvas.News welcomes suggestions and rectifications which we receive from our readers in the form of comments, mails and phone calls. In case we receive any complaint regarding accuracy of our content, we immediately put it on hold and determine the facts. Once the facts have been cross-examined, we take a considered decision and appropriately respond to the feedback. Depending on the authenticity and magnitude of the mistake/error, we edit the published information or duly inform the reader in case the original news does not qualify as a mistake and how we arrived at such a decision.

And the internal auditing is a constant process for the desk members and if the team finds any SOP violation in any story, the team re-investigates the story, follows the SOP and updates the stories as per the new findings or new inputs. As per the Correction Policy, the disclaimer gets mentioned in all such stories clearly stating the issue in the previous version and the new inputs taken to update the stories. There is a policy to put on-record the entire correction process under the name of the team members on Fact-Check Team page and the Correction Policy Page also. As a policy, we also save the archival version of the posts on which we do the fact checks.

Makers-Checkers: Vishvas.News has also set-up a process of 'Makers-Checkers' as the part of SOP in which the person who files the fact check copy doesn't have the right to publish his/her own copy. The copy is checked and filed by another desk member after the completion of the fact check and SOP again. This is just to make sure the copy is 100% error-free and follows all IFCN guidelines and in-house SOPs. Before publishing any fact check copy, the same goes to a quality check process to go through the grammatical/copy structure check to make sure that it talks about the fact only in a simple language.

The basic objective of news dissemination is to ensure that the people know what is happening and understand the possible causes so that they can form their own opinions and arrive at their own conclusions.

We publish news after checking the authenticity on the basis of the facts without any fear or favour. We make our journalism more insightful, meaningful and essential to the daily lives of the people.

With the approval from the Board of Directors of the company, a Fact Check Team within the company (letter attached), was formed Oct 24, 2018. This Team is independent of the other editorial operations of the Company and is engaged in fact checking and busting misinformation in the mainstream and social media.

The Team reports directly to the Editor in Chief of Vishvas.News.

Files Attached
picture_as_pdf Certificate of Incor... (357 KB) picture_as_pdf Team set up MMI (1).... (335 KB)
Preeti Chauhan Assessor
20-Jan-2020 (4 months ago) Updated: 4 months ago

The applicant has provided relevant documents to show that it is a registered firm and that it has a fact-checking section.


done_all 1a marked as Fully compliant by Preeti Chauhan.

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.

MMI Online Limited
17-Jan-2020 (4 months ago)
Preeti Chauhan Assessor
20-Jan-2020 (4 months ago) Updated: 4 months ago

The applicant has regularly published fact-checks over the last three months, averaging to about one per week.


done_all 1b marked as Fully compliant by Preeti Chauhan.

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.

MMI Online Limited
17-Jan-2020 (4 months ago) Updated: 4 months ago

1. Fact Check: बस में पेट्रोल नहीं, पानी डालकर आग बुझा रहे थे दिल्ली पुलिस के जवान, जानिए 12 प्वाइंट में पूरा सच

https://www.vishvasnews.com/politics/jamia-univ-clashes-was-police-igniting-the-bus-fire-or-dousing-it-know-the-truth-here/

2. Fact Check: उद्धव सरकार में कांग्रेस विधायक अमित देशमुख की कर्ज माफी का दावा गलत, सोशल मीडिया पर फैलाई जा रही अफवाह

https://www.vishvasnews.com/politics/fact-check-no-loan-waiver-given-to-congress-mla-amit-deshmukh-by-uddhav-govt-fake-post-viral-on-social-media/

3.Fact Check: भारत के मुकाबले पाकिस्तान, बांग्लादेश और श्रीलंका की GDP ग्रोथ रेट को लेकर वायरल ग्राफिक्स फर्जी

https://www.vishvasnews.com/politics/fact-check-fake-post-comparing-indias-growth-rate-with-pakistan-sri-lanka-and-bangladesh-gdp-rate-being-viral-on-social-media/

