The IFCN welcomes new applications to its Code of Principles beginning Jan. 16, 2024. Our website is currently under renovation, so new signatories should begin the application process by emailing their interest to info@ifcn.org with "New Signatory" in the subject line.

RMIT FactLab

Organization: RMIT FactLab
Applicant: Devi Mallal
Assessor: Raymond Joseph

Background

RMIT FactLab is a stand-alone entity of the RMIT ABC Fact Check editorial team. Both entities share the same director. However, they have separate websites and different legal, financial and administrative structures. RMIT ABC Fact Check is a legal partnership between the Australian Broadcasting Commission (ABC) and the Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology (RMIT). FactLab is a research hub at RMIT University and is registered as an independent unit under the Department of Media and Communication.

RMIT FactLab also provides a platform for interdisciplinary research into online misinformation and disinformation, including the impact of new technologies such as artificial intelligence on the digital news ecosystem. It also provides fact-checking education and training to school pupils, university students, fact-checkers, journalists and civil society groups.

While RMIT ABC Fact Check’s primary purpose is to fact-check politicians and people in the public eye, RMIT FactLab was established to specifically debunk and research misinformation on social media platforms and online.

In 2023 FactLab launched the CrossCheck initiative to alert the media to misinformation and disinformation and to assist them in fact-checking.

CrossCheck (formerly First Draft APEC) is a team of online verification experts who run thriving collaborative engine rooms to monitor misinformation and disinformation and alert our partners and stakeholders – preferably before it causes further damage.

Assessment Conclusion

RMIT FactLab is active in a variety of areas that include fact-checking, training and important research into mis- and disinformation It has implemented recommended, minor changes to their website as part of this assessment and I am satisfied that it is fully compliant with all IFCN requirements for its accreditation to be renewed.

As I said in a previous assessment, I am impressed at how RMIT FactLab straddles the practical and academic and research elements in the war against mis- and disinformation. The practical side manifests itself in its partnership with the Austrian Broadcast Corporation, via RMIT ABC Fact Check. Its weekly fact-check CrossCheck newsletter, which covers a variety of different issues that are fact-checked, helps its work reach a wide audience.

Beyond requesting minor changes, I found the site easy to navigate and the language used on it to be simple and easy to understand.

There are two recommendations that, while not essential, would assist users to navigate the site.

They are:

1) 1) Add a link to this video to the "How we work/methodology" section of the

website. https://bit.ly/3kX9z3y

2) Add CrossCheck staff bios link to the CrossCheck Staff page from the ‘ Our

people - RMIT University” page.

on 19-Oct-2023 (4 months ago)

Raymond Joseph assesses application as Compliant

A short summary in native publishing language

Same as above

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.

RMIT FactLab
06-Oct-2023 (4 months ago) Updated: 4 months ago

RMIT FactLab is a stand alone entity from the RMIT ABC Fact Check editorial team. Both entities share the same director. However, they have separate websites, different legal, financial and administrative structures. RMIT ABC Fact Check is a legal partnership between the Australian Broadcasting Commission (ABC) and the Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology (RMIT). FactLab is a research hub at RMIT University and is registered as an independent unit under the department of Media and Communication.

Detailed information about FactLab’s legal status can be found on the ‘about’ page on the FactLab website:

https://www.rmit.edu.au/about/schools-colleges/media-and-communication/industry/factlab/about-rmit-factlab

RMIT ABC Fact Check’s primary purpose is to fact check politicians and people in the public eye. RMIT FactLab has been established specifically to debunk and research misinformation on social media platforms and online.In 2022 FactLab became an accredited fact checker with the Meta third party Fact-Checking initiative. The Meta fact checking operation was established as a stand-alone operation with a separate editor and editorial team, it has published over 90 fact checks which can be read on the debunks page: https://www.rmit.edu.au/about/schools-colleges/media-and-communication/industry/factlab/debunking-misinformation 

It also published over 20 detailed reports on national election misinformation and disinformation posted on social media. The Judith Neilson Institute (JNI) independently funded the Mosiac initiative. Those reports can be read here: 

https://www.rmit.edu.au/about/schools-colleges/media-and-communication/industry/factlab/debunking- misinformation/election

In 2023 FactLab launched the CrossCheck initiative to alert the media to misinformation and disinformation and to assist them in fact-checking.

CrossCheck(former First Draft APEC) is a team of online verification experts who run thriving collaborative engine rooms to monitor misinformation and disinformation and alert our partners and stakeholders – preferably before it causes further damage.

Raymond Joseph Assessor
10-Oct-2023 (4 months ago) Updated: 3 months ago

RMIT complies with criteria requirements and RMIT FactLab is a stand-alone entity of the RMIT ABC Fact Check editorial team. Both entities share the same director. However, they have separate websites and different legal, financial and administrative structures. RMIT ABC Fact Check is a legal partnership between the Australian Broadcasting Commission (ABC) and the Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology (RMIT). FactLab is a research hub at RMIT University and is registered as an independent unit under the Department of Media and Communication.”

