Verafiles Incorporated

Organization: Verafiles Incorporated
Applicant: Ellen T. Tordesillas
Assessor: Jeremaiah M. Opiniano

Background

VERA Files is a Philippine nonprofit news organization that operates a fact-checking editorial service.

Assessment Conclusion

VERA Files is compliant with the latest criteria of the International Fact Checking Network (IFCN). Just a few suggestions (programming related) on its fact-checking page will enhance its transparency to the public.

on 28-Oct-2020 (2 months ago)

Jeremaiah M. Opiniano assesses application as Compliant

A short summary in native publishing language

Sumasangguni ang VERA Files sa mga alituntunin ng IFCN. Ilang mga mungkahi sa kanilang fact-checking na pahina sa kanilang website ang makatutulong sa kanilang pagiging transparent sa publiko.

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.

Verafiles Incorporated
16-Sep-2020 (4 months ago) Updated: 3 months ago

Verafiles Inc. is an independent media nonprofit organization registered with the Philippines' Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) and Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR). It has been undertaking the fact-checking initiative "VERA Files Fact Check" since 2016. Information about VERA Files can be found in "About Us" (https://verafiles.org/about). Information about VERA Files Fact Check can be found in "What you want to know about VERA Files Fact Check" (https://verafiles.org/articles/what-you-want-know-about-vera-files-fact-check).

Jeremaiah M. Opiniano Assessor
17-Oct-2020 (3 months ago) Updated: 3 months ago

The nonprofit news group Vera Files complies with this requirement. The registration of Vera Files as a nonprofit complies with Philippine corporation and taxation laws.

If Vera Files, in the future, can upload its SEC and BIR registration on its website (with a watermark to avoid undue fraudulence by others), that will only bolster the fiduciary credibility of the news organization.  

  


done_all 1.1 marked as Compliant by Jeremaiah M. Opiniano.

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?

Verafiles Incorporated
16-Sep-2020 (4 months ago) Updated: 3 months ago

1) When: VERA Files' fact-checking operation started during the 2016 presidential elections as a class activity of VERA Files cofounder and then trustee Yvonne T. Chua at the University of the Philippines where she teaches journalism. Chua’s students fact-checked statements made by candidates for national positions, applying guidelines used by fact-checkers in other parts of the world. She and VERA Files writer Jake Soriano worked closely on the activity and posted the output in VERA Files under the “Is that so?” section. "Is that so?” became “VERA Files Fact Check” in July that year. Chua led VERA Files Fact Check until Jan. 31, 2019.

Why: Government officials, politicians and other public figures tend to play fast and loose with the facts, in the process misleading the public. These “alternative facts” spread easily owing to the big following and wide reach of these public figures. In addition, social media platforms have increasingly been exploited to spread misinformation and disinformation by both public and nonpublic figures. As journalists, we at VERA Files are committed to seeking and telling the truth. Fact-checking is one of the means. We believe in accountability journalism, which is essential to a functioning democracy.

https://verafiles.org/articles/what-you-want-know-about-vera-files-fact-check

2) VERA Files has a lean staff, and members perform several functions. It has 14 editors/researchers doing fact-check work, and, of the 14, nine comprise its social media team tasked with the publication of its fact-check articles on the website and social media platforms. Three editors likewise have administrative duties, but only Ellen Tordesillas, as President, communicates directly with donors.

3) Aside from the production of Fact Checks/Fact Sheets/Explainers supported by the National Endowment for Democracy and a partnership agreement with Facebook, VERA Files undertakes the Road Safety Journalism Program in cooperation with the World Health Organization-Philippines and Bloomberg Philanthropies and Earth Files with Internews' Earth Journalism Network. VERA Files likewise conducts fact check training programs in partnership with educational institutions in the country, and has, as needed, collaborated with other fact checking groups around the world. It was among the first members of the collaborative project #CoronaVirusFactsAlliance, led by IFCN, to fight disinformation about COVID-19.

4) VERA Files would like to keep honing its craft through continuing training and exposure. It also aims to expand its reach even as it is constrained by limited financial and technical resources. It hopes to gain more skills to allow it to move one step closer to self-sustainability.

