Rappler

Organization: Rappler
Applicant: Maria Ressa and Gemma B. Mendoza
Assessor: Ma. Diosa Labiste
Edits made by the organization after this assessment

IFCN Staff wrote:

Rappler has followed the external assessor's suggestions. 

Please go to https://www.rappler.com/about-rappler/about-us/214420-frequently-asked-questions-fact-check-project


From the assessor: Rappler has addressed the methodological and organization issues raised in this assessment. I have no more comments or suggestions.


Conclusion and recommendations
on 02-Oct-2018 (2 years ago)

Ma. Diosa Labiste wrote:

Rappler has to address the organizational and methodological issues raised in this assessment.

on 02-Oct-2018 (2 years ago)

Ma. Diosa Labiste recommended Accept with edits


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.

Rappler
12-Sep-2018 (2 years ago) Updated: 2 years ago

Rappler is the independent news organization based in the Philippines which runs www.rappler.com. This is the link to Rappler’s organizational profile:

http://www.rappler.com/about-rappler/about-us/385-about-rappler 

This is the link to Rappler’s certificate incorporation with the Philippine Securities and Exchange Commission:

https://drive.google.com/file/d/0B1GjsaM5mnUidjgtcFVURDBwZnc/view?usp=sharing

Rappler IQ is a subsection within Newsbreak, the investigative & research arm of Rappler. (https://www.rappler.com/newsbreak/iq) It is maintained primarily by a research unit which independently gathers public-interest imbued data, documents from primary sources to aid in fact-checking and verification, monitors content that need fact-checking, and produces fact check explainer stories. 

Files Attached
picture_as_pdf Rappler Articles of... (594 KB)
Ma. Diosa Labiste Assessor
30-Sep-2018 (2 years ago) Updated: 1 year ago

Rappler has produced fact-checks and explainers regularly over the last four months, through the work of a dedicated team of fact-checkers. The fact-checking project(Rappler IQ) is under Newsbreak, which is the investigative arm of Rappler. Newsbreak is a separate media organization founded in 2001but now  part of Rappler (https://www.rappler.com/newsbreak). However there is no evidence offered on Newsbreak's ties with Rappler. Is Newsbreak and affiliate or now part of Rappler that it need not be a separate signatory to IFCN?

Rappler Inc. was registered with the Philippine Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) on July 25, 2001. However the SEC revoked Rappler's registration on January 11, 2018 for violating foreign ownership rules. Rappler Holdings Corporation (registered on December 12, 2014) sold $1 million in Philippine Depository Receipts (PDR) to US-based Omidyar Network Fund that, according to SEC, included a clause on Rappler seeking the PDR holders' approval on some corporate matters. Rappler Holdings registration was also revoked by SEC ( https://www.sec.gov.ph/wp-content/uploads/2018/01/2018Decision_RapplerIncandRapplerHoldingsCorp.pdf). Rappler questioned the SEC decision before the Court of Appeals. Meanwhile Omidyar donated its PDRs to Rappler Filipino managers. The Court of Appeals remanded Rappler's case to SEC to determine the legal effect of the donation. The SEC has not yet resolved Rappler's case.

In this criterion, Rappler is compliant with item (a) but there are still legal issues on Rappler's registration/ownership to be resolved in item (B) under the "Partially compliant" category. 


done 1a marked as Partially compliant by Ma. Diosa Labiste.

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.

Rappler
12-Sep-2018 (2 years ago) Updated: 2 years ago

This is the link to the Fact Check subsection

https://www.rappler.com/newsbreak/fact-check

In addition to external fact checks, the unit also proactively tries to help prevent misinformation or disinformation by publishing fast facts and explainers to help nuance and contextualize conversations around complex issues and concerns. These pieces usually tap into primary sources of information: documents, data, etc. This is critical in the Philippines where not all critical information is accessible online.