RMIT FactLab also provides a platform for interdisciplinary research into online misinformation and disinformation, including the impact of new technologies such as artificial intelligence on the digital news ecosystem.

It also provides fact-checking education and training to school pupils, university students, fact-checkers, journalists and civil society groups.

“RMIT ABC Fact Check’s primary purpose is to fact-check politicians and people in the public eye. RMIT FactLab was established to specifically debunk and research misinformation on social media platforms and online. In 2022 FactLab became an accredited fact checker with the Meta third-party Fact-Checking initiative. The Meta fact-checking operation was established as a stand-alone operation with a separate editor and editorial team, it has published over 90 fact checks which can be read on the debunks page: See https://bit.ly/3F3m9Gx

It also published over 20 detailed reports on national election misinformation and disinformation posted on social media. The Judith Neilson Institute (JNI) independently funded the Mosiac initiative. See https://bit.ly/46EUQzd

In 2023 FactLab launched the CrossCheck initiative to alert the media to misinformation and disinformation and to assist them in fact-checking. The “CrossCheck (formerly First Draft APEC) is a team of online verification experts who run thriving collaborative engine rooms to monitor misinformation and disinformation and alert our partners and stakeholders – preferably before it causes further damage.”

Recommendation: On the About page (https://bit.ly/39So2Y6) under "Independence", add: "FactLab is a research hub at RMIT University and is registered as an independent unit under the Department of Media and Communication."

Note: In August, Meta "temporarily suspended" FactLab as a partner in its fact-checking programme. According to a Guardian report on August 29, 2023 (See https://bit.ly/3QamfDK) the suspension "is understood to be temporary" and was imposed "after both criticisms raised by Voice opponents" and "an apparent lapse in RMIT FactLab accreditation by the International Fact-Checking Network. Accreditation by the IFCN is a requirement to be part of Meta’s fact-checking program. "RMIT University has stood by the work of its RMIT FactLab service, maintaining that its output meets all relevant standards," The Guardian reported.


done_all 1.1 marked as Compliant by Raymond Joseph.

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?

RMIT FactLab
06-Oct-2023 (4 months ago) Updated: 3 months ago

RMIT complies with criteria requirements and confirms that:  

1) RMIT FactLab was conceived in 2020 to focus on debunking misinformation about the COVID_19 pandemic. The RMIT FactLab website was launched in January 2021: https://www.rmit.edu.au/about/schools-colleges/media-and-communication/industry/factlab

2) RMIT FactLab employs 4 staff: Director: Russell Skelton, Associate Director CrossCheck: Anne Kruger, Associate Director of Research and Innovation: Devi Mallal, Assistant Director META news initiative: Sushi Das and will also draw upon researchers and journalists who have completed a semester course in fact checking offered by RMIT Media and Communications faculty.

All FactLab’s staff profiles are available for viewing across the RMIT FactLab web site:

https://www.rmit.edu.au/about/schools-colleges/media-and-communication/industry/factlab

https://www.rmit.edu.au/about/schools-colleges/media-and-communication/industry/factlab/about-rmit-factlab

3) RMIT FactLab’s primary objective is debunking misinformation online, however since inception we have broadened its scope to include independent research into misinformation online and training journalists in fact checking and social media verification in the Pacific region, Asia, Australia and within the University.

FactLab provides a platform for interdisciplinary research into misinformation online and the impact of new platforms on the digital news ecosystem. The research cluster comprises members of RMIT FactLab and RMIT’s Centre for Information Discovery and Data Analytics, Dr. Damiano Spina and Dr. Falk Scholer. The cluster’s key research priorities are developing strategies and systems to build awareness, understanding and critical consideration of information in online social media platforms. https://www.rmit.edu.au/about/schools- colleges/media-and-communication/industry/factlab/research

FactLab is also dedicated to improving public awareness of the disruptive impact of misinformation in society. It works closely with students from RMIT’s Fact-Checking & Verification course and in partnership with the International Fact Checking Network is providing training to journalists in the Pacific region. It has also built a highly popular online fact check ‘credential’ that delivered basic skills in fact-checking in a 40 min online tutorial. FactLab believes education is one of the most effective ways of debunking misinformation and countering its impact.

https://www.rmit.edu.au/about/schools-colleges/media-and-communication/industry/factlab/education-training

4) FactLab’s goal for 2023/24 is to build an entirely self-sufficient financial model through philanthropy and subscriber donations as well as engaging in fee for service social media verification. Financial independence will allow us to further develop our capacity to debunk misinformation, train journalists and conduct original research. 

