The Quint - WebQoof

Organization: The Quint
Applicant: Jaskirat Singh Bawa
Assessor: Kanchan Kaur
Edits made by the organization after this assessment

IFCN Staff wrote:

The applicant added information on funding on its website at the link: https://www.thequint.com/about-us/how-we-are-funded


Conclusion and recommendations
on 05-Dec-2018 (4 months ago)

Kanchan Kaur wrote:

The applicant is a fact-checking section of a legally registered media outlet, and has published over the average of one fact-check per week over the past three months. It has also published fact-checks by other fact-checking organisations, though due credit is given to them.

The applicant's fact checks are made using similar standards and cover a variety of subjects, and most aspects of the topic.

The applicant seems to have an admirable code of conduct for employees to sign, but some of it ought to be on the web page, too.

Key sources are usually referenced, and linked online. However, several of these sources belong to other fact-checking websites, so the reader has to go through those websites and then replicate the fact-check.

The applicant has submitted an undertaking about the funding of the fact-checking section of the media house, but the website itself does not contain any details on funding.

The applicant has listed all key actors and writers in a section of the fact-checking section of the website and makes it very clear how readers can get in touch with it. It has also created a space on its website to explain its fact-checking methodology.

The applicant's website clearly indicates to readers how they can send claims to fact-check. It would help for them to provide statistics on the frequency of reader-submitted fact-checks.

The corrections policy is clearly listed in the employees' handbook, and is clearly mentioned in the applicant's website, especially in the fact-checking section.

The website provided one example of correction, but that was not very clear. However, it does have a clear, committed corrections policy. It would help for the applicant to provide more and put corrections in a prominent place on the website. 

on 05-Dec-2018 (4 months ago)

Kanchan Kaur 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.

The Quint
22-Oct-2018 (5 months ago) Updated: 5 months ago

Attaching The Quint's certificate of incorporation. 

Files Attached
picture_as_pdf COI.pdf (603 KB)
Kanchan Kaur Assessor
07-Nov-2018 (5 months ago) Updated: 4 months ago

The applicant is a fact-checking section of a legally registered media outlet. 



done_all 1a marked as Fully compliant by Kanchan Kaur.

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.

The Quint
22-Oct-2018 (5 months ago) Updated: 4 months ago

We have a section called 'WebQoof' where we stack all our fact checked stories. The section has been online for close to 18 months and has almost 400 stories. Here is the link to section: https://www.thequint.com/news/webqoof

More details of the work, methodology and the team involved can be accessed here: https://www.thequint.com/about-us/webqoof

Kanchan Kaur Assessor
07-Nov-2018 (5 months ago) Updated: 3 months ago

The applicant has published over the average of one fact-check per week over the past three months. It also publishes fact checks by other fact-checking organisations, though these are not included in the count.


done_all 1b marked as Fully compliant by Kanchan Kaur.

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.

The Quint
22-Oct-2018 (5 months ago) Updated: 4 months ago

From reporting on ground to using technology for verifying facts, we at The Quint, try to incorporate more than one source of information to fact-check a claim. We also rely heavily on data available on public domain to conduct fact-checks. We also apply this principle for reporting in general, and try to verify facts even in our opinion pieces before publishing.

Here is a sample list of some of our fact-checked stories: 

  1. Kathua Rape: Exposing a Viral List of Lies From Ground Zero: https://www.thequint.com/news/webqoof/what-really-happened-kathua-rape-case
  2. ‘Not Receiving Death Threats’: Cop Who Saved Muslim Boy From Mob: https://www.thequint.com/news/india/not-receiving-death-threats-cop-who-saved-muslim-boy-from-mob
  3. Beware of Scams, There is No Premium for ‘Ayushman Bharat’ Scheme: https://www.thequint.com/news/webqoof/fake-news-premium-for-ayushman-bharat-health-insurance-scheme
  4. PM Modi Giving Girls 10K via Sukanya Samriddhi Yojna is Fake News: https://www.thequint.com/news/webqoof/no-pm-modi-is-not-giving-out-rs-10k-cheques-to-girls
  5. Tata E-Vision Maybe A Good Car, But Don’t Let Fake Claims Fool You: https://www.thequint.com/news/webqoof/tata-e-vision-sedan-1000-km-per-charge-fake-news
  6. Did Kejriwal Celebrate his Birthday Despite Vajpayee’s Demise?: https://www.thequint.com/news/india/did-kejriwal-celebrate-his-birthday-despite-vajpayees-demise
  7. Is Mumbai’s New Shivaji Statue to Have Solar Cells and RUPAR Tech?: https://www.thequint.com/news/webqoof/shivaji-statue-mumbai-solar-cells-and-rupar-technology-fake
  8. WebQoof: Can Wearing a Black Bra Cause Breast Cancer? Myths Busted: https://fit.thequint.com/cancer/breast-cancer-myths-webqoof
  9. Rahul Gandhi’s Mansarovar Photos His Own, Not Taken From Google: https://www.thequint.com/news/webqoof/rahul-gandhi-kailash-mansarovar-pictures-google-bjp-trolls
  10. Fake Video Claiming Bengaluru Airport Was Flooded, Is From Mexico: https://www.thequint.com/news/webqoof/fake-video-claiming-bengaluru-airport-was-flooded-is-from-mexico

 More details of the work, methodology and the team involved can be accessed here: https://www.thequint.com/about-us/webqoof

Kanchan Kaur Assessor
07-Nov-2018 (5 months ago) Updated: 4 months ago

The applicant's fact checks cover a variety of subjects, and most aspects of the topic. All claims are checked using similar standards. 


done_all 2a marked as Fully compliant by Kanchan Kaur.