4.Fact Check: अयोध्या मामले में SC के आदेश से पहले फैल रही अफवाह, संचार व्यवस्था की निगरानी से जुड़ा कोई नया नियम नहीं हुआ लागू

https://www.vishvasnews.com/politics/fact-check-before-supreme-court-verdict-on-ayodhya-land-dispute-fake-message-circulating-on-social-media-about-new-communication-rule/

5.Fact Check: मुस्लिम नहीं है नेहरू खानदान, मनगढ़ंत वंशावली के जरिए किया जा रहा दुष्प्रचार

https://www.vishvasnews.com/politics/fact-check-fake-and-malicious-family-tree-of-nehru-family-being-viral-on-social-media/

6. Fact Check: भगत सिंह की असली फोटो बताकर वायरल की जा रही है फर्रुखाबाद के नवाब की तस्वीर

https://www.vishvasnews.com/society/fact-check-picture-of-farukhabads-nawab-is-going-viral-in-the-name-of-shaheed-bhagat-singhs-original-image/

7. Fact Check: तीन राज्यों में नहीं बटेगा यूपी, वायरल पोस्ट फर्जी, CM योगी ने इसे बताया अफवाह

https://www.vishvasnews.com/politics/fact-check-post-claiming-uttar-pradesh-will-be-divided-in-three-parts-is-fake/

8. Fact Check: कॉम्बिफ्लेम से मौत होने का वायरल दावा गलत है

https://www.vishvasnews.com/health/fact-check-post-claiming-combiflam-can-kill-you-is-misleading-2/

9. Fact Check: मिरेकल (चमत्कारिक) मिनरल सॉल्युशन से नहीं ठीक हो सकती हैं ऑटिज्म या ड्रिप्रेशन जैसी बीमा

https://www.vishvasnews.com/health/fact-check-post-claiming-miracle-mineral-solution-can-cure-diseases-such-as-autism-or-depression-is-fake/

10. Fact Check: JNU में कन्हैया कुमार के साथ दीपिका पादुकोण के देश ‘विरोधी’ नारा लगाए जाने का दावा फर्जी

https://www.vishvasnews.com/politics/fact-check-no-deepika-padukone-did-not-raise-any-slogan-with-former-jnusu-president-kanhaiya-kumar/


In last one year, Vishvas.News has established itself as India’s premier fact-checking website, which operates in five languages – Hindi, English, Urdu, Punjabi, and Assamese. Apart from this, Vishvas.News has also launched a dedicated fact-checking section for health-related misinformation in both Hindi and English languages. There is a separate video section also (In both English and Hindi languages) to present the fact checked stories in visual medium as well. Till date, Vishvas.News has fact-checked and published 1800+ stories (https://www.vishvasnews.com/) in different genres on its website. Vishvas.News empowers its readers to know and understand the fact-checking process by presenting all facts, supportive tools and quotes (From either primary source or secondary source) that help to debunk the misinformation which is viral on Internet and social media. There is an open Email ID, a Submit News page and a WhatsApp Number available on Vishvas.News website for its users to connect with the Team and to send their suggestions and queries. We make sure that none of our stories are politically inclined; we stay away from giving any opinion. We let the proof and evidence speak for itself. We make sure that the evidence attached in a story is self-explanatory. We let our readers draw their own conclusions.

Preeti Chauhan Assessor
20-Jan-2020 (4 months ago) Updated: 4 months ago

The applicant has covered fact checks on a variety of subjects and has not concentrated on one side of the topic. 


done_all 2a marked as Fully compliant by Preeti Chauhan.

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.

MMI Online Limited
17-Jan-2020 (4 months ago) Updated: 4 months ago

Many stringent standards are ensured by the observance of Vishvas.News’ comprehensive Editorial/Ethics Policy that lays down the code of conduct and guidelines for its fact-checkers and journalists. Vishvas.News strictly follows its ethical and ‘no Influencers’ policies which ensure that its stories are not influenced by any external bias. No one working in Vishvas.News engages in partisan political activity and never makes any contributions to candidates or advocacy organizations. Below is the link of our non-partisanship policy page.

http://vishvasnews.com/nonpartisanship-policy/

Apart from this the parent company’s websites and the other group websites also have initiated its editorial policy and are in the process to become the part of The Trust Project (https://thetrustproject.org/) to increase the effectiveness, authoritativeness and trustworthiness among the readers/audiences. Accordingly, the content and editorial policies have been updated on the group’s websites. Below are the links of the policy pages of the group websites.