Raymond Joseph Assessor
10-Oct-2023 (4 months ago) Updated: 4 months ago

1) RMIT FactLab was conceived in 2020 to debunk misinformation about the COVID-19 pandemic. The RMIT FactLab website was launched in January 2021: https://bit.ly/3usj4Lg 

2) RMIT FactLab employs 4 staff: Director: Russell Skelton, Associate Director CrossCheck: Anne Kruger, Associate Director of Research and Innovation: Devi Mallal, Assistant Director META news initiative: Sushi Das and also draws researchers and journalists who have completed a semester course in fact-checking offered by RMIT Media and Communications faculty. It also draws on the skills of researchers and journalists who have completed the semester-long course in fact-checking offered by the RMITMedia and Communications faculty.

3) RMIT FactLab’s primary objective is to debunk misinformation online. However, since its inception, RMIT has broadened its scope to include independent research into misinformation online and training journalists in fact-checking and social media verification in the Pacific region, Asia and Australia, and within the University.

FactLab provides a platform for interdisciplinary research into misinformation online and the impact of new platforms on the digital news ecosystem. The research cluster comprises members of RMIT FactLab and RMIT’s Centre for Information Discovery and Data Analytics, Dr Damiano Spina and Dr Falk Scholer. The cluster’s key research priorities are developing strategies and systems to build awareness, understanding and critical consideration of information in online social media platforms. See: https://bit.ly/2WtlMn2 

FactLab is also dedicated to improving public awareness of the disruptive impact of misinformation in society. It works closely with students from RMIT’s Fact-Checking & Verification course and - in partnership with the International Fact-Checking Network - provides training to journalists in the Pacific region. It has also built a highly popular online fact check ‘credential’ that delivers basic skills in fact-checking in a 40-minute online tutorial. See: https://bit.ly/3zXMuBZ 

4) FactLab’s goal for 2023/24 "is to build an entirely self-sufficient financial model through philanthropy and subscriber donations, as well as engaging in fee-for-service social media verification. Financial independence will allow us to further develop our capacity to debunk misinformation, train journalists and conduct original research."


done_all 1.2 marked as Compliant by Raymond Joseph.

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.

RMIT FactLab
06-Oct-2023 (4 months ago)

Since 2021, RMIT FactLab has been engaged I the META third party fact-checking initiative. Since then, we have published an average of two META fact checks per week, they can be viewed at:

https://www.rmit.edu.au/about/schools-colleges/media-and-communication/industry/factlab/debunking-misinformation

Raymond Joseph Assessor
10-Oct-2023 (4 months ago) Updated: 4 months ago

The suspension of RMIT by Meta has paused that programme, with the last debunk appearing on August 25, 2023. Up until then, RMIT FactLab published an average of two fact-checks a week. See: https://bit.ly/3F3m9Gx 

Nevertheless, RMIT's weekly newsletter, Checkmate, continues to publish a selection of fact-checks. With the highly contested referendum imminent, the newsletter has had a focus on this bitterly contested issue, although it also continues to fact-check other issues. See: Checkmate: October 6, 2023: https://bit.ly/45ql87a September 29, 2023: https://bit.ly/48P2xog September 22, 2023


done_all 1.3 marked as Compliant by Raymond Joseph.

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.

RMIT FactLab
06-Oct-2023 (4 months ago) Updated: 4 months ago


Raymond Joseph Assessor
10-Oct-2023 (4 months ago) Updated: 4 months ago

Taking into account fact-checks published on the "Debunk" page (https://bit.ly/3F3m9Gx) and the weekly CheckMate newsletter, I am satisfied that RMIT meets the criteria to be fully compliant.


done_all 1.4 marked as Compliant by Raymond Joseph.

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.

RMIT FactLab
06-Oct-2023 (4 months ago) Updated: 4 months ago

RMIT FactLab is registered as a research unit, funded and administered by the Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology (RMIT). RMIT FactLab does not receive any funding from the Australian government nor from any politicians or political parties or special interest groups attempting to achieve specific political outcomes. As a registered charity, RMIT FactLab is eligible to receive donations from philanthropists and via RMIT’s ‘giving page’:

https://www.rmit.edu.au/alumni-and-giving/giving/ways-to-give/factlab 

Raymond Joseph Assessor
10-Oct-2023 (4 months ago) Updated: 3 months ago

RMIT complies with criteria requirements and confirms that:

RMIT FactLab is registered as a research unit that is funded and administered by the Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology (RMIT). RMIT FactLab does not receive any funding from the Australian government nor from any politicians or political parties or special interest groups attempting to achieve specific political outcomes. As a registered charity, RMIT is eligible to receive donations from philanthropists and via RMIT’s ‘giving page. Donations are tax-deductible: See: https://bit.ly/3PakO6t 


done_all 1.5 marked as Compliant by Raymond Joseph.

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.