Jeremaiah M. Opiniano Assessor
17-Oct-2020 (3 months ago) Updated: 3 months ago

Vera Files has sustained its fact checking operations since 2016, and has demonstrated the medium-term sustainability of its fact-checking operations amid limited financial resources. Thanks to some donor support for this fact-checking editorial service, Vera Files has increased its pool of fact check producers/writers and editors over the years (with emphasis on young people who were fresh from journalism school). These young people have been tapped for training and capacity-building activities by Vera Files. For example, the group's recent fact-checking training was for members of the community press, under the umbrella of the Philippine Press Institute (evidence: https://meet.google.com/nis-zwvf-emq). Vera Files even launched video tutorials --in some Philippine dialects (outside of English and Filipino)-- on fact checking, tutored by its young staff (evidence: https://bit.ly/3dBuOCt).


done_all 1.2 marked as Compliant by Jeremaiah M. Opiniano.

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.

Verafiles Incorporated
16-Sep-2020 (4 months ago) Updated: 3 months ago

Please see attached list of VERA Files Fact Checks between April 1, 2020 and October 1, 2020.

Files Attached
picture_as_pdf VERA Files List of F... (195 KB)
Jeremaiah M. Opiniano Assessor
17-Oct-2020 (3 months ago) Updated: 3 months ago

Vera Files has produced more than the required number of fact check articles/materials during the coverage period. Production volume is tantamount to doing daily fact checks (even producing six fact checks a day online). 


done_all 1.3 marked as Compliant by Jeremaiah M. Opiniano.

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.

Jeremaiah M. Opiniano Assessor
17-Oct-2020 (3 months ago) Updated: 3 months ago

At least three-fourths of the claims Vera Files fact-checked cover themes or 'stories' with public relevance, impacting people's welfare. 

  

 


done_all 1.4 marked as Compliant by Jeremaiah M. Opiniano.

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.

Verafiles Incorporated
16-Sep-2020 (4 months ago) Updated: 3 months ago

VERA Files has no commercial, financial, and/or institutional relationship with the state, or with politicians or political parties in the Philippines and any other country. VERA Files does not receive any funding or support from foreign as well as local state or political actors.

VERA Files’ nonpartisan policy is stated in “What you want to know about VERA Files Fact Check” (http://verafiles.org/articles/what-you- want-know-about-vera-files-fact-check) under the item "How sure are we that you’re not backed by a politician or political party?"

VERA Files prohibits its trustees and staff from taking money from politicians, political parties, or partisan groups, and from having political affiliations. Neither are they allowed to take on memberships, projects, and activities that would compromise their independence and result in conflict-of-interest situations, real or perceived.

VERA Files adheres to the professional and ethical standards set by the Society of Professional Journalists (https://www.spj.org/ethicscode.asp) and the Philippine Journalists Code of Ethics (https://www.philpressinstitute.net/journalists-code-of-ethics/), which has a lengthy provision on nonpartisanship of journalists during elections.

The online media outlet Media Bias/Fact Check (MBFC News) gives VERA Files a “least biased” rating (https://mediabiasfactcheck.com/vera-files/).

Jeremaiah M. Opiniano Assessor
17-Oct-2020 (3 months ago) Updated: 3 months ago

The financial reports of Vera Files will easily tell you that they are not supported by any political actors, be they foreign or local.  


done_all 1.5 marked as Compliant by Jeremaiah M. Opiniano.

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.

Verafiles Incorporated
16-Sep-2020 (4 months ago) Updated: 3 months ago

Not Applicable.

Jeremaiah M. Opiniano Assessor
17-Oct-2020 (3 months ago) Updated: 3 months ago



done_all 1.6 marked as Compliant by Jeremaiah M. Opiniano.

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.

Verafiles Incorporated
16-Sep-2020 (4 months ago) Updated: 3 months ago

1. Buhay party-list Rep. Atienza privilege speech laced with false claims on anti-tetanus vaccine (Oct. 9, 2019)

https://verafiles.org/articles/vera-files-fact-check-buhay-party-list-rep-atienza-privilege

2. Robredo contradicts LP spox; accepts offer to lead efforts vs. illegal drugs (Nov. 6, 2019)

https://verafiles.org/articles/vera-files-fact-check-robredo-contradicts-lp-spox-accepts-du

3. Bongbong Marcos falsely claims martial law horrors fabricated (Jan. 17, 2020)

https://verafiles.org/articles/vera-files-fact-check-bongbong-marcos-falsely-claims-martial

4. Andanar falsely claims PH has strongest GDP growth rate in ASEAN (Jan. 28, 2020)

https://verafiles.org/articles/vera-files-fact-check-andanar-falsely-claims-ph-has-stronges