Files Attached
picture_as_pdf JNM_MMI_Work_Ethics... (2 MB) picture_as_pdf Copy of Contract (1)... (4 MB)
Preeti Chauhan Assessor
20-Jan-2020 (4 months ago) Updated: 4 months ago

The applicant has a nonpartisanship policy and has provided a copy of the employee contract. There is an editorial policy attachment as well.  


done_all 2b marked as Fully compliant by Preeti Chauhan.

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.

MMI Online Limited
17-Jan-2020 (4 months ago) Updated: 4 months ago

Vishvas.News writes its stories in an explanatory manner so that the readers can read and understand how the story is debunked and they can use the learning to debunk other viral misinformation on their own. The stories are created in a way that all the evidences are properly used at appropriate places to support the conclusion in the story.

Sources (Either primary sources or secondary sources) are always provided in the story so that the readers can follow the fact-checking process from tip to toe and understand how the story is debunking any viral misinformation. This includes posting and imbedding tweets, links, pictures, screen grabs of reports, and any other relevant elements. We identify sources in a detailed manner, including providing link and/or screen-shots of the source/media reports.

As part of the internal editorial guidelines, team Vishvas News always does the physical verification in all stories, and the fact-checker who is doing any story does the communication with either primary or secondary sources to establish the fact in the claim. This is a mandatory process and everyone in the team strictly follows this process.

As a first step, we verify the source of the information or news. Once a claim is established, we consider it the most important step to find reliable sources of evidence to check the claim against. We rely on multiple sources to write our fact checks. If we are unable to verify it, we do not publish the news or information. The news source could be newspaper articles, YouTube links of news shows, tweets, Facebook pages. In the age of the Internet, some people pass off other organizations’ coverage as their own facts, which can lead to serious problems. We therefore take this as our responsibility to only serve the information that is verified and authentic. The source is given full credit for news published on the website. The image source is also given full credit in all stories. Every source we refer to is hyperlinked and/or attributed in the story.

Political parties, leaders, lawyers, and other professionals have presence on Facebook and other social media sites. We follow them or include them in our contacts list. While adding influential persons of the society we maintain that presence only in order to monitor the news feeds and nothing else; we do not communicate with them on that platform.

We are sensitive to the fact that different people have diverse viewpoints. If somebody has denied any allegations then this point is also included in the article. It is essential to make the effort to ensure that all reporting is impartial. The sole aim of ‘Vishvas News’ is to ensure that consistent and unbiased fact-checked story is published.

We ensure that data used in charts and infographic is accurate. We check the data (numbers) carefully so that our readers get the correct information. While covering political statements, we check the same at every level possible. It is our responsibility to provide our readers the complete fact-checked information.

We have initiated a ‘double-layered’ cross check system in which the fact-checker working on a story doesn’t have the right to publish the story himself. Another fact-checker of the team Vishvas.News re-checks his story and publishes the story from his Login ID only when he is convinced that all SOPs and guidelines are followed in the story. This system of ‘Makers-Checkers’ was started just to make sure the copies are 100% error-free and all SOPs and guidelines are followed properly.

Preeti Chauhan Assessor
20-Jan-2020 (4 months ago) Updated: 4 months ago

Sources are very well and clearly mentioned in the Applicant's fact checks. Readers can themselves check the authenticity of the given source, as they are mostly hyperlinked or clearly mentioned. They also have their Sources Policy.


done_all 3a marked as Fully compliant by Preeti Chauhan.

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.

MMI Online Limited
17-Jan-2020 (4 months ago) Updated: 4 months ago

The Vishvas News is working under the banner of ‘MMI Online Limited’ (CIN no. U72300UP2008PLC036242 ) a legal entity incorporated under Company’s Act of India and funded by the company’s promoters. You can view MMI Online Limited most recent financial disclosure i.e. Balance sheet for Financial Year 2018-2019.