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.

The Quint
22-Oct-2018 (5 months ago) Updated: 4 months ago

As a part of the company policy, employees of Quintillion media are made to sign an undertaking which clearly states that the employees are not directly or indirectly involved with any politicial party, candidate. 

Team Members of Quintillion must not be involved directly or indirectly in any kind of political activity like advocating or campaigning for any political party or candidate, public expressions of their personal political preference (like sticking banners in their houses, displaying political stickers or slogans on their vehicles etc).
Team Members are prohibited from contesting or accepting any appointment or association of whatsoever nature with any public office.


 More details of the work, methodology and the team involved can be accessed here: https://www.thequint.com/about-us/webqoof

Files Attached
picture_as_pdf Editorial Code of Co... (409 KB)
Kanchan Kaur Assessor
07-Nov-2018 (5 months ago) Updated: 5 months ago

The applicant seems to have an admirable code of conduct for employees to sign, but some of it ought to be on the web page, too. 


done_all 2b marked as Fully compliant by Kanchan Kaur.

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.

The Quint
22-Oct-2018 (5 months ago) Updated: 4 months ago

Sources are essential when it comes to fact checking and linking our readers back to the sources from where we extract information is our responsibility.

We cite sources and link it to the original document within our report. At times, when there is fear that a particular page/tweet will be taken down, we archive those and use the archived source for the benefit of our viewers or take screenshots of the page/tweet. In most instances, we get in touch with stake holders or authorities to get verification for stories and those are also well documented within our internal network to use it as a proof, if need arises.


More details of the work, methodology and the team involved can be accessed here: https://www.thequint.com/about-us/webqoof

Kanchan Kaur Assessor
07-Nov-2018 (5 months ago) Updated: 4 months ago

Key sources are usually referenced, and linked online. Readers/viewers/listeners can use these to replicate the fact-check. However, several of these sources belong to other fact-checking websites, so the reader has to go through those websites and then replicate the fact-check. 


done 3a marked as Partially compliant by Kanchan Kaur.

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.

The Quint
22-Oct-2018 (5 months ago) Updated: 5 months ago

The Quint is 100 percent funded by the promoters and founders of the company. Signed undertaking attached.

Files Attached
picture_as_pdf new doc 2018-10-22 1... (272 KB)
Kanchan Kaur Assessor
07-Nov-2018 (5 months ago) Updated: 2 months ago

[Edit made after this assessment: the website now includes a section on funding.]


The applicant has submitted an undertaking about the funding of the fact-checking section of the media house, but the website itself does  not contain any details on funding.


done_all 4a marked as Fully compliant by Kanchan Kaur.

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.

The Quint
22-Oct-2018 (5 months ago) Updated: 4 months ago

Fact-checking is essential for a news organisation and is round the clock. We have a dedicated team of journalists who work on a rotational basis on WebQoof- The Quint's dedicated section for fact-checked stories and stories where we debunk viral posts spreading misinformation/disinformation. Details of the work, methodology and the team involved can be accessed here: https://www.thequint.com/about-us/webqoof

Kanchan Kaur Assessor
07-Nov-2018 (5 months ago) Updated: 4 months ago

The applicant has listed all key actors and writers in a section of the fact-checking section of the website. 


done_all 4b marked as Fully compliant by Kanchan Kaur.

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

The Quint
22-Oct-2018 (5 months ago) Updated: 4 months ago

The readers can directly get in touch with The Quint on our email address: webqoof@thequint.com or they can reach out to us on our Facebook or Twitter page. For the convenience of our readers, we attach a message at the end of every article so that the users can easily get in touch with us. (Attaching a screenshot of the message at the end of every article). This message for call-to-action is also frequently shared through The Quint's social media platforms with a reach exceeding 10 million readers.

The readers can read all the fact checked stories here: https://www.thequint.com/news/webqoof

And can get in touch with the organisation here.

 More details of the work, methodology and the team involved can be accessed here: https://www.thequint.com/about-us/webqoof


Files Attached
WebQoof CTA.JPG (49 KB)
Kanchan Kaur Assessor
07-Nov-2018 (5 months ago) Updated: 4 months ago

The applicant makes it very clear how readers can get in touch with it. 


done_all 4c marked as Fully compliant by Kanchan Kaur.

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.

The Quint
22-Oct-2018 (5 months ago) Updated: 4 months ago

Details of the work, methodology and the team involved can be accessed here: https://www.thequint.com/about-us/webqoof

The process of fact-checking ranges from ground reporting, to calling various stakeholders and authorities to verify facts, reverse searches and analysing various parts of a message for a detailed response. 

