Taiwan FactCheck Center

Organization: Taiwan FactCheck Center
Applicant: Yuan-Hui Hu
Assessor: Masato Kajimoto
Conclusion and recommendations
on 05-Oct-2019 (7 months ago)

Masato Kajimoto wrote:

It is evident that the Taiwan FactCheck Center strives to maintain its high standards of fact-checking methods. Their stories clearly explain the steps of the verification process and conclusions are sound in my view.

The only item I could not evaluate is the spending record of the initial funding they received last year but, given the relatively small amount of money they had, I don't see it as a big issue at this moment because it is reasonable to imagine most of it has been spent for ordinary operational costs. 

Moving forward, however, they must make the record available for the public in the future, as I can see that their operation is going to be expanding. If deemed necessary, I would think IFCN can request them to submit the spending record.

Other than that, the Center fully complies with the Code of Principles and I would recommend that IFCN renew its signatory status. 

on 05-Oct-2019 (7 months ago)

Masato Kajimoto 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.

Taiwan FactCheck Center
21-Sep-2019 (8 months ago)

Taiwan FactCheck Center is jointly founded by Taiwan Media Watch and the Association for Quality Journalism. It is organized for non-profit purpose. The objectives of the Center are to conduct fact checks on information relevant to public affairs as well as to improve the information ecology and news quality of Taiwan.

The Center’s founding purpose and Charter are clearly posted on the Center’s official website.

Please refer to the attached English translation of the Charter of the Taiwan FactCheck Center and the registration certificates of the two parent organizations.

Files Attached
certificates of AQJ.... (324 KB) certificates of TMW-... (257 KB)
Masato Kajimoto Assessor
05-Oct-2019 (7 months ago) Updated: 7 months ago

TFC has been running for more than a year now and their registration complies with the Code. They have told me that it will become an "independent foundation" later this year, which I believe will also fully comply with the Code.


done_all 1a marked as Fully compliant by Masato Kajimoto.

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.

Taiwan FactCheck Center
21-Sep-2019 (8 months ago)

All the fact checked reports are posted on the Center’s official website: https://tfc-taiwan.org.tw/articles/report

Masato Kajimoto Assessor
05-Oct-2019 (7 months ago) Updated: 6 months ago

Considering the size of the organization, they have been prolific and produced quite a few quality fact-checking stories. 


done_all 1b marked as Fully compliant by Masato Kajimoto.

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.

Taiwan FactCheck Center
21-Sep-2019 (8 months ago)

The Center’s fact checking operation is based on the principles of openness, transparency, rigor and accountability. All fact checks are built on verified material. Our fact checking process follows a rigorous review methodology. The daily fact checking items are selected at the fact checking meeting. The fact checked report should be reviewed by at least three fact checking personnel before its publication. When fact checking is complete, the "partial errors" ruling means that the content of the information is partially correct, but it contains some errors, missing, or misplaced context. Information ruled as "errors" means that the main content of the information is completely incorrect or misleading. In other words, the criteria for "partial errors" and "errors" are based on the proportion of correctness or incorrectness to the main content of the information fact checked. If the main argument is false, it is ruled as “errors". If the main argument is partially false or partially correct, it is ruled as "partial errors." You can find more about our fact-checking guidelines through the link: https://tfc-taiwan.org.tw/node/71

The topics of fake news, either under media coverage or online rumors, verified by the Center cover a wide range of public interest themes, including health care, environmental ecology, educational debates, gender issues, business activities, and government policies. On political issues, the subjects of fact checking are selected across different ideological positions. The Center strives to give each position equal attention even though the Center does not attempt to set an absolute balance in terms of numbers of items fact checked among the varied positions. To avoid a significant imbalance, besides reviewing subjects during the initial selection process, the Center continuously monitors the statistics of the fact checked cases involving political affairs among various positions in the weekly meetings. Here are the links to ten fact checked reports published by the Center:

https://tfc-taiwan.org.tw/articles/834

https://tfc-taiwan.org.tw/articles/792

https://tfc-taiwan.org.tw/articles/712

https://tfc-taiwan.org.tw/articles/761

https://tfc-taiwan.org.tw/articles/684

https://tfc-taiwan.org.tw/articles/662

https://tfc-taiwan.org.tw/articles/639

https://tfc-taiwan.org.tw/articles/613

https://tfc-taiwan.org.tw/articles/785

https://tfc-taiwan.org.tw/articles/726

Please refer to the attached English translation of the Taiwan FactCheck Center Operational Guidelines

Files Attached
description IFCN-guidelines.docx (20 KB)
Masato Kajimoto Assessor
05-Oct-2019 (7 months ago) Updated: 7 months ago

Nothing to note here. They are committed to high standards, which is shown in their stories.


done_all 2a marked as Fully compliant by Masato Kajimoto.