RMIT FactLab
06-Oct-2023 (4 months ago) Updated: 4 months ago

FactLab does not receive funding from local or foreign state or political sources. RMIT FactLab shares the same Director as RMIT ABC Fact Check and therefore adheres to the exact same strict editorial codes for balance, fairness and independence as set for the RMIT ABC Fact Check. RMIT FactLab methodology and editorial policy can be found here:

https://www.rmit.edu.au/about/schools-colleges/media-and-communication/industry/factlab/about-rmit-factlab

Links to the last six months worth of META third party fact checks can be found here:

https://www.rmit.edu.au/about/schools-colleges/media-and-communication/industry/factlab/debunking-misinformation 

Raymond Joseph Assessor
10-Oct-2023 (4 months ago) Updated: 3 months ago

RMIT complies with criteria requirements and confirms that : 

FactLab does not receive funding from local or foreign state or political sources.

See: "Independence" https://bit.ly/39So2Y6 

"RMIT FactLab is transparent, independent and fully accountable. We provide links to our sources and welcome discussion and feedback."

"Our staff cannot be members of political parties or activist groups and are required to declare all previous affiliations."

"To ensure neutrality, we apply strict safeguards based on the editorial and complaints policies of the Australian Broadcasting Corporation. These include feedback processes and conflict of interest rules."

On its funding page, RMIT FactLab says: "We do not accept donations from political parties or advocacy and lobby groups, and our funders have no say in our decision-making." See: https://bit.ly/3RSkRXN 


done_all 1.6 marked as Compliant by Raymond Joseph.

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.

RMIT FactLab
06-Oct-2023 (4 months ago) Updated: 4 months ago

RMIT FactLab shares the same Director as RMIT ABC Fact Check and therefore adheres to the exact same strict editorial codes for balance, fairness and independence as set for the RMIT ABC Fact Check. RMIT FactLab methodology and editorial policy can be found here:

https://www.rmit.edu.au/about/schools-colleges/media-and-communication/industry/factlab/about-rmit-factlab

Links to the last six months worth of META third party fact checks can be found here:

https://www.rmit.edu.au/about/schools-colleges/media-and-communication/industry/factlab/debunking-misinformation  

Raymond Joseph Assessor
10-Oct-2023 (4 months ago) Updated: 4 months ago

RMIT FactLab shares the same Director as RMIT ABC Fact Check and therefore adheres to the exact same strict editorial codes for balance, fairness and independence, as RMIT ABC Fact Check. See RMIT FactLab's methodology and editorial policy here: https://bit.ly/39So2Y6 

See Meta debunks (up to August 25, 2023) here: https://bit.ly/3F3m9Gx 


done_all 2.1 marked as Compliant by Raymond Joseph.

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.

RMIT FactLab
06-Oct-2023 (4 months ago) Updated: 4 months ago

The RMIT FactLab team monitors digital media (especially s ocial media platforms such as META, Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, Tik Tok etc.), legacy media and official records such as parliament house hansard records for claims. Claims are selected on the basis of whether or not they are a) checkable and b) in the public interest and are widely shared. We are mindful not to amplify extreme claims that have no significant audience. The focus is on misinformation, disinformation and malicious claims rather than statements made on the public record by influential groups and figures. The tools we use include crowd tangle, reverse image searches and we target outright fraudulent misrepresentation such as mocked up documents and unsubstantiated conspiracy claims, not only Covid related. Details about FactLab’s methodology can be found easily on our web site in the ‘About’ section:

https://www.rmit.edu.au/about/schools-colleges/media-and-communication/industry/factlab/about-rmit-factlab                           

Raymond Joseph Assessor
10-Oct-2023 (4 months ago) Updated: 4 months ago

RMIT FactLab monitors digital media (especially social media platforms, including Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and TikTok. It also monitors legacy media and official records, such as Parliament House Hansard records, for claims to check. Claims are selected on the basis of whether or not they are a) checkable b) in the public interest and c) have been widely shared. "We are mindful not to amplify extreme claims that have no significant audience. The focus is on misinformation, disinformation and malicious claims rather than statements made on the public record by influential groups and figures."
"We target outright fraudulent misrepresentation, such as mocked-up documents and unsubstantiated conspiracy claims, including those that are Covid related. See "How we work" in the site's ‘About’ section:  https://bit.ly/39So2Y6 

RMIT uses a variety of tools that include CrowdTangle and reverse image searches.


done_all 2.2 marked as Compliant by Raymond Joseph.

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.

Raymond Joseph Assessor
10-Oct-2023 (4 months ago) Updated: 4 months ago

Having reviewed fact-checks published over the previous year I am satisfied thatFactLab meets the criteria required to be compliant.


done_all 2.3 marked as Compliant by Raymond Joseph.

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.

Raymond Joseph Assessor
10-Oct-2023 (4 months ago) Updated: 4 months ago

Having reviewed fact-checks published over the previous year I am satisfied thatFactLab meets the criteria required to be compliant.


done_all 2.4 marked as Compliant by Raymond Joseph.