5. ‘Duterte Legacy’ flier mixes true figures with inaccurate, misleading, out-of-context data (Jan. 28, 2020)

https://verafiles.org/articles/vera-files-fact-check-duterte-legacy-flier-mixes-true-figure

6. Duque’s statement that ‘moist throat’ can prevent COVID-19 contradicts WHO advisory (Feb. 13, 2020)

https://verafiles.org/articles/vera-files-fact-check-duques-statement-moist-throat-can-prev

7. Kennedy scion falsely claims US-made dengue vaccine wrongly used on Filipino children, worsening their conditions (June 11, 2020)

https://verafiles.org/articles/vera-files-fact-check-kennedy-scion-falsely-claims-us-made-d

8. Robin Padilla misleadingly links Beirut blast to terrorism to justify PH anti-terror law (Aug. 17, 2020)

https://verafiles.org/articles/vera-files-fact-check-robin-padilla-misleadingly-links-beiru

9. Dela Rosa misleads in citing old news report on death penalty (Aug. 27, 2020)

https://verafiles.org/articles/vera-files-fact-check-dela-rosa-misleads-citing-old-news-rep

10. Gadon makes multiple inaccurate claims on mask use, other COVID-19 measures (Sept. 18, 2020)

https://verafiles.org/articles/vera-files-fact-check-gadon-makes-multiple-inaccurate-claims


VERA Files in July 2016 set the standards for its fact checking in its two-day editorial planning meeting. The standards were updated in 2017 after the IFCN issued the Code of Principles; they undergo thorough review every year. The team continues to adhere to the same standards, which were reiterated and underscored during VERA Files' planning workshop held on February 20, 2020.

VERA Files also has created templates to present its findings for multiple platforms to ensure consistency. “What you want to know about VERA Files Fact Check” (http://verafiles.org/articles/what-you- want-know-about-vera-files-fact-check) includes the item “Do you follow any standards when fact-checking?”

Jeremaiah M. Opiniano Assessor
17-Oct-2020 (3 months ago) Updated: 3 months ago

The assessor checked only one of the ten URLs listed on the left for a random check of 20 articles in the past three months. High standards of evidence and judgment for claims were shown in the articles, covering opposing parties. The frequent use of hyperlinks to back up fact-checking stories bolsters also the credibility of Vera Files' fact-checking stories. The evidence presented provided attempts to get all sides of the issue.


done_all 2.1 marked as Compliant by Jeremaiah M. Opiniano.

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.

Verafiles Incorporated
16-Sep-2020 (4 months ago) Updated: 3 months ago
https://verafiles.org/articles/what-you-want-know-about-vera-files-fact-check


See, in particular, "Do you follow any standards when fact-checking?" and "How do you select claims to fact-check?"

Jeremaiah M. Opiniano Assessor
17-Oct-2020 (3 months ago) Updated: 3 months ago

The news organization has a clear three-point criteria on what claims may have to be fact-checked. The random check of fact-checking stories shows that claims being fact-checked tended to arise from claims that have trended on social media / The Internet. Then Vera Files applies the three-point criteria it set out (Is it [claim] a statement of fact? Is it feasible? Is it relevant?0.

Sure, many of the fact-checking articles bared topics whose allegedly "misleading" information come from supporters of the sitting government. But Vera Files also fact-checked those against the ruling government, and even individuals giving misleading information using statements coming from current government officials. The “many” fact-checking articles favouring the ruling government may be because these parties produced more allegedly misleading information. Nevertheless, even oppositors to the sitting government got fact-checked.


done_all 2.2 marked as Compliant by Jeremaiah M. Opiniano.

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.

Jeremaiah M. Opiniano Assessor
17-Oct-2020 (3 months ago) Updated: 3 months ago

The fact-checking stories of Vera Files give histories of the parties making claims, especially if these ‘claimants’ have social media accounts. For example, the histories of the creation of such Facebook accounts or YouTube video accounts form the last paragraph of many fact-checking stories by Vera Files.

Files Attached
description Sample suggestion fo... (299 KB)
done_all 2.3 marked as Compliant by Jeremaiah M. Opiniano.

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.

Jeremaiah M. Opiniano Assessor
17-Oct-2020 (3 months ago) Updated: 3 months ago

Vera Files has displayed nonpartisanship in its fact-checking articles.