This is the link to Rappler IQ where we proactively publish fast facts, quick statistics and explainers:

https://www.rappler.com/newsbreak/iq

Ma. Diosa Labiste Assessor
30-Sep-2018 (2 years ago) Updated: 2 years ago

Rappler regularly produces fact-checking entries over the last four months (June, 23 entries; July, 18; August 24; and September, 14). The claims were verified on the basis, or degree, of their accuracy. See Rappler's repository of fact-checked claims https://www.rappler.com/newsbreak/fact-check

Rappler also came up with explainers and fast facts  (https://www.rappler.com/newsbreak/iq) that  explain and provide context to complex issues.


done_all 1b marked as Fully compliant by Ma. Diosa Labiste.

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.

Rappler
12-Sep-2018 (2 years ago) Updated: 2 years ago

Our published fact check methodology explains the scope of our fact checking effort as well as the workflow for deciding what to prioritize in fact-checking. It may be accessed here:

https://www.rappler.com/about-rappler/about-us/174766-fact-check-methodology

As explained in the methodology, our fact-check efforts cover not just politics and governance issues but also other issues of public interest, particularly those that affect public safety. We focus on these:

1. Statements by key public officials given their potential to translate to policy. This includes statements that contradict previous statements they made;

2. Misleading statements or outright falsehoods by influential personalities which could affect public discourse or pose potential harm to the public;

3. False claims and hoaxes circulated en masse on social media which could affect public safety, have the potential to influence public opinion, or incite hate.

We also fact check major public-interest events such as candidate debates during elections as well as the incumbent president’s annual state of the nation address. Some recent examples of claims that we fact checked are shown below:


Fact-checks on claims critical of the administration:

HOAX: Duterte is 'first Philippine president to import galunggong'

https://www.rappler.com/newsbreak/fact-check/210009-hoax-duterte-first-philippine-president-import-round-scad-galunggong

FACT CHECK: Misleading Aquino-Duterte comparison in 'pro-Roxas' page

https://www.rappler.com/newsbreak/fact-check/204337-pro-mar-roxas-facebook-page-inaccurate-comparison-aquino-duterte


Fact-checks of the President’s statements:

LIST: False claims of Duterte, Panelo about legal issues on Trillanes amnesty

https://www.rappler.com/newsbreak/iq/211760-duterte-panelo-false-claims-about-trillanes-amnesty

What you need to know about what Duterte said in 2018 SONA

https://www.rappler.com/newsbreak/fact-check/208021-2018-sona-duterte-fact-check-context

FACT CHECK: Duterte's reaction to Canada helicopters deal taken out of context

https://www.rappler.com/newsbreak/fact-check/204411-duterte-reaction-canada-helicopters-deal-context


Fact-checks of statements by public officials:

FACT CHECK: NEDA didn't say family of 5 can live decently on P10,000 a month

https://www.rappler.com/newsbreak/fact-check/204246-neda-filipino-family-5-members-monthly-budget

WRONG: 'Naga top 5 city in crime volume' (This fact check piece prompted an apology from the Philippine National Police)


Fact-checks on hoax content circulated on social media

HOAX: Pope Francis 'kisses' model on the chest

https://www.rappler.com/newsbreak/fact-check/206190-hoax-pope-francis-kiss-model-chest

HOAX: ‘Ex-LP congressman buys posh Alabang home post-Yolanda’

https://www.rappler.com/newsbreak/fact-check/209202-hoax-lp-congressman-typhoon-yolanda-funds-corruption-charge

FACT CHECK: Only June 12 is a national non-working holiday

https://www.rappler.com/newsbreak/fact-check/204089-june-12-only-national-non-working-holiday-philippines

Ma. Diosa Labiste Assessor
30-Sep-2018 (2 years ago) Updated: 2 years ago

Rappler fact-checked a variety of topics/topics and subjects over the last three months. Its  criteria for choosing what claims to fact-check are shaped by the notion of public interest. This means a focus on statements of key public officials that can translate to policy, statements that affect public opinion and claims that pose potential  harm to the public. Rappler also fact-checked celebrities (death hoaxes) and verified spurious photographs and images.