Vishvas News does not accept donations from Political Parties, contested or elected candidate of any party and any Individual.  

Files Attached
picture_as_pdf MMI-Balance-Sheet (2... (129 KB) picture_as_pdf Vishvas Funding (1).... (202 KB)
Preeti Chauhan Assessor
20-Jan-2020 (4 months ago) Updated: 4 months ago

The applicant has provided the source of funding. It has also provided the balance sheet of the owner company. 


done_all 4a marked as Fully compliant by Preeti Chauhan.

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.

MMI Online Limited
17-Jan-2020 (4 months ago) Updated: 4 months ago

All the members of Vishvas News are qualified journalists and certified/trained fact checkers. The Vishvas News team is well aware of the seriousness and importance of the fact check they are doing and they have a clear idea and knowledge of the IFCN guidelines, in-house editorial/ethics policies and non-partisanship policy as well. The Team Vishvas News fact checkers behave in a non-partisanship manner on their individual social media accounts and they all follow Vishvas News’ social media guidelines also.

http://vishvasnews.com/fact-check-team/

Preeti Chauhan Assessor
20-Jan-2020 (4 months ago) Updated: 4 months ago

The names of the key people in the organisation are clearly listed, with their job profiles. 


done_all 4b marked as Fully compliant by Preeti Chauhan.

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

MMI Online Limited
17-Jan-2020 (4 months ago) Updated: 4 months ago

http://vishvasnews.com/contact-us/

https://www.vishvasnews.com/submit-news/

WhatsApp Number: +91- 9205270923

Email ID: contact@vishvasnews.com

Preeti Chauhan Assessor
20-Jan-2020 (4 months ago) Updated: 4 months ago

The applicant encourages readers to reach out. They have mentioned a couple of ways to reach out. 


done_all 4c marked as Fully compliant by Preeti Chauhan.

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.

MMI Online Limited
17-Jan-2020 (4 months ago) Updated: 4 months ago
Preeti Chauhan Assessor
20-Jan-2020 (4 months ago) Updated: 4 months ago

The applicant has clearly mentioned their methodology on the Website.


done_all 5a marked as Fully compliant by Preeti Chauhan.

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.

MMI Online Limited
17-Jan-2020 (4 months ago) Updated: 4 months ago

There are multiple ways through which the readers can submit claims to fact-check and provide us feedback about our stories. In every story, at the end, there is a dedicated ‘leave a reply’ section for submitting feedback. Also, at the bottom of every story, there is our email ID mentioned - contact@vishvasnews.com for the users to connect with us easily.

There is a dedicated WhatsApp No. +91- 9205270923 is also mentioned at the bottom in every story page through which the readers can reach out to Vishvas News. All these inputs from the readers are regularly monitored.

Preeti Chauhan Assessor
20-Jan-2020 (4 months ago) Updated: 4 months ago

The applicant’s website provides a dedicated call for action that explains to readers how to send claims. They also have a dedicated WhatsApp number where readers can send claims to fact check. 


done_all 5b marked as Fully compliant by Preeti Chauhan.

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.

MMI Online Limited
17-Jan-2020 (4 months ago) Updated: 4 months ago

Vishvas News never takes a step back from accepting its mistakes. We have many open platforms where the readers can get back to us with any correction claim, they may need in the content published. We welcome suggestions and rectifications from the users or the people/pages in question in our stories through our WhatsApp number, emails, comments and phone calls. In addition to this, we also have an internal quality control team that re-checks everything that goes live on the site neutrally.

We have a Fact Check Alert number for WhatsApp +91-9205270923 and email id: contact@vishvasnews.com . This number and email id are mentioned at the end of every story page so that it’s feasible for the reader to easily point out anything they may find incorrect/misleading. We never fail to acknowledge our mistakes and respond quickly when brought to our notice.