We have sent our reporters on the ground many times to verify news stories and thus preventing misinformation from spreading. One of the examples was at the time of the Kathua rape case. Our reporter traveled to Kathua, J&K to verify bring out the facts.  

We also rely on personal interaction with concerned parties to verify messages pertaining to them. For instance: Various messages about government schemes - when the details are not available on government websites - we write/call the Ministry for clarification.

Since the messages that we receive range from text messages to videos, the way we handle it differs.

For photographs: Some pictures can be identified that they have been tampered with by doing a simple google reverse search. As the result shows similar images, they can be identified if they are fake or not. Secondly, closer look at photographs help in analysing aspects of the picture which reveal details that help in checking the authenticity of the image. For instance: Details in pictures like billboards, location play a role in verifying. 

For videos: Verifying videos can be tricky but both the audio and the video, play a role in verifying it. For instance: A message was circulating on social media that claimed that a raid was conducted on a dhaba near Delhi and the condition of the kitchen was extremely poor and unhygienic. But on watching the video we found it to be false. What helped us verify it was: The audio. People in the video were talking in Punjabi while the video was claimed to be of Haryana. Afterwards, using the language as a clue, we found the same video online. It was not just from a different location but was also quite old.

For text: For texts we take the cues and look for the information online then further analyse the source and verifying the piece bit by bit. 

There are different methodologies adopted for different stories but we maintain a policy of not just relying, blindly, on popular sources of information until we ourselves are sure about the information that we put forward for our readers. 

This is the link to our 'WebQoof' section, where we stack all the stories that we debunk: https://www.thequint.com/news/webqoof

Kanchan Kaur Assessor
07-Nov-2018 (5 months ago) Updated: 4 months ago

The applicant has created a space on its website to explain its fact-checking methodology. 


done_all 5a marked as Fully compliant by Kanchan Kaur.

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.

The Quint
22-Oct-2018 (5 months ago) Updated: 4 months ago

We have an email address through which the readers can send us queries and get in touch with us: webqoof@thequint.com

Further, they can also reach out to us on our Facebook page and Twitter page. 

We then take up the queries and reply to our users, individually. 

More details of the work, methodology and the team involved can be accessed here: https://www.thequint.com/about-us/webqoof

Kanchan Kaur Assessor
07-Nov-2018 (5 months ago) Updated: 4 months ago

The applicant's website clearly indicates to readers how they can send claims to fact-check. It would help for them to provide statistics on the frequency of reader-submitted fact-checks. 


done 5b marked as Partially compliant by Kanchan Kaur.

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.

The Quint
22-Oct-2018 (5 months ago) Updated: 4 months ago

More details of the work, methodology, correction policy and the team involved can be accessed here: https://www.thequint.com/about-us/webqoof

Excerpt from the Employee's Handbook:

To err is after all human! Own up to any error quickly and completely. Be transparent when correcting a factual error. Therefore, as a professional organization, while our endeavour is to work with utmost flawlessness and accuracy, we are also mindful of the fact that mistakes need to be corrected promptly. Corrections, clarifications, and retractions should be noted online and printed in the next available issue, in a regular, consistent space that is easy for the reader to find in the front of the publication or, in the case of a Web site, the home page.

Serious factual errors should be admitted and corrected at the first opportunity, subject to legal advice where appropriate. No Team Member is allowed to commit the Company to an admission of error, correction, or apology without reference to the Department Head. The Department Head along with the Company lawyers must be consulted about the wording of corrections and clarifications to determine their suitability.
It
is our policy to correct significant errors as soon as possible. Any amendment should be notified at the bottom of an article. If a retraction is necessary, this should be accompanied by an explanation as to why this was felt to be necessary, subject to the approval and discretion of the Editor-in-Chief and senior editors.
Files Attached
picture_as_pdf Editorial Code of Co... (409 KB)
Kanchan Kaur Assessor
07-Nov-2018 (5 months ago) Updated: 4 months ago

The corrections policy is clearly listed in the employees' handbook, and is clearly mentioned in the applicant's website, especially in the fact-checking section. 


done_all 6a marked as Fully compliant by Kanchan Kaur.

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

The Quint
22-Oct-2018 (5 months ago) Updated: 4 months ago

We had a correction request from the Office of Union Minister Piyush Goyal, after the minister had tweeted a picture to show 100% electrification target achieved by the government. We had fact checked the claim and reported that the pictures used in the tweet were real but were old images captured by NASA in 2017. However, the ministry reached stating the pictures weren't fake. We then made it clearer in our article and issued a clarification that The Quint didn't call the pictures fake but was questioning the pictures used by the minister in the tweet. 

Here is the link to the article. No Piyush Goyal, These Pics Don’t Show Electrification of Villages: https://www.thequint.com/news/webqoof/piyush-goyal-fake-images-on-twitter-show-electrification-of-indian-villages


Kanchan Kaur Assessor
07-Nov-2018 (5 months ago) Updated: 4 months ago

The website provided one example of correction, but that was not very clear. However, it does have a clear, committed corrections policy. It would help for the applicant to provide more and put corrections in a prominent place on the website. 


done 6b marked as Partially compliant by Kanchan Kaur.