Viralgranskaren

Organization: Viralgranskaren
Applicant: Åsa Larsson
Assessor: Ester Appelgren
Edits made by the organization after this assessment

IFCN Staff wrote:

Viralgranskaren have now tried to increase transparency and clarify how readers find information about how we work.

To make it happen, from now on, we will have a fact box at the end of each new fact-checking article. There it says how readers come in contact with us and that we follow the Swedish guidelines for publishers and IFCN:s code of principles.

We also link to a more detailed "About Viralgranskaren" article where we present our staff and additional guidelines.

Here is a link to an article that contains the fact box in the end:

https://www.metro.se/artikel/nej-bilden-visar-inte-en-pension%C3%A4r-som-f%C3%A5r-sin-rullator-beslagtagen

Here is a link to the article "About Viralgranskaren”:

https://www.metro.se/artikel/om-viralgranskaren

The article ”About Viralgranskaren” can also be found in the top menu on Metro.se. 


From the assessor: 


With the new fact box, Viralgranskaren now meet almost all of the criteria for the IFCN. Following the links in the Fact box, there is easy access to contact Viralgranskaren through Facebook and Twitter with suggestions for stories that readers want fact checked. However, I strongly recommend to add the Fact Box to each new fact check and even to the old ones if possible.

There is a link to the Swedish guidelines for journalists available at the webpage of the union for journalists in Sweden. Short methodology can be found following the last link and there is also a list of active authors to articles, and short bios are given. In regard of Viralgranskaren’s policy on preventing their staff from direct involvement in political parties and advocacy organizations I think it is sufficient with the link to the ethical guidelines for Swedish journalists, however, for the future renewal I strongly recommend Viralgranskaren to come with their own policy, especially considering that the Swedish code of conduct is not clear on (1)expressing political views publicly and (2) being member of a political party.


Conclusion and recommendations
on 20-Aug-2018 (1 year ago)

Ester Appelgren wrote:

Viralgranskaren does not meet all the criteria of the IFCN, see previous assessment, as the same criteria is not met:

https://drive.google.com/file/d/0B-dqYAuRL4RxTTczd3hoLWRodFk/view This is also shortly commented on below with recommendations on how to solve the insufficiencies.

As previously stated, the initiative is a well known fact-checking initiative in Sweden, and a part of the metro.se website. It is clear to the news consumer that this initiative belongs to Metro, but the Swedish guidelines for publishers is not generally something the audience is aware of.

Clarifications, in order for the audience to easily understand how Viralgranskaren works when fact-checking stories, selecting stories, and with ethical rules and general publishing guidelines should be more transparently explained, especially since such transparency is becoming standard in more recent fact-checking initiatives around the world.

I recommend that the initiative is approved subject to edits, see comments below.

on 20-Aug-2018 (1 year ago)

Ester Appelgren 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.

Viralgranskaren
16-Mar-2018 (2 years ago) Updated: 1 year ago

Viralgranskaren is a project at the Swedish newspaper Metro (http://www.metro.se/) since 2014. Our first article (in Swedish) states the purpose to fact-check viral stories and rumours: http://www.metro.se/artikel/d%C3%A4rf%C3%B6r-startar-vi-viralgranskaren-xr

We posted an English version in May the same year: http://www.metro.se/artikel/the-viral-eye-let-us-check-before-you-share-xr

We're a recognized fact-checking initiative in Sweden and have been covered in many news outlets over the years, especially in connection with winning The Grand Prize of Journalism in Sweden, in the category of innovation (here in Swedish public radio): http://sverigesradio.se/sida/artikel.aspx?programid=2054&artikel=6024257 and we're on Wikipedia: https://sv.wikipedia.org/wiki/Viralgranskaren

The newspaper Metro is well known and have papers in several countries. Some like the UK Metro is not connected to Metro International: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Metro_International

Ester Appelgren Assessor
16-Mar-2018 (2 years ago) Updated: 1 year ago

Viralgranskaren fulfils this requirement.


done_all 1a marked as Fully compliant by Ester Appelgren.

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.