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.

RMIT FactLab
06-Oct-2023 (4 months ago) Updated: 4 months ago

As a condition of employment with RMIT FactLab, staff cannot be members of a political party, any public advocacy group or lobby group and are required to declare any past affiliations before being engaged. If they are later found to be in violation of this criteria, employment is automatically terminated. In eight years as the director of,fact checking organisations I have not had a single incidence of any staff member breaching or being found to be in breach of this code. FactLab is proud of the fact that determinations are agenda-free. A statement publicly confirming this has been posted to the ‘about’ section of our website:

https://www.rmit.edu.au/about/schools-colleges/media-and-communication/industry/factla 

Raymond Joseph Assessor
10-Oct-2023 (4 months ago) Updated: 4 months ago

From the application: "As a condition of employment with RMIT FactLab, staff cannot be members of a political party, any public advocacy group or lobby group and are required to declare any past affiliations before being engaged. If they are later found to be in violation of these criteria, employment is automatically terminated. No member of RMIT Factlab has ever been found to be in breach of this code.

From the website: See Independence:

https://bit.ly/39So2Y6

"RMIT FactLab is transparent, independent and fully accountable. We provide links to our sources and welcome discussion and feedback. Our staff cannot be members of political parties or activist groups and are required to declare all previous affiliations".


done_all 2.5 marked as Compliant by Raymond Joseph.

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.

Raymond Joseph Assessor
10-Oct-2023 (4 months ago) Updated: 4 months ago

I am satisfied that FactLab identifies the source of all significant evidence used in their checks and provides relevant links where the source is available online".


done_all 3.1 marked as Compliant by Raymond Joseph.

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.

Raymond Joseph Assessor
10-Oct-2023 (4 months ago) Updated: 4 months ago

I am satisfied that FactLab uses the best available primary, not secondary, sources of evidence where suitable primary sources are available.


done_all 3.2 marked as Compliant by Raymond Joseph.

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.

Raymond Joseph Assessor
10-Oct-2023 (4 months ago) Updated: 4 months ago

I am satisfied that FactLab uses more than one named source in its fact-checks.


done_all 3.3 marked as Compliant by Raymond Joseph.

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.

Raymond Joseph Assessor
10-Oct-2023 (4 months ago) Updated: 4 months ago

I am satisfied that FactLab identifies any interests of sources that could influence the evidence this source has provided.


done_all 3.4 marked as Compliant by Raymond Joseph.

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.

RMIT FactLab
06-Oct-2023 (4 months ago) Updated: 4 months ago

RMIT FactLab is an independent, not for profit organisation financed and administered by RMIT University and funded by RMIT, approved donations from individuals and independent organisations such as JNI and the IFCN. The sources of our funding are declared on the website, but the breakdown of the funding is confidential. 

Raymond Joseph Assessor
10-Oct-2023 (4 months ago) Updated: 4 months ago

From this application: "RMIT FactLab is an independent, not-for-profit organisation financed and administered by RMIT University and funded by RMIT, approved donations from individuals and independent organisations such as JNI and the IFCN. The sources of our funding are declared on the website, but the breakdown of the funding is confidential." See https://bit.ly/3RSkRXN for funding details.


done_all 4.1 marked as Compliant by Raymond Joseph.

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.

RMIT FactLab
06-Oct-2023 (4 months ago) Updated: 4 months ago

RMIT FactLab shares a director with RMIT ABCFact Check, an IFCN accredited fact- checking organisation. They have separate administrative and financial functions. RMIT FactLab is an independent non-for-profit research unit, financed exclusively by RMIT University. The RMIT FactLab website sits within the broader banner of RMIT University https://www.rmit.edu.au/about/schools-colleges/media-and-communication/industry/factlab 

Raymond Joseph Assessor
10-Oct-2023 (4 months ago) Updated: 4 months ago

RMIT FactLab shares a director with RMIT ABCFact Check, an IFCN-accredited fact-checking organisation. They have separate administrative and financial functions. RMIT FactLab is an independent non-for-profit research unit, financed exclusively by RMIT University. The RMIT FactLab website sits within the broader banner of RMIT University. 

Recommendation On the About page (https://bit.ly/39So2Y6) under "Independence" add: "FactLab is a research hub at RMIT University and is registered as an independent unit under the Department of Media and Communication."


done_all 4.2 marked as Compliant by Raymond Joseph.

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.

RMIT FactLab
16-Oct-2023 (4 months ago)

https://www.rmit.edu.au/about/schools-colleges/media-and-communication/industry/factlab/about-rmit-factlab


On the “Our People” page

https://www.rmit.edu.au/about/schools-colleges/media-and-communication/industry/factlab/about-rmit-factlab/people

In the section titled Russell Skelton, Director, we have added a second paragraph:

The director is responsible for the research hub's strategic direction and editorial policies. This includes oversight of research projects, approved fundraising, and editorial partnerships involving misinformation, disinformation, and project collaborations. Senior members of the RMIT FactLab team report to the director.