Rappler also fact-checked claims against Rappler, the organzation, and its CEO,Maria Ressa. (See https://www.rappler.com/newsbreak/fact-check/187643-fact-check-pcoo-reclassify-rappler-social-media-under-mocha-uson ; https://www.rappler.com/newsbreak/fact-check/200190-fact-check-maria-ressa-not-focap-president). 

Rappler's methodology rests on a three-step workflow. This involves claims spotting, prioritizing of content for fact-checking, and rating the claims. In its presentation of a fack-checked entry, Rappler includes links to other sources, available evidence, and the origin and reach of the claim. https://www.rappler.com/about-rappler/about-us/174766-fact-check-methodology



done_all 2a marked as Fully compliant by Ma. Diosa Labiste.

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.

Rappler
12-Sep-2018 (2 years ago) Updated: 2 years ago

Rappler has a strict policy with respect to conflict of interest. This is not limited to political parties or advocacy organizations. In general, staff are required to disclose and avoid potential conflicts of interest situations, where loyalty to a person, group or institution could affect their ability to report about them truthfully.

There is a strict policy as well to reject gifts or privileges that could influence the independence or create a perception of compromised independence.

Staff are also advised to avoid taking part in activities or being part of organizations which could limit or compromise their independence and endanger their professional integrity.

These principles are enshrined Rappler’s Code of Ethics which was initiated in 2012 and is updated from time to time as the need arises. The Code of Ethics is annexed to the Code of Conduct which every Rappler signs upon joining the organization.

The Code of Ethics serves as the skeleton / backbone of a daily operations manual that we maintain and update constantly as the need arises.

Through Move.PH, its civic engagement unit, Rappler works with citizen journalists in communities all over the country. Citizen journalists also sign the Movers’ Code of Ethics. In our workshops, we ask potential volunteers to adopt this code.

Files Attached
picture_as_pdf Rappler Movers Code... (183 KB)
Ma. Diosa Labiste Assessor
30-Sep-2018 (2 years ago) Updated: 2 years ago

Rappler's Movers Code of ethics  prohibits a mover from joining any political parties and advocacy groups as well as support political candidates. A mover is part of Move.Ph, which oversees citizen journalists and civic groups working with Rappler. 

Rappler has to clarify if the Movers' Code of Ethics is also the same Code of Ethics that Rappler staff sign. If not, Rappler has give evidence of a separate Rappler's Code of Ethics and Code of Conduct given to regular staff.


done 2b marked as Partially compliant by Ma. Diosa Labiste.

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.

Rappler
12-Sep-2018 (2 years ago) Updated: 1 year ago

This rule is published as part of our fact check methodology:

“To the extent possible, we identify sources in stories we publish. Sources are informed that they are to be identified and quoted. There are three criteria for allowing anonymity of sources – track record of truthfulness, danger to life of a whistleblower or insider, and when the source’s information could be confirmed or verified by independent sources or documents. In such cases, we provide as much background as we can on unnamed sources without compromising their identity.”

https://www.rappler.com/about-rappler/about-us/174766-fact-check-methodology

In addition, whenever documents or stories cited in articles are available online, we either embed these source documents or hyperlink to the source material.

In our fact check pieces, we describe to our audience the process we went through in order to arrive at a particular rating or conclusion and we either link to sources online or embed supporting documents.

Ma. Diosa Labiste Assessor
30-Sep-2018 (2 years ago) Updated: 2 years ago

Rappler's fact-checking entries in the last three months include details and evidence  for the readers who may want to do their own verification of the information or fact-check similar cases in the future.  Rappler mentions the techniques and tools for verification. These are shown in the following entries:

1.Rappler verified a viral photo of protesters carrying pro-Duterte and pro-Ferdinand Marcos Jr. banner in a rally. https://www.rappler.com/newsbreak/fact-check/208250-hoax-sona-2018-rally-supports-duterte-bongbong-marcos-photos. Rappler provided readers with straightforward way of identifying a manipulated photo, that is, by comparing it with a similar photographs that are identified by location and colors of flags that marchers carried. Rappler had also took photographs of protests and so it was an easy comparison.