Viralgranskaren
16-Mar-2018 (2 years ago) Updated: 1 year ago

All the fact checks are published on www.metro.se/viralgranskaren where also other articles about fact-checking, how to:s and videos about fact-checking, are published.

Most of our fact-checks are built on tips from our readers. The processes usually starts with a tip from a reader that has seen something that they think is questionable. The next step is checking the facts and trying to figure out how spread the information is in Sweden. Usually we only write an article if the piece has gotten a lot of views in Sweden. If it’s not spread in Sweden we reply to the tipster via email and tell them what we know and don't know about the article.

Ester Appelgren Assessor
16-Mar-2018 (2 years ago) Updated: 1 year ago

Viralgranskaren fulfils this requirement.


done_all 1b marked as Fully compliant by Ester Appelgren.

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.

Viralgranskaren
16-Mar-2018 (2 years ago) Updated: 1 year ago

Viralgranskaren is a section of Metro and as such we follow the ethical system for all journalistic work in Sweden, I found them translated to English here: http://www.columbia.edu/itc/journalism/j6075/edit/ethiccodes/SWEDEN.html

These rules form journalistic standards which also apply to our fact-checking work, letting people comment, providing all relevant information etc. We are very careful with individuals not used to public scrutiny or attention, but when we have to rely on anonymous sources we explain the situation to our readers.

Sometimes we rewrite international stories by other fact-checkers but we take the story further, getting independent verification and more detailed witness accounts.

Our focus is to fact-check claims spread by people online, not specifically politicians, but when they spread false claims we make no distinction and point out that it's a question of not fooling your followers (and politicians usually have a fair few). We've done fact-checks on both the left and the right as can be seen below. The online position we take with our reporting is that people should check things out before they share it online.

To be coherent in our fact-checks we strive to always share all the information that we have found regarding any particular fact-check. We also follow the requirements mentioned in question 1b about the claims being well spread in Sweden, otherwise we do not write an article – instead we reply to the tipster via email or message.

1: https://www.metro.se/artikel/falska-p%C3%A5st%C3%A5enden-om-skolskjutningen-i-florida-som-du-inte-ska-dela-vidare

2: https://www.metro.se/artikel/nej-facebook-visar-inte-bara-inl%C3%A4gg-fr%C3%A5n-25-av-dina-v%C3%A4nner

3: https://www.metro.se/artikel/nej-det-finns-inga-bel%C3%A4gg-f%C3%B6r-att-hemtj%C3%A4nsten-i-trollh%C3%A4ttan-v%C3%A4grade-k%C3%B6pa-grisk%C3%B6tt

4: https://www.metro.se/artikel/nej-den-h%C3%A4r-videon-utspelar-sig-inte-i-rinkeby-p%C3%A5-ny%C3%A5rsafton

5: https://www.metro.se/artikel/nej-din-facebook-kommer-inte-hackas-f%C3%B6r-att-du-accepterar-en-v%C3%A4nf%C3%B6rfr%C3%A5gan

6: https://www.metro.se/artikel/viral-bild-p%C3%A5-pensionsprognosen-visar-inte-hela-bilden

7: https://www.metro.se/artikel/nej-pocket-shop-har-inte-slutat-s%C3%A4lja-katerina-janouchs-b%C3%B6cker

8: https://www.metro.se/artikel/nej-den-h%C3%A4r-webbsidan-avsl%C3%B6jar-inte-hur-m%C3%A5nga-som-bes%C3%B6kt-din-facebookprofil

9: https://www.metro.se/artikel/inga-bel%C3%A4gg-f%C3%B6r-att-g%C3%B6teborgs-kyrkor-exkluderar-svenskar-n%C3%A4r-de-h%C3%A5ller-%C3%B6ppet-f%C3%B6r-heml%C3%B6sa

10: https://www.metro.se/artikel/falsk-artikel-sprids-i-svenskars-facebook-fl%C3%B6de-tar-dig-till-grupp-av-anonyma-n%C3%A4tbutiker

Ester Appelgren Assessor
16-Mar-2018 (2 years ago) Updated: 1 year ago

The subjects in the articles are varied, but during the past three months there is a slight dominance of Facebook-related topics. This is however due to that Viralgranskaren selects topics depending on the most popular items shared on social networks in Sweden, and Facebook has been in the spotlight recently. 


done_all 2a marked as Fully compliant by Ester Appelgren.