Vera Files does journalism and its readers a big service by presenting more than one claim in the fact-checking articles, and uses more than one piece of evidence. The fact-checking articles then become 'news stories' that adhere to the minimum 'two-source rule' (of opposing parties) for beat reporters. These being said, the fact-checking articles did not show support for any partisan side and it position/s. The stories’ tone in presenting the pieces of evidence was like a straight news story—fitting for the nonpartisan approach.


done_all 2.4 marked as Compliant by Jeremaiah M. Opiniano.

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.

Verafiles Incorporated
16-Sep-2020 (4 months ago) Updated: 3 months ago
https://verafiles.org/articles/what-you-want-know-about-vera-files-fact-check


See, in particular, "How sure are we that you're not backed by a politician or political party?"

Jeremaiah M. Opiniano Assessor
17-Oct-2020 (3 months ago) Updated: 3 months ago

The link explicitly shows the policy on non-partisanship by the editorial and reporting staff of Vera Files’ fact-checking service in particular, and of the entire news group, in general.


done_all 2.5 marked as Compliant by Jeremaiah M. Opiniano.

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.

Jeremaiah M. Opiniano Assessor
17-Oct-2020 (3 months ago) Updated: 3 months ago

Vera Files does journalism and its readers a big service by presenting more than one claim in the fact-checking articles, and uses more than one piece of evidence. The fact-checking articles then become 'news stories' that adhere to the minimum 'two-source rule' (of opposing parties) for beat reporters.

To further bolster the transparency of the fact-checking process' usage of hyperlinks, the assessor suggests having a list of references / bibliography of the materials it hyperlinked at the end of the article. That way, online viewers will be 'cornered' by both the hyperlinks and the bibliographic references. The bibliography is a tool for readers to decipher how the fact-checking endeavor was executed, and how readers can also assess the credibility of the materials Vera Files cited.


done_all 3.1 marked as Compliant by Jeremaiah M. Opiniano.

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.

Jeremaiah M. Opiniano Assessor
17-Oct-2020 (3 months ago) Updated: 3 months ago

Vera Files prioritizes using primary sources in many of the fact-checking stories produced. For facts presented as historical or scientific evidence, Vera Files provides links to the published scholarly articles. All these sources of evidence are in the form of hyperlinks.

To further bolster the transparency of the fact-checking process' usage of hyperlinks, the assessor suggests having a list of references / bibliography of the materials it hyperlinked at the end of the article. That way, online viewers will be 'cornered' by both the hyperlinks and the bibliographic references. The bibliography is a tool for readers to decipher how the fact-checking endeavor was executed, and how readers can also assess the credibility of the materials Vera Files cited.


done_all 3.2 marked as Compliant by Jeremaiah M. Opiniano.

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.

Jeremaiah M. Opiniano Assessor
17-Oct-2020 (3 months ago) Updated: 3 months ago

Vera Files complies with this sub-criterion by presenting multiple sides of a story that's being fact-checked. 


done_all 3.3 marked as Compliant by Jeremaiah M. Opiniano.

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.

Jeremaiah M. Opiniano Assessor
17-Oct-2020 (3 months ago) Updated: 3 months ago

Vera Files complies with this sub-criterion by presenting backgrounds of the parties involved in a fact-checked story (e.g. histories of account creations, names of the claimants, backgrounders on the personalities involved [articles/photos/videos]), etc.


done_all 3.4 marked as Compliant by Jeremaiah M. Opiniano.

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.

Verafiles Incorporated
16-Sep-2020 (4 months ago) Updated: 3 months ago


Verafiles Inc. is an independent media nonprofit organization registered with the Philippines' Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) and Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR). It has been undertaking the fact-checking initiative "VERA Files Fact Check" since 2016. Information about VERA Files can be found in "About Us" (http://verafiles.org/about). Information about VERA Files Fact Check can be found in "What you want to know about VERA Files Fact Check" (http://verafiles.org/articles/what-you-want-know-about-vera-files-fact-check).

Please see attached General Information Sheet.


Files Attached
picture_as_pdf GIS 2020.pdf (2 MB)
Jeremaiah M. Opiniano Assessor
17-Oct-2020 (3 months ago) Updated: 3 months ago

The hyperlinks to answer Criterion 4.1 show evidence of the independence of Vera Files. The PDF evidence, coming from its submission to the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) also support the compliance of Vera Files to Philippine corporation law --as a backup to its being a credibly independent organization. (see comments in Criterion 1.1)


done_all 4.1 marked as Compliant by Jeremaiah M. Opiniano.