Team Vishvas News rectifies every mistake as quickly as possible. When we receive any complaints regarding the inaccuracy of our content, we immediately put it on hold and determine the facts. Once the facts have been examined, we take a considered decision and appropriately respond to the feedback. Depending on the authenticity and magnitude of the mistake/error, we edit the published information or duly inform the reader in case the identified error does not qualify as a mistake with an explanation.

We have another important policy that if a major mistake is found in any copy, we will update it with the correct version and duly give credit to the person who identifies the error and makes it a point to mention it in the copy. Though it didn’t happen even once with us since the day Vishvas News started doing the fact-checking work.

http://vishvasnews.com/correction-policy/

Preeti Chauhan Assessor
20-Jan-2020 (4 months ago) Updated: 4 months ago

The applicant has a correction policy which is available on their website. They have also provided links to the corrected fact checks on the correction policy page.


done_all 6a marked as Fully compliant by Preeti Chauhan.

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

MMI Online Limited
17-Jan-2020 (4 months ago) Updated: 4 months ago

Sept 16, 2019

Vishvas News received a claim on a story which was done on Sept 14 by Vishvas News Team member (Emp ID: PN0041)). Below is the story URL

https://www.vishvasnews.com/politics/fact-check-fake-tweet-of-congress-claiming-about-unemployment-in-auto-sector-being-viral-on-social-media/

Vishvas News received a mail from the admin of ‘Fir Ek Bar Modi Sarkar’ Facebook page claiming the rating given on its post by Vishvas News was incorrect. The author of the story didn’t get a required quote from Youth Congress. As per the IFCN guidelines and the SOP, Vishvas News made necessary correction in the story and changed the rating of the Facebook post from False to True.

Jan 16, 2020

On January 6, Vishvas News Team's Fact Checker (Employee ID PN0058) had done a fact check story on the viral 3D image of Australian map showing the intensity of bushfire. The image was also going viral with a fake claim saying it was taken from a NASA satellite. The fact checker who was working on this story had done the investigation properly following all the guidelines and got a quote from the creator of the 3D image who confirmed that the image was produced using the bushfire data provided by NASA. Below is the URL of the Vishvas News story-

https://www.vishvasnews.com/world/fact-check-australia-bush-fire-viral-image-does-not-shared-by-nasa-but-is-graphic-image-which-is-being-circulated-with-fake-claim/

Vishvas News works as the Third-Party Fact Check Partner with Facebook. If the viral posts are on Facebook, Vishvas News rates the post as - False, Truth, Misleading - basis on the fact-check outcome in the story. There is a separate guideline to follow to rate the posts for Facebook, as some images are correct but the claims with the images are either fake or misleading, and sometimes both images and the claims are incorrect. In these scenarios, Vishvas News goes with either 'On single post' or 'identical content'. In the above story, the image was absolutely fine in the Facebook post, but the claims used with the image were incorrect, as it was mentioned properly in the story. But, during the story rating process, the fact checker (Employee ID PN0058) marked the story as 'identical content'. As a result, some Facebook users received message of fake image fact-checked by an Independent fact-checker' even if they posted the correct claim with it. Vishvas News was not able to correct the rating due to a technical issue which we faced because the user mentioned in Vishvas News story had deleted his Facebook post. It took a week day time to resolve the technical issue, and it was fixed on Jan 15.

Vishvas News received 13 appeal mails by different Facebook users due the 'identical content' issue. All of them had used the image with the correct description with the image but received 'fake image' message due to the technical glitch. Vishvas News contacted all of them in separate mails and explained the issue on January 9. And, once the issue was resolved, Vishvas News again sent a confirmation mail to all of them.

The Vishvas News member (Employee ID PN0058), who rated the post with incorrect option, was asked to explain (why it happened) in an official mail and the required action was taken against her as per the guidelines and policy after her response.

Preeti Chauhan Assessor
20-Jan-2020 (4 months ago) Updated: 4 months ago

The Applicant has provided links to correction samples. Though it is not clear in the article how and when they corrected it.


done_all 6b marked as Fully compliant by Preeti Chauhan.