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.

Viralgranskaren
16-Mar-2018 (2 years ago) Updated: 1 year ago

As a Swedish newspaper we follow the code of conduct for journalists in Sweden, in English here: http://www.columbia.edu/itc/journalism/j6075/edit/ethiccodes/SWEDEN.html

The text in the english translation is a bit shortened, the points about journalistic integrity are more elaborate in original form: it says don't accept anything that might put your position as a free and independent journalist in question or give in to outside pressure whether to publish something (full text below):

2. Acceptera inte uppdrag, inbjudan, gåva, gratisresa eller annan förmån – och ingå inte avtal eller andra förbindelser – som kan misstänkliggöra din ställning som fri och självständig journalist.

3. Ge inte efter för påtryckningar från utomstående i avsikt att hindra eller inskränka berättigad publicitet eller i avsikt att skapa publicitet som inte är journalistiskt motiverad.

Sweden is well known to have a free and working press, with two out of four parts of the constitution dealing with freedom of expression. You can read more about it here: https://freedomhouse.org/report/freedom-press/2016/sweden

Ester Appelgren Assessor
16-Mar-2018 (2 years ago) Updated: 1 year ago

On the few occasions when politicians are part of the published stories, no candidates seems to be supported, and no policy positions seems to be taken. There is no link to policies that explain how Viralgranskaren prevents staff from direct involvement in political parties or advocacy organizations on the website. This is however justified in the application.

Recommendation: For example in an about section, provide information on Viralgranskaren’s policy on preventing their staff from direct involvement in political parties and advocacy organizations.


done 2b marked as Partially compliant by Ester Appelgren.

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.

Viralgranskaren
16-Mar-2018 (2 years ago) Updated: 1 year ago

When doing a fact check we tell our readers what we know for sure, what we don't know and if there is anything that we can’t prove we tell them why we can’t prove it. Providing sources, using blue links, is something we do through all the fact checks.

Our readers know our format well. We present the claim and include how widespread it is, where it's been posted, how people have reacted to it. Then we present the ways we've checked the story, including image search, sources and asking experts or witnesses. We use links a lot and also write articles and guides on how people can fact-check things themselves, for example here: http://www.metro.se/artikel/guide-s%C3%A5-viralgranskar-du-bilder-fyra-enkla-steg-xr

Ester Appelgren Assessor
16-Mar-2018 (2 years ago) Updated: 1 year ago

There is a page dedicated to sources with detailed links, but this page is not easily found.

Recommendation: Why not make the article provided as a link in the application, headline 4b accessible as a separate webpage for example linked to in an “about Viralgranskaren” section. Another option would be to link to evidence when they are available as digital sources, more frequently within stories.


done 3a marked as Partially compliant by Ester Appelgren.

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.

Viralgranskaren
16-Mar-2018 (2 years ago) Updated: 1 year ago

Viralgranskaren is a part of Metro Media House, a national swedish newspaper and media house. Owned by the Custos Group.

Ester Appelgren Assessor
16-Mar-2018 (2 years ago) Updated: 1 year ago

Viralgranskaren fulfils this requirement.


done_all 4a marked as Fully compliant by Ester Appelgren.

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.

Viralgranskaren
16-Mar-2018 (2 years ago) Updated: 1 year ago

Here is some short information about the people currently working with Viralgranskaren: https://www.metro.se/artikel/om-viralgranskaren

Ester Appelgren Assessor
16-Mar-2018 (2 years ago) Updated: 1 year ago

The site is embedded within the metro.se site. Active authors are listed on a specific page and contact details are provided, but this page is very difficult to come across unless you have the link to it.

Recommendation: The article provided in the application, section 4b, is useful here in order to be able to meet the criteria. It could be used to present the journalists working at Viralgranskaren to the audience in a more accessible manner, but bios should also be included.


done 4b marked as Partially compliant by Ester Appelgren.