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.

Verafiles Incorporated
16-Sep-2020 (4 months ago) Updated: 3 months ago
Jeremaiah M. Opiniano Assessor
17-Oct-2020 (3 months ago) Updated: 3 months ago

The hyperlinks also show the statement on ownership be Vera Files, and the supporters to its fact-checking service. The financial reports also reveal the supporters of the organization.

As a matter of visual appeal for its hyperlinks on the fact-checking service, Vera Files can present details about its funders and the amounts given to the news nonprofit through graphics / infographics. This suggestion will all the more bolster the fiduciary and financial transparency of Vera Files.


done_all 4.2 marked as Compliant by Jeremaiah M. Opiniano.

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.

Verafiles Incorporated
16-Sep-2020 (4 months ago) Updated: 3 months ago

https://verafiles.org/articles/what-you-want-know-about-vera-files-fact-check


See, in particular, "What does your organizational structure look like?"

Jeremaiah M. Opiniano Assessor
17-Oct-2020 (3 months ago) Updated: 3 months ago

The link clearly presents the organizational structure of Vera Files, and even the editorial chain of command. 


done_all 4.3 marked as Compliant by Jeremaiah M. Opiniano.

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.

Verafiles Incorporated
16-Sep-2020 (4 months ago) Updated: 3 months ago
https://verafiles.org/articles/what-you-want-know-about-vera-files-fact-check


See, in particular, “Who does the fact-checking at VERA Files?”

Jeremaiah M. Opiniano Assessor
17-Oct-2020 (3 months ago) Updated: 3 months ago

The hyperlink contains a section subtitled 'Who does the fact-checking at Vera Files.' The said item contains a list of names of the personnel involved in the fact-checking service. Each name is hyperlinked to the professional LinkedIn accounts of the journalists involved. Presenting the profiles of the working personnel through LinkedIn adds professionalism into the overall fact-checking work of Vera Files.


done_all 4.4 marked as Compliant by Jeremaiah M. Opiniano.

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.

Verafiles Incorporated
16-Sep-2020 (4 months ago) Updated: 3 months ago

A Contact Us section is at the bottom of VERA Files' website:

https://verafiles.org/

VERA Files also provides links to its social media pages that readers can go to:

https://verafiles.org/about

VERA Files also encourage readers to send leads or claims it can fact-check, as well as to call its attention to a mistake in any one of its articles:

https://verafiles.org/articles/what-you-want-know-about-vera-files-fact-check

See, in particular, “Do you accept leads or contributions for your fact-checking initiative?” and “What if the fact-check team makes a mistake?”

Jeremaiah M. Opiniano Assessor
17-Oct-2020 (3 months ago) Updated: 3 months ago

The hyperlinks show how readers can reach Vera Files.

In the future, some of these items can be presented as engaging graphics. For example, 'Corrections' can be a graphic, as well as 'How to reach us.' No problem with presenting these items as texts, but these can be easily overlooked by readers. 



done_all 4.5 marked as Compliant by Jeremaiah M. Opiniano.

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.

Verafiles Incorporated
16-Sep-2020 (4 months ago) Updated: 3 months ago

VERA Files provides in detail its fact-checking process in “What you want to know about VERA Files Fact Check” (http://verafiles.org/articles/what-you-want-know-about-vera-files-fact-check) under the question, “How do you fact-check?” An infographic explains the methodology, which is called the “VERA Files Fact Checking Process.”

The methodology is also explained in the online and print publication, “VERAfied: A DIY guide to fact checking and fighting fake news” (http://verafiles.org/articles/verafied-diy-guide-fact-checking-and-fighting-fake-news). VERA Files also explains what it does as a third-party fact checker for Facebook in “VERA FILES FACT SHEET: Facebook’s third-party fact-checking program in PH explained” (http://verafiles.org/articles/vera-files-fact-sheet-facebooks-third-party-fact-checking-pr).

Since April 2018, a link to “VERAfied: A DIY guide to fact checking and fighting fake news” (http://verafiles.org/articles/verafied-diy-guide-fact-checking-and-fighting-fake-news) is provided at the end of every article.

Jeremaiah M. Opiniano Assessor
17-Oct-2020 (3 months ago) Updated: 3 months ago

The hyperlinks prove the compliance of Vera Files to this sub-criterion. The infographic visualizes the steps being made.