Raymond Joseph Assessor
10-Oct-2023 (4 months ago) Updated: 4 months ago

Staff listed here: https://bit.ly/3r4y9p5  It would be advisable that a brief text description of the chain of command and editorial responsibilities be added to the same section so that anyone with limited data does not need to watch the video to understand the workflow and responsibilities of the different people involved in the process.

Recommendation: 

 Add a link to this video to the "How we work/methodology" section of the website. https://bit.ly/3kX9z3y



cancel 4.3 marked as Request change by Raymond Joseph.
Raymond Joseph Assessor
16-Oct-2023 (4 months ago) Updated: 4 months ago

Staff listed here: https://bit.ly/3r4y9p5  

The chain of command and editorial responsibilities are added to the page.

Recommendation: 

Add a link to this video to the "How we work/methodology" section of the website. https://bit.ly/3kX9z3y to understand the workflow and responsibilities of the different people involved in the process.



done_all 4.3 marked as Compliant by Raymond Joseph.

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.

RMIT FactLab
06-Oct-2023 (4 months ago) Updated: 4 months ago
Raymond Joseph Assessor
10-Oct-2023 (4 months ago) Updated: 4 months ago

RMIT FactLab staff biographies here: https://bit.ly/3r4y9p5 

Recommendation: Consider adding bios for CrossCheck staff


done_all 4.4 marked as Compliant by Raymond Joseph.

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.

RMIT FactLab
06-Oct-2023 (4 months ago) Updated: 4 months ago

Users of the FactLab website can communicate with the editorial team via email, a link entitled ‘contact’ is clearly displayed on the main navigation bar of the FactLab website:

https://www.rmit.edu.au/about/schools-colleges/media-and-communication/industry/factlab/contact-rmit-factlab

Which opens the contact page:

https://www.rmit.edu.au/about/schools-colleges/media-and-communication/industry/factlab/contact-rmit-factlab  

RMIT FactLab
16-Oct-2023 (4 months ago) Updated: 4 months ago

Users of the FactLab website can communicate with the editorial team via email, a link entitled ‘contact’ is clearly displayed on the main navigation bar of the FactLab website:

https://www.rmit.edu.au/about/schools-colleges/media-and-communication/industry/factlab/contact-rmit-factlab

Which opens the contact page:

https://www.rmit.edu.au/about/schools-colleges/media-and-communication/industry/factlab/contact-rmit-factlab  


 A link named “Contact’ has been added to the main navigation bar.

https://www.rmit.edu.au/about/schools-colleges/media-and-communication/industry/factlab/about-rmit-factlab/people

Raymond Joseph Assessor
10-Oct-2023 (4 months ago) Updated: 4 months ago

Users can communicate with the RMIT FacLlab team via its website, email and social media. The only place on the site with a "contact" link is at the bottom of the "Debunk" page. (see attached). Contrary to what is stated in this application, there is no"Contact" tab in the navigation bar and I had to hunt for the "Contact" link, which should be easier for users to find.

Recommendation. Add a contact link to https://bit.ly/3A309rz to the navigation bar and move the "Contact RMIT FactLab" tab (see attached) at the bottom of the "Debunkspage" to a more prominent position at the top of the page."

And/or place a contact link tab (see attached) at the top of all pages so users don't have to hunt for it.


Files Attached
contact link.png (16 KB)
cancel 4.5 marked as Request change by Raymond Joseph.
Raymond Joseph Assessor
16-Oct-2023 (4 months ago) Updated: 3 months ago

RMIT complies with criteria requirements and confirms that : 

The applicant has made it easier to establish communication with the RMIT FacLlab team via its contact tab on the navigation bar. 

https://www.rmit.edu.au/about/schools-colleges/media-and-communication/industry/factlab


done_all 4.5 marked as Compliant by Raymond Joseph.

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.

RMIT FactLab
06-Oct-2023 (4 months ago) Updated: 4 months ago
Raymond Joseph Assessor
10-Oct-2023 (4 months ago) Updated: 4 months ago

FactLab's fact-checking methodology is explained here: https://bit.ly/3r6Jvsy



done_all 5.1 marked as Compliant by Raymond Joseph.

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.

Raymond Joseph Assessor
10-Oct-2023 (4 months ago) Updated: 4 months ago

I am satisfied that FactLab selects claims to check based primarily on the reach andimportance of the claims.


done_all 5.2 marked as Compliant by Raymond Joseph.

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.

Raymond Joseph Assessor
10-Oct-2023 (4 months ago) Updated: 4 months ago
I am satisfied that FactLab shares both evidence to support a claim, as well as evidence that appears to undermine it.

done_all 5.3 marked as Compliant by Raymond Joseph.

