The code and the platforms
Facebook has been seeking partnerships with signatories of the IFCN code of principles. Being a signatory is a necessary, but not sufficient condition to have access to that social platform's fact-checking tool.
Also, Google highlights in its search engine fact checks produced by signatories of the code. The technological platforms now work along with signatories in half a dozen countries to fight misinformation and to point the public to content sound enough to be trusted.
Back in 2016, in the months before the US presidential election fact-checkers from around the world began to discuss the need to adopt a code of principles. It was during the third global fact-checking summit, held in Buenos Aires on November 2016, that a dialogue in that sense emerged for the first time. The objective was to come with a set of guidelines that could help distinguish reliable fact-checking at a time when political campaigns and partisan groups tried to claim the term.
On November 12, 2016, Facebook's founder Mark Zuckerberg, wrote in a post that it was "extremely unlikely hoaxes changed the outcome" of the election "in one direction or the other". 20 fact-checkers from around the world responded with an open letter suggesting Zuckerberg to start a conversation that could “underpin a more accurate news ecosystem on its news feed”. Soon after Zuckerberg’s letter, the technological companies launched their own efforts and projects to fight misinformation, and a year after that exchange, representatives from the main social media platforms were testifying in the American Senate after the possibility that viral misinformation had an actual influence in the presidential election.
Well before the election, the letter and the hearings, when viral hoaxes, propaganda, disinformation, satire, etc. had not become part of our everyday conversation, fact-checkers were discussing about setting transparency guidelines that were globally applicable. Although the IFCN acknowledges that the code of principles is a work in progress, we are glad that, towards the technology companies, our code is strong enough to be considered as a seal of quality to sort out reliable organizations working in the complex task of identifying what it is true.