Just recently, Vera Files even launched videos (in six Philippine dialects) on how fact checks are being done. The recent videos all but add to the transparency of its methodology.


done_all 5.1 marked as Compliant by Jeremaiah M. Opiniano.

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.

Jeremaiah M. Opiniano Assessor
17-Oct-2020 (3 months ago) Updated: 3 months ago

Vera Files adhered to a three-fold set of criteria to explain why a claim needs to be checked in terms of its facts. Noticed also from the random stories observed is that the claims trended on the Internet and social media. Even the possible increased reach of the claim/post (with alleged misinformation) was mentioned in some of these articles, using CrowdTangle.


done_all 5.2 marked as Compliant by Jeremaiah M. Opiniano.

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.

Jeremaiah M. Opiniano Assessor
17-Oct-2020 (3 months ago) Updated: 3 months ago

The hyperlinks in the stories provided the relevant evidence to support and even undermine a claim by a party concerned.


done_all 5.3 marked as Compliant by Jeremaiah M. Opiniano.

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.

Jeremaiah M. Opiniano Assessor
17-Oct-2020 (3 months ago) Updated: 3 months ago

The applicant may have made efforts to call ‘claimants’ and seek supporting evidence to their claims. However, given the partisanship of some of these claimants, they (purposely) do not reply to Vera Files. As a recourse, Vera Files banks on online research and the seeking of documentary evidence to present contexts to the claims and counterclaims made. 


done_all 5.4 marked as Compliant by Jeremaiah M. Opiniano.

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.

Jeremaiah M. Opiniano Assessor
17-Oct-2020 (3 months ago) Updated: 3 months ago

The applicant may have made efforts to call ‘claimants’ and seek supporting evidence to their claims. However, given the partisanship of some of these claimants, they (purposely) do not reply to Vera Files. As a recourse, Vera Files banks on online research and the seeking of documentary evidence to present contexts to the claims and counterclaims made.

For future fact-checking stories, Vera Files can attempt to pro-actively reach claimants, from whichever party they side on. Doing this approach is admittedly a risk to the journalists’ physical and online security, especially given the persistence of highly-partisan ‘claimants.’


done_all 5.5 marked as Compliant by Jeremaiah M. Opiniano.

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.

Verafiles Incorporated
16-Sep-2020 (4 months ago) Updated: 3 months ago

The team religiously monitors VERA Files' social media pages, where readers regularly send in fact check requests. On VERA Files’ Facebook Messenger, netizens receive a prompt to fill up this Google Form:

https://docs.google.com/forms/d/e/1FAIpQLSeNAlQtQdsw_bF2AS6AI_QztnSGBMIE96oIAzV9QW-m8RgEww/viewform

Each request is carefully evaluated by an assigned member of the fact-check team.

If the claim is fact-checkable, it will be assigned to a member of the fact check team for research. Once the fact check is done, VERA Files sends the link of the published version to the reader who initially asked the claim to be checked.

For already-debunked claims, VERA Files sends the reader the link to the corresponding Fact Check article.

For content that turns out to be true based on a quick cursory Search, or is not eligible for fact-checking, VERA Files provides a quick explanation to the reader with a citation of its sources.

VERA Files also provides an email address where readers can send leads and Fact Check pitches. See, in particular, “Do you accept leads or contributions for your fact-checking initiative?”

https://verafiles.org/articles/what-you-want-know-about-vera-files-fact-check

Beginning Oct. 2020, VERA Files has added a blurb at the end of all its Fact Check articles encouraging readers to send VERA Files Fact Check any dubious claims that they encounter online.

Blurb:

Have you seen any dubious claims, photos, memes, or online posts that you want us to verify? Send us a message here or here.

Here: mailto: newsroom@verafiles.org

Here: Reader Request form

Reader Request Form: https://docs.google.com/forms/d/e/1FAIpQLSeNAlQtQdsw_bF2AS6AI_QztnSGBMIE96oIAzV9QW-m8RgEww/viewform


Jeremaiah M. Opiniano Assessor
17-Oct-2020 (3 months ago) Updated: 3 months ago

The answers of Vera Files to this criterion comply with Criterion 5.6.