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.

Raymond Joseph Assessor
10-Oct-2023 (4 months ago) Updated: 4 months ago

I am satisfied that FactLab assesses the merits of the evidence to the same standards applied to evidence on equivalent claims, regardless of who made the claim.


done_all 5.4 marked as Compliant by Raymond Joseph.

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.

RMIT FactLab
06-Oct-2023 (4 months ago) Updated: 4 months ago


Raymond Joseph Assessor
10-Oct-2023 (4 months ago) Updated: 4 months ago

I am satisfied that FactLab, where possible and if it is feasible and safe, makes contact with the person who made the claim being fact-checked.


done_all 5.5 marked as Compliant by Raymond Joseph.

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.

RMIT FactLab
06-Oct-2023 (4 months ago) Updated: 4 months ago

People can contact RMIT FactLab via a link on the navigation bar of the RMIT FactLab website:

https://www.rmit.edu.au/about/schools-colleges/media-and-communication/industry/factlab/contact-rmit-factlab

Alternatively, people can also email us directly at Factlab@rmit.edu.au

Detailed information about what can be checked and what cannot can be found on our about page:

https://www.rmit.edu.au/about/schools-colleges/media-and-communication/industry/factlab/debunking-misinformation

The following information has been added to the about page:

https://www.rmit.edu.au/about/schools-colleges/media-and-communication/industry/factlab/about-rmit-factlab

What we can and cannot fact-check

Statements can be both accurate and inaccurate, depending on when they were said.

For us to fact-check a claim or statement, it must be:

• made in public and which can be attributed to a specific person (e.g., a politician or campaigner) or organisation" like a report)

• an assertion or allegation that can be validated or refuted (to a degree) • based on past or present actions (i.e., not speculative about the future) • a statement of fact. We cannot fact-check an opinion 

RMIT FactLab
16-Oct-2023 (4 months ago) Updated: 4 months ago

People can contact RMIT FactLab via a link on the navigation bar of the RMIT FactLab website:

https://www.rmit.edu.au/about/schools-colleges/media-and-communication/industry/factlab/contact-rmit-factlab

Alternatively, people can also email us directly at Factlab@rmit.edu.au

Detailed information about what can be checked and what cannot can be found on our about page:

https://www.rmit.edu.au/about/schools-colleges/media-and-communication/industry/factlab/debunking-misinformation

The following information has been added to the about page:

https://www.rmit.edu.au/about/schools-colleges/media-and-communication/industry/factlab/about-rmit-factlab

What we can and cannot fact-check

Statements can be both accurate and inaccurate, depending on when they were said.

For us to fact-check a claim or statement, it must be:

• made in public and which can be attributed to a specific person (e.g., a politician or campaigner) or organisation" like a report)

• an assertion or allegation that can be validated or refuted (to a degree) • based on past or present actions (i.e., not speculative about the future) • a statement of fact. We cannot fact-check an opinion


 A link named “Contact’ has been added to the main navigation bar.

https://www.rmit.edu.au/about/schools-colleges/media-and-communication/industry/factlab/about-rmit-factlab/people

 

Raymond Joseph Assessor
10-Oct-2023 (4 months ago) Updated: 4 months ago

What can and cannot be fact-checked is made clear on the contact page: See https://bit.ly/3A309rz 

Recommendation. 

Recommendation. Add a link to the "contact" page https://bit.ly/3A309rz to the navigation bar and/or move the "Contact RMIT FactLab" tab (see attached) at the bottom of the "Debunks page" to a more prominent position at the top of the page."

And/or place a contact link tab (see attached) at the top of all pages so users don't have to hunt for it.


Files Attached
contact link.png (16 KB)
cancel 5.6 marked as Request change by Raymond Joseph.
Raymond Joseph Assessor
16-Oct-2023 (4 months ago) Updated: 4 months ago

What can and cannot be fact-checked is made clear on the contact page, which is also accessible through the navigation bar of the page: See https://bit.ly/3A309rz 




done_all 5.6 marked as Compliant by Raymond Joseph.

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.

RMIT FactLab
06-Oct-2023 (4 months ago) Updated: 4 months ago

This is included in the RMIT FactLab ‘About’: https://www.rmit.edu.au/about/schools-colleges/media-and- communication/industry/factlab/about-rmit-factlab

Our aim is to be 100 percent accurate. But if a mistake is made, the item in question will be corrected.

The following information has been added in the Complints and Corrections section of the about page:

https://www.rmit.edu.au/about/schools-colleges/media-and-communication/industry/factlab/about-rmit-factlab

RMIT FactLab is committed to accuracy, impartiality, and independence.

We aim to be 100 percent accurate in our verdicts based on the information available at the time a claim was made. If a mistake is made, the item in question will be corrected quickly and transparently and, if necessary, the verdict revised.