2. Rappler verified a viral photo of US ambassador Nikki Haley with a quote that praises Duterte. Verifying the information as hoax involves searching for similar claim debunked by other news organization and doing a Google reverse image search to show the original and manipulated photo of Haley. https://www.rappler.com/newsbreak/fact-check/212882-hoax-united-nations-ambassador-nikki-haley-duterte-quote

Other entries over the last three months tried to show how information was verified through research, experts and data analysis.


done_all 3a marked as Fully compliant by Ma. Diosa Labiste.

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.

Rappler
12-Sep-2018 (2 years ago) Updated: 2 years ago

The story of how Rappler was established is shown on this page, which also identifies our founders and investors, has a diagram of our ownership structure and describes the business model.

https://www.rappler.com/about-rappler/about-us/184707-rappler-story-independent-journalism-impact

Seed funding for Rappler was raised among its core founders who are members of the Rappler Board of Directors. This was publicly disclosed through these pages in the “About Rappler” section:

http://www.rappler.com/about-rappler/about-us/6677-the-people-behind-rappler

http://www.rappler.com/about-rappler/about-us/25724-2013-board-of-directors

http://www.rappler.com/about-rappler/about-us/98278-2014-2016-board-of-directors

Rappler’s shareholders signed an agreement giving full editorial and management control to the journalists, whose collective aim is to create a truly independent news group and crowdsourcing platform free of vested interests.

On top of this, new investments and changes to investments or the board composition are properly disclosed.

For instance, in 2015, Rappler raised its Series-B round focusing on strategic pillars of journalism and technology. As part of this round, journalism VC North Base Media (NBM) and Omidyar Network joined Rappler Holdings, the parent company of Rappler Inc.

This was disclosed on these pages:

http://www.rappler.com/nation/94379-top-journalists-independent-media-fund-invests-rappler

http://www.rappler.com/about-rappler/about-us/109992-omidyar-network-invests-rappler

https://www.rappler.com/nation/197087-omidyar-network-donates-pdr-managers-sec-registration

Rappler sustains itself through advertising, grants, and via data analytics consultancies. Ads are clearly marked and native brand content are also clearly marked and published under a section called BrandRap. (http://www.rappler.com/brandrap)

The urls of brand-sponsored content reflect the “brandrap” tag, as shown in the sample below:

https://www.rappler.com/brandrap/finance-and-industries/211407-meaning-of-bossing-leader-modern-filipino-entrepreneur

Donors and partner groups for grant-funded projects are also clearly indicated in the pages featuring these content.

Specifically, the fact check enterprise is maintained with support from Facebook's Third Party Fact Checker Program, the Friedrich Naumann Foundation, our crowdfunding donors, and the National Endowment for Democracy.

This is indicated on this page:

https://www.rappler.com/newsbreak/fact-check

We proactively provide our audience with as much information as possible in relation to issues affecting the organization. For instance, since January 2018, when the Securities and Exchange Commission issued a ruling to revoke our license to operate on grounds that the Omidyar Philippine Depositary Receipt (PDR) gives a foreign entity control over the company, we issued statements, published actual rulings and documents and published this FAQ piece:

https://www.rappler.com/about-rappler/about-us/194165-frequently-asked-questions-rappler-sec-case

Subsequently, we have been issuing updates on developments to the case. All updates may be accessed through our About Us section:

https://www.rappler.com/about-rappler/about-us

Stories specific to the Omidyar Network may also be accessed through this link:

https://www.rappler.com/previous-articles?filterMeta=Omidyar%20Network

Ma. Diosa Labiste Assessor
30-Sep-2018 (2 years ago) Updated: 2 years ago

There is no dedicated page in Rappler that provides information of its sources of funding and how much each source contributes to Rappler. What Rappler provides, to explain its funding sources, are a series of stories on who supported them and who established them but the articles are more promotional rather than informational in tone. A reader may find it hard to tell who really owns and supported Rappler. Still unclear, and now subject of a case, is Omidyar's contribution to Rappler. Rappler should provide a straightforward presentation of funding sources.


cancel 4a marked as Non compliant by Ma. Diosa Labiste.