It will do a service to readers / news audiences if these details are posted as a separate URL and posted in the Vera Files website, and/or designed as an infographic / social media 'pubmat' (publication material). Noticeably, the details in these answers of Vera Files are not in here: https://verafiles.org/articles/what-you-want-know-about-vera-files-fact-check 

 


done_all 5.6 marked as Compliant by Jeremaiah M. Opiniano.

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.

Verafiles Incorporated
16-Sep-2020 (4 months ago) Updated: 3 months ago

The correction policy can be found in the item “What if the fact-check team makes a mistake?” in “What you want to know about VERA Files Fact Check” (https://verafiles.org/articles/what-you-want-know-about-vera-files-fact-check) as well as in “About Us” (https://verafiles.org/about).

Publishers who get a "false" or “mixture” rating from VERA Files and receive a notification from Facebook under the third-party fact-checking program can appeal to VERA Files. The information is provided in the item “How does one fact-check the fact checkers?” in “VERA FILES FACT SHEET: Facebook’s third-party fact-checking program in PH explained” (https://verafiles.org/articles/vera-files-fact-sheet-facebooks-third-party-fact-checking-pr). Here is an example of a Facebook publisher that has appealed to VERA Files and corrected its story: “FB posts saying novel coronavirus is from bats bear FALSE HEADLINE” (https://verafiles.org/articles/vera-files-fact-check-fb-posts-saying-novel-coronavirus-bats).

Jeremaiah M. Opiniano Assessor
17-Oct-2020 (3 months ago) Updated: 3 months ago

Vera Files is compliant in this sub-criterion.


done_all 6.1 marked as Compliant by Jeremaiah M. Opiniano.

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

Jeremaiah M. Opiniano Assessor
17-Oct-2020 (3 months ago) Updated: 3 months ago

The hyperlink bares a final sub-section about Vera Files making a mistake. That sub-section spells out details on the actions Vera Files does to these mistakes. 


done_all 6.2 marked as Compliant by Jeremaiah M. Opiniano.

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.

Verafiles Incorporated
16-Sep-2020 (4 months ago) Updated: 3 months ago

VERA Files has not had any correction requests over the past year. There were, however, instances where VERA Files caught its own mistake and made the necessary corrections. For example:

https://twitter.com/verafiles/status/1281444211389157376

https://verafiles.org/articles/vera-files-fact-check-pending-enactment-anti-terror-bill-loc

https://verafiles.org/articles/vera-files-fact-sheet-whats-next-abs-cbn-after-losing-franch

VERA Files also airs the responses to its Fact Check. For example:

https://verafiles.org/articles/vera-files-fact-check-no-who-did-not-say-covid-19-virus-airb

VERA Files likewise states in its Fact Check article if a publisher has corrected the post in question because of the Fact Check (in line with the corrections policy under the third-party Fact Check partnership with Facebook). For example:

https://verafiles.org/articles/vera-files-fact-check-fb-posts-saying-novel-coronavirus-bats

Link to Facebook corrections policy: https://www.facebook.com/business/help/997484867366026?id=673052479947730&recommended_by=315131736305613


Jeremaiah M. Opiniano Assessor
17-Oct-2020 (3 months ago) Updated: 3 months ago

The news organization complies with this sub-criterion. Vera Files is also quick to the draw in spotting its own errors. While human errors are normal even unto journalists and fact-checkers, the adherence to standards of correcting and addressing editorial mistakes mattered for Vera Files. 


done_all 6.3 marked as Compliant by Jeremaiah M. Opiniano.

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.

Verafiles Incorporated
16-Sep-2020 (4 months ago) Updated: 3 months ago
Jeremaiah M. Opiniano Assessor
17-Oct-2020 (3 months ago) Updated: 3 months ago

The news organization is compliant in this sub-criterion. A link to the IFCN Code is also mentioned in its hyperlink explaining the fact-checking process.

For further transparency, an infographic/social media 'pubmat' saying briefly how to lodge complaints can be designed and posted on the new website and on Vera Files' social media accounts. Doing so will all the more make Vera Files transparent.


done_all 6.4 marked as Compliant by Jeremaiah M. Opiniano.

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.

Verafiles Incorporated
16-Sep-2020 (4 months ago) Updated: 3 months ago

VERA Files is not affiliated with any media company.

Jeremaiah M. Opiniano Assessor
17-Oct-2020 (3 months ago) Updated: 3 months ago

Vera Files is the rightful owner of the 'Vera Files' fact checking service.


done_all 6.5 marked as Compliant by Jeremaiah M. Opiniano.