We aim to provide these corrections and clarifications on the public record — i.e., on the program webpage or the online news story

If you believe we have made an error, please report it here: (link to “Contact” page) 

Raymond Joseph Assessor
10-Oct-2023 (4 months ago) Updated: 4 months ago

The applicant has a corrections or complaints policy that is easily visible and accessible on it's website and is frequently referenced in broadcasts.

See "Corrections": https://bit.ly/39So2Y6


done_all 6.1 marked as Compliant by Raymond Joseph.

Criteria 6.2
Proof you meet criteria
The assessor will review the corrections policy to verify it meets critera. No additional information needed.

Raymond Joseph Assessor
10-Oct-2023 (4 months ago) Updated: 4 months ago

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. 


done_all 6.2 marked as Compliant by Raymond Joseph.

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.

RMIT FactLab
06-Oct-2023 (4 months ago) Updated: 4 months ago

FactLab has received no complaints about its 2022 Federal election coverage.

The META fact-checking project has received six complaints during the 18 months since it launched and is contesting a claim for defamation which is before the courts and cannot be discussed, except to say RMIT University is strenuously contesting the claim. 

Letters of complaint to the META Fact Checking initiative have focused on The Voice referendum to alter the constitution to include recognition of indigenous Australia in framing future legislation. This is a bitterly contested issue rife with misinformation and disinformation.

All complaints are reviewed by the researchers under the direction of the assistant director. A draft response is then sent to the RMIT Legal Department for an independent review. Before the response is sent, the director reviews and approves it. 

Raymond Joseph Assessor
10-Oct-2023 (4 months ago) Updated: 3 months ago

I am satisfied that RMIT’s complaint process meets the criteria.

Its report states the following:

FactLab says it has received no complaints about its 2022 Federal election coverage.

The META fact-checking project has received six complaints during the 18 months since it launched "and is contesting a claim for defamation which is before the courts and cannot be discussed, except to say RMIT University is strenuously contesting the claim."

Letters of complaint to the META Fact Checking initiative have focused on The Voice referendum to alter the constitution to include recognition of indigenous Australia in framing future legislation. This is a bitterly contested issue rife with misinformation and disinformation.

All complaints are reviewed by the researchers under the direction of the assistant director. A draft response is then sent to the RMIT Legal Department for an independent review. Before the response is sent, the director reviews and approves it.


done_all 6.3 marked as Compliant by Raymond Joseph.

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.

RMIT FactLab
06-Oct-2023 (4 months ago) Updated: 4 months ago

FactLab's accreditation is currently lapsed, however our website is still displaying the necessary links as well as the IFCN accreditation badge. On the ‘About’ page text still reads “RMIT FactLab is a signatory (hyperlink provided on page) to the International Fact-Checking Network's code of principles (hyperlink provided on page). The IFCN has an independent complaints process (hyperlink provided on page) for readers who believe a fact-checking organisation has violated the code.

Raymond Joseph Assessor
10-Oct-2023 (4 months ago) Updated: 4 months ago

FactLab's accreditation is currently lapsed. However, its website still displays the necessary links as well as the IFCN accreditation badge. On the ‘About’ page (https://bit.ly/39So2Y6) text still reads “RMIT FactLab is a signatory (hyperlink provided on page) to the International Fact-Checking Network's code of principles (hyperlink provided on page). The IFCN has an independent complaints process (hyperlink provided on page) for readers who believe a fact-checking organisation has violated the code.

The IFCN badge is also displayed at the bottom of the "Debunks and "Contact" pages. It links to RMIT FactLab's certificate, which gives its status as expired: https://bit.ly/3LUPTub 


done_all 6.4 marked as Compliant by Raymond Joseph.

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.

RMIT FactLab
06-Oct-2023 (4 months ago) Updated: 4 months ago

RMIT FactLab is committed to accuracy, impartiality and independence. That means if mistakes are made, we will correct them quickly and transparently. We aim to provide these corrections and clarifications on the public record — ie, on the program webpage or the online news story. Where there is no enduring record, or where the correction or clarification is considered significant, an entry will be made on this page. 

Raymond Joseph Assessor
10-Oct-2023 (4 months ago) Updated: 4 months ago

FactLab is a research hub at RMIT University and is registered as an independent unit under the Department of Media and Communication. FactLab is a stand-alone entity of the RMIT ABC Fact Check (https://bit.ly/3EzStSq) editorial team. Both entities share the same director and some senior researchers are engaged in working on both entities but in different clearly defined roles. Both entities have separate websites and different legal, financial and administrative structures. FactLab adheres to the same editorial principles and guidelines as RMIT ABC FactCheck. It is committed to the same editorial standards as Fact Check, including accuracy, impartiality and independence.

See "Complaints and corrections": https://bit.ly/39So2Y6


done_all 6.5 marked as Compliant by Raymond Joseph.