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.

Taiwan FactCheck Center
21-Sep-2019 (8 months ago)

Taiwan FactCheck Center clearly states on its website that its founding belief is to follow the principles of professionalism, transparency and fairness in the process of fact checking public affairs information. You can find more about our founding purpose through the link: https://tfc-taiwan.org.tw/about/purpose

The Center also posts its donations acceptance policy on the website, stipulating that “to maintain independence of operations, the Center does not accept donations from governments, political parties, and politicians.” Also, the Center exercises its editorial control independently and is not influenced by donors. You can find more about our donations acceptance policy through the link: https://tfc-taiwan.org.tw/node/73

Please refer to the attached English translation of the Taiwan FactCheck Center Donations Acceptance Policy.

Files Attached
description IFCN-donations.docx (18 KB)
Masato Kajimoto Assessor
05-Oct-2019 (7 months ago) Updated: 7 months ago

As far as I can tell, there is no conflict of interest or demonstrable partisanship in any of the story or staff backgrounds.


done_all 2b marked as Fully compliant by Masato Kajimoto.

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.

Taiwan FactCheck Center
21-Sep-2019 (8 months ago)

The Center’s fact checking operation emphasizes the principle of transparency. Each fact checked report explains its review process, and a complete list of source material, information and data used for verification is attached at the end of the report. If the information source and documents referenced in the report can be accessed online the hyperlinks are provided and the key sections are presented in screenshots. Regarding information acquired by interviewing experts and scholars, the names and titles of the interviewers are clearly listed in the main text of the report, and the films or recordings made during the interview are also provided as attachments.

Item 8 of the Center's Operational Guidelines clearly stipulates: "All the information and source materials on each fact checked report are available and open for the public’s review and verification."

Please refer to the attached English translation of the Taiwan FactCheck Center Operational Guidelines.

Files Attached
description IFCN-guidelines.docx (20 KB)
Masato Kajimoto Assessor
05-Oct-2019 (7 months ago) Updated: 7 months ago

Sources are clearly shown and linked (when appropriate).


done_all 3a marked as Fully compliant by Masato Kajimoto.

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.

Taiwan FactCheck Center
21-Sep-2019 (8 months ago)

he Taiwan FactCheck Center Donations Acceptance Policy clearly states: "To maintain independence of operations, the Center does not accept donations from governments, political parties, and politicians." It also states "The Center exercises its editorial control independently and is not influenced by donors." In addition, all donors and their contributions are posted on the website for external access. The list of donors can be found at https://tfc-taiwan.org.tw/node/74.

The Donations Acceptance Policy can be found at https://tfc-taiwan.org.tw/node/73. Please also refer to the attached English translation of the Taiwan FactCheck Center Donations Acceptance Policy.

As mentioned before, Taiwan FactCheck Center is jointly founded by Taiwan Media Watch and the Association for Quality Journalism. This information is clearly disclosed in the "Organizational Structure" (https://tfc-taiwan.org.tw/about/oganization) under "About Us" in the official website.

Please refer to the attached English translation of the Charter of the Taiwan FactCheck Center.

Files Attached
description IFCN-charter.docx (27 KB)
Masato Kajimoto Assessor
05-Oct-2019 (7 months ago) Updated: 7 months ago

All funding sources are clearly listed with the amount of money the Center has received from each donor. However, I cannot see the record of spending available anywhere on the site.


done 4a marked as Partially compliant by Masato Kajimoto.

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.

Taiwan FactCheck Center
21-Sep-2019 (8 months ago)

The Center’s official website lists all members of the Center, including the members of the Executive Board, the Advisory Council, and the staff. The list of members can be found at https://tfc-taiwan.org.tw/about/oganization.

Masato Kajimoto Assessor
05-Oct-2019 (7 months ago) Updated: 7 months ago

Yes, each author's background information is available on the website.


done_all 4b marked as Fully compliant by Masato Kajimoto.

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

Taiwan FactCheck Center
21-Sep-2019 (8 months ago)

The Center’s website lists various contact methods, including telephone, fax, e-mail, and Facebook. The public can send any questions and comments to the members of the Center through the contact form on our contact page. The contact page can be found at https://tfc-taiwan.org.tw/contact. Furthermore, each fact checked report has a comments section at the end of the article where registered members are free to express their comments.