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.

Rappler
12-Sep-2018 (2 years ago) Updated: 2 years ago

This page links to the profile pages of members of the Rappler team and their individual biographies

http://www.rappler.com/about-rappler/about-us

The individual background of previous and current members of the current board of directors are published here:

https://www.rappler.com/about-rappler/about-us/197192-rappler-2018-board-directors 

https://www.rappler.com/about-rappler/about-us/6677-the-people-behind-rappler

Ma. Diosa Labiste Assessor
30-Sep-2018 (2 years ago) Updated: 2 years ago

Rappler's website displayed the names and bios of its previous and current members of the board and also that of its top editorial management  team. However it is not quite clear who among the authors, staff, and  key actors are behind the fact-checking project. If by identifying  them and supplying their bios would endanger their persons, Rappler has to say so.


done 4b marked as Partially compliant by Ma. Diosa Labiste.

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

Rappler
12-Sep-2018 (2 years ago) Updated: 2 years ago

This page links to Rappler’s contact information. It is accessible through the website’s masthead and footer which is visible in all pages.

http://www.rappler.com/about-rappler/about-us/1557-contact-us

Ma. Diosa Labiste Assessor
30-Sep-2018 (2 years ago) Updated: 2 years ago

Here are the links to Rappler where readers could get in touch:

1.  The page "Contact Us" https://www.rappler.com/about-rappler/about-us/1557-contact-us

2.  Below each fact-check entry is a line: "If you suspect a Facebook page, group, account, a website, or an article is spreading false information, let Rappler know by contacting us at factcheck@rappler.com. Let us battle disinformation one Fact Check at a time." The hyperlinked words "false information" leads to the  fact-checking section of the website while "Fact Check" brings the reader to a discussion of Rappler's fact-checking  project and the methodology ("How  we do fact-check"). 

3. The how-we-do page includes this line "To suggest stories for fact-checking and give us feedback on previous fact-checks, email us through factcheck@rappler.com. You can send us links to dubious content on Facebook by forwarding them to facebook.com/newsbreak.ph using Facebook Messenger." https://www.rappler.com/about-rappler/about-us/174766-fact-check-methodology 


done_all 4c marked as Fully compliant by Ma. Diosa Labiste.

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.

Rappler
12-Sep-2018 (2 years ago) Updated: 2 years ago

Fact-checking and verification are ingrained in the news & data gathering and reporting workflow of the entire Rappler newsroom -- not just of the fact check unit.

To ensure that our reports and fact-checks are accurate, we employ internal accountability mechanisms as well as a multilevel process of verification built on the rich experience of our predecessor Newsbreak, an award-winning investigative news organization established in 2001.

We recently clarified and updated our published fact check methodology to help educate the public on how we fact check. This is accessible here:

https://www.rappler.com/about-rappler/about-us/174766-fact-check-methodology

We also conduct workshops where we explain this methodology and train volunteers how to fact check.

Ma. Diosa Labiste Assessor
30-Sep-2018 (2 years ago) Updated: 2 years ago

Rappler has "How we do our fact-check" page where it explains its fact-checking project and its methodology, which also talks about its workflow. However its claims rating process has to be  explained to the readers, i.e. how is a claim considered "Hoax", "False," or "Mixed" by Rappler. It would help the readers if Rappler explains the categories.


done 5a marked as Partially compliant by Ma. Diosa Labiste.