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

Viralgranskaren
16-Mar-2018 (2 years ago) Updated: 1 year ago

Most readers contact us on our facebook page https://www.facebook.com/viralgranskaren/ but they can also find information on how to contact us on https://www.metro.se/artikel/om-viralgranskaren .

Ester Appelgren Assessor
16-Mar-2018 (2 years ago) Updated: 1 year ago

Viralgranskaren fulfils this requirement.


done_all 4c marked as Fully compliant by Ester Appelgren.

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.

Viralgranskaren
16-Mar-2018 (2 years ago) Updated: 1 year ago

We do not have a page that explains our methodology but we are always transparent in our fact checks and explain how they are done in the articles. The format of the articles are well-known to our readers and we explain what we have done in the texts. We also try to teach ways that the general public can fact-check themselves, for example in this basic step-by-step guide: http://www.metro.se/artikel/s%C3%A5-h%C3%A4r-g%C3%B6r-du-en-egen-viralgranskning-steg-f%C3%B6r-steg-xr . We also adhere to the journalistic rules here in Sweden, linked above.

Ester Appelgren Assessor
16-Mar-2018 (2 years ago) Updated: 1 year ago

Viralgranskaren does not explain the methodology in an accessible place. However, readers can sometimes understand how journalists fact-check a certain story because it happens to be explained in the text.

Recommendation: The audience should be able to learn more about the methodology used, in order to understand what a fact-checking initiative is compared to other types of journalistic articles found on metro.se. Therefore, in for example an about section or under a different headline, a short description on how facts are checked, the selection process of what stories that are included in Viralgranskaren.


done 5a marked as Partially compliant by Ester Appelgren.

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.

Viralgranskaren
16-Mar-2018 (2 years ago) Updated: 1 year ago

Readers submit claims either via messaging us on the Facebookpage https://www.facebook.com/viralgranskaren/ , via mail to viralgranskaren@metro.se or by calling the newsroom.

Ester Appelgren Assessor
16-Mar-2018 (2 years ago) Updated: 1 year ago

Contact details are provided below each article as icons to Twitter, Facebook or e-mail, but no specific explanation is given in close proximity to the articles, in terms of that readers themselves can send in claims to fact-check. The process is however well described in the application. The possibility for the audience to send in stories they want fact-checked to the staff should be provided.


done 5b marked as Partially compliant by Ester Appelgren.

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.

Viralgranskaren
16-Mar-2018 (2 years ago) Updated: 1 year ago

We follow the swedish guidelines for publishers which can be found in swedish here: https://www.sjf.se/yrkesfragor/yrkesetik/spelregler-for-press-radio-och-tv/publicitetsregler

Ester Appelgren Assessor
16-Mar-2018 (2 years ago) Updated: 1 year ago

There is no accessible link to a public corrections policy, but in the application Viralgranskaren refers to that they follow the Swedish guidelines for publishers. These guidelines are however not generally familiar to the average Swede, even if one would wish that people were aware of that such guidelines exists.


cancel 6a marked as Non compliant by Ester Appelgren.

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

Viralgranskaren
16-Mar-2018 (2 years ago) Updated: 1 year ago

In this article, https://www.metro.se/artikel/nej-pocket-shop-har-inte-slutat-s%C3%A4lja-katerina-janouchs-b%C3%B6cker , we had to make a correction. At first we told our readers that you could buy the books at the company's website, which was something that the Swedish newsagency TT reported. When we noticed this was not true we made a correction. We do not have handbook for corrections but when we are wrong we always make corrections in a way that is clear to the readers.

Another example is this article: https://www.metro.se/artikel/hon-anklagades-f%C3%B6r-f%C3%B6rkl%C3%A4dd-aktivism-h%C3%A4r-%C3%A4r-granskningen-av-sas-kuppen .

Ester Appelgren Assessor
16-Mar-2018 (2 years ago) Updated: 1 year ago

It cannot be expected that the general audience members are aware of that there are Swedish guidelines for publishers, or what these are about. A link to these guidelines could solve the problem, but it would be even better if Viralgranskaren briefly explained their corrections policy.


cancel 6b marked as Non compliant by Ester Appelgren.