Masato Kajimoto Assessor
05-Oct-2019 (7 months ago) Updated: 7 months ago

It is easy for readers to contact the Center.


done_all 4c marked as Fully compliant by Masato Kajimoto.

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.

Taiwan FactCheck Center
21-Sep-2019 (8 months ago)

Taiwan FactCheck Center has set up a clear fact checking operational guidelines and posts it on the Center’s website (https://tfc-taiwan.org.tw/node/71). Please refer to the attached English translation of the Taiwan FactCheck Center Operational Guidelines.

Files Attached
description IFCN-guidelines.docx (20 KB)
Masato Kajimoto Assessor
05-Oct-2019 (7 months ago) Updated: 7 months ago

Yes, it is clear and easy to locate.


done_all 5a marked as Fully compliant by Masato Kajimoto.

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.

Taiwan FactCheck Center
21-Sep-2019 (8 months ago)

The Center’s website includes an “Appeal Page” (https://tfc-taiwan.org.tw/appeal) where the public can raise claims about fake news or fake information. If members of the public find in their daily life a piece of information or news which may be false or misleading, they can bring the information or news to the attention of the Center through the link “I have questions” on the appeal page. If members of the public have any evidence which is helpful to verify or rebut suspected fake news or information, they can submit the information through the link “I have evidence” on the appeal page. Moreover, the person(s) or the parties who are connected to the suspected fake news or information can also provide clarified information or comments through the link "I am a party” on the appeal page.

The Center values any comments and opinions from the public, and so far about 30% of the fact checked cases have been created because of public input.

Besides that, the Center collect claims about fake news or fake information mainly from Facebook’s fact-checking product, Line’s fact-checking platform and Co-facts, a crowd-souring fact-checking website(https://cofacts.g0v.tw/). We cooperated with the two social media since this summer. Line users can raise claims to Line’s fact-checking product (https://fact-checker.line.me/ ) and get the checked report from us via Line. For claims from Co-facts, we post the link of our checked reports on Co-facts’ website.

Masato Kajimoto Assessor
05-Oct-2019 (7 months ago) Updated: 7 months ago

The audience has multiple means to communicate with the Center. It looks like the collaboration with Co-facts, LINE, and Facebook is working well and benefiting the audience.


done_all 5b marked as Fully compliant by Masato Kajimoto.

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.

Taiwan FactCheck Center
21-Sep-2019 (8 months ago)

Taiwan FactCheck Center clearly lays out its correction policy which is available on the Center’s website (https://tfc-taiwan.org.tw/node/129). The policy states how the public can comment on the fact checked report, how the center deals with the public opinion internally, and how the center issues its corrections.

Regarding corrections, item 9 of the Taiwan FactCheck Center Operational Guidelines clearly stipulates: "The results of the fact checking are open to external appeals and the fact checkers should process the appeals with a rigorous review. If the original fact checked report is found to contain errors the center should immediately make a correction and issue the correction to the public."

To prevent fact checkers from failing to conduct fair reviews of external appeals, item 10 of the Taiwan FactCheck Center Operational Guidelines also stipulates: "Members of the Executive Board and the Advisory Council may take initiative in proposing corrections if they find the fact checked report negligent in the review process or contains errors in content. If the editor-in-chief disagrees with the external appeals, the editor-in-chief should submit a comprehensive statement to the Executive Board. The final decision shall be made by the Executive Board."

Please refer to the attached English translation of the Taiwan FactCheck Center Operational Guidelines.

Files Attached
description IFCN-guidelines.docx (20 KB)
Masato Kajimoto Assessor
05-Oct-2019 (7 months ago) Updated: 7 months ago

Its correction policy is clear.


done_all 6a marked as Fully compliant by Masato Kajimoto.

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

Taiwan FactCheck Center
21-Sep-2019 (8 months ago)

So far, there have been no corrections issued from the Center. However, there have been additional materials amended to the Center’s previous fact checked reports.

Masato Kajimoto Assessor
05-Oct-2019 (7 months ago) Updated: 7 months ago

No correction could mean either the Center has been very rigorous and meticulous in their fact-checking or it has not realized it has made some mistakes so far. Perusing their stories, I would like to conclude that the case is most likely the former. Another potential reason I can think of is its rating category "partially false" -- a verdict that might make it somewhat hard for someone to appeal for a review. I do understand the nuanced nature of some of the stories and why this category exists, though.


done_all 6b marked as Fully compliant by Masato Kajimoto.