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.

Rappler
12-Sep-2018 (2 years ago) Updated: 2 years ago

Readers can submit items to fact check via the email factcheck@rappler.com and by sending chat messages through Facebook messenger to the Facebook page of Newsbreak, our investigative and research unit.

These instructions are posted on our Fact Check landing page and on our published Fact Check Methodology page:

https://www.rappler.com/about-rappler/about-us/174766-fact-check-methodology

It is also reiterated on the Fact Check section landing page and on each fact check piece to encourage people to submit claims for verification.

https://www.rappler.com/newsbreak/fact-check

Sample fact check article which includes the instructions on how to submit

https://www.rappler.com/newsbreak/fact-check/211229-hoax-trillanes-arrested-september-4-2018

In addition, Rappler has a full-time social media & community engagement team that actively engages and gathers feedback regarding our stories real-time through the comments sections, the social media, and through email. Suggestions for fact-check coming from our readers are captured by this team which then turns such requests over to the editorial and research teams for review.

The team regularly publishes call outs for items to fact check via our various social media channels. Below is a sample:

https://www.facebook.com/rapplerdotcom/photos/a.317154781638645/2226634534023984/?type=3&theater

We also recently created a Facebook group where volunteers who participated in our workshops help us find dubious content on social media that may require fact-checking.

This is the link to the Facebook group. https://www.facebook.com/groups/factsmatterph/ This group also includes representatives of other news organizations we are partnering with for the local collaborative fact check initiative. 

Ma. Diosa Labiste Assessor
30-Sep-2018 (2 years ago) Updated: 2 years ago

Rappler's "How we do our fact-check" and after each fact-check entry provide email addresses where readers could submit claims.

https://www.rappler.com/about-rappler/about-us/174766-fact-check-methodology

After a fact-check entry, there is also a  line where claims could be submitted.

https://www.rappler.com/newsbreak/fact-check/212882-hoax-united-nations-ambassador-nikki-haley-duterte-quote


done_all 5b marked as Fully compliant by Ma. Diosa Labiste.

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.

Rappler
12-Sep-2018 (2 years ago) Updated: 2 years ago

In cases where errors are committed, we immediately acknowledge the mistake and issue an erratum directly on the page or platform where the error was published and alert readers and followers on social media of factual errors.

On top of that, we are one of the few newsgroups in the Philippines that maintains an updated Corrections Page, which lists factual errors and systems infractions.

Both the policy and the inventory of all key corrections made since 2012 are published on the corrections page. The policy applies to all stories published by Rappler and not just to the Fact Check initiative.

http://www.rappler.com/bulletin-board/41751-corrections

The Corrections page links to a list of monthly corrections pages which list down corrections for that month. Each monthly corrections page then links to the articles where the corrections were made.

Rappler’s full time community engagement team also scour our comments section and social media channels regularly for feedback on content that require correction.

Correction requests can likewise be sent via feedback@rappler.com.

Ma. Diosa Labiste Assessor
30-Sep-2018 (2 years ago) Updated: 2 years ago

Rappler has a Corrections Page which lists the corrections of its stories and fact-check entries on a yearly basis.

https://www.rappler.com/bulletin-board/41751-corrections


done_all 6a marked as Fully compliant by Ma. Diosa Labiste.

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

Rappler
12-Sep-2018 (2 years ago) Updated: 2 years ago
Ma. Diosa Labiste Assessor
30-Sep-2018 (2 years ago) Updated: 2 years ago

Rappler's correction is shown as "Editor's Note" which indicates the item corrected in the recent version of the story.

Explainer: https://www.rappler.com/newsbreak/fast-facts/211101-things-to-know-about-amnesty

Fact-Check Entry: https://www.rappler.com/newsbreak/fact-check/210009-hoax-duterte-first-philippine-president-import-round-scad-galunggong




done_all 6b marked as Fully compliant by Ma. Diosa Labiste.