Method for the verification of public discourse
Chequeado selects statements from politicians, economists, businesspeople, union leaders, journalists, public figures, media outlets and other opinion-shaping institutions without discriminating based on their political or ideological orientation.
Once a statement is selected, the original source of the data used is consulted by reaching out to the person who made the statement. If direct access to the original source is possible, other sources are consulted to verify its validity and explain its relevance and impact. If direct access is not possible, alternative avenues are used for fact-checking, such as documents (reports, analyses, or public and private statistics) and interviews with experts. If the person making the statement has a known political affiliation, it is mentioned.
After verifying the data, relevant context is provided to aid understanding. Context refers particularly to the local socio-economic, historical and cultural framework; and, whenever possible, the regional and international context. The goal is to ensure that the fact-checking process goes beyond a purely literal comparison.
To conduct a thorough fact-check, we follow eight steps:
- Select a statement from the public domain.
- Assess its relevance.
- Consult the original source.
- Consult official sources.
5. Consult alternative sources.
6. Place the statement in context.
7. Confirm, qualify or refute the statement.
8. Assign a rating.
Assigning a rating to a statement is not always a straightforward intellectual process, as there may be cases where multiple ratings could apply. Ultimately, the decision is made based on the aspect that needs to be emphasized. The following rating system is used for fact-checking statements made by leaders:
This rating is exclusively used for defined bodies of text, such as a campaign spot or a brochure. The analyzed statements are not based on facts or data and cannot be verified.
The statement has been proven to be true when compared against the most serious and reliable sources and data.
The statement is consistent with the available data, but omits some element of the topic or its context.
It is not clear whether the statement is true or false. The conclusion depends on the variables used for analysis.
The statement could be true, but is based on projections rather than objective data about reality.
The statement is not strictly true, but the concept or trend it refers to is accurate.
The statement may partially coincide with certain data, but has been intentionally or unintentionally manipulated to convey a particular message.
The statement arises from research with a lack of support or serious methodological errors or is impossible to fact-check.
The statement has been proven to be false when compared against the most serious and reliable sources and data.
Chequeado does not fact-check statements of a religious nature, personal statements, strictly sports-related matters, entertainment-related issues, or corruption allegations that are being processed in the judiciary and have not yet concluded.
Chequeado strives for maximum rigor and accuracy, but as it is known, nobody is perfect. Therefore, it is committed to rectifying any inaccurate information it may have disseminated. Please refer to our policy on updates and corrections.
We appreciate the feedback on our method from: Martín Becerra, Ingrid Bekinschtein, Robert Cox, Marcelo Leiras, Fabián Repetto, and Luis Alberto Quevedo.
Method against viral disinformation
Chequeado selects articles, audios, images and videos from social media platforms it monitors, such as Facebook and Twitter; from private messaging platforms it monitors and from where it receives material to fact-check, such as WhatsApp; and from its own channels, such as the Chequeo Colectivo fact-checking platform and the Readers’ Mailbox ([email protected]). The channel from which the verified misinformation originated is always mentioned in the text.
The following rating system is used for fact-checking viral misinformation:
The entire shared content has been proven to be false when contrasted with the actors involved and the most serious and reliable sources and data.
Some of the shared content may coincide with certain true data but has been manipulated, intentionally or unintentionally, to convey a particular message.
The entire shared content has been proven to be true when contrasted with the actors involved and the most serious and reliable sources and data.
The statement arises from research with a lack of support or serious methodological errors, or that is impossible to fact-check.
Fact-checking focuses on factual content that can be contrasted. Promises, comments and/or opinions are not subject to fact-checking, nor are leaked statements made in a private setting. The selection of material to fact-check is done without discrimination based on political, ideological, sexual or ethnic orientation.
The selection of material to verify is based on three criteria: the circulation/virality of the content on social media or other platforms (reach and/or repetition on different platforms), the relevance of the mentioned topic, and/or the severity of the consequences of misinformation on the public (e.g., misinformation that could impact health).
Once the content to fact-check is selected, whenever possible, the original source is consulted to determine its origin and the basis of the primary data. In the case of websites that identify a content creator and provide contact information (phone and/or email), those channels are used for consultation. This step is also followed for information, images and videos that are published directly on social media (not included in a link) and quote their origin.
Additionally, if identifiable, the actors involved/affected by the disinformation are consulted (who, in certain cases, agree to speak, while in others, prefer not to), as well as other sources that can corroborate the validity of the content to be verified.
As with the public discourse verification method, the relevant official source (governmental sources at the national, provincial and local levels responsible for the subject under analysis) is consulted. Whether a response is obtained or not, the fact-check can also rely on alternative sources, such as documents (reports, analyses, or statistical compilations) and interviews with specialists.
If the content to be verified is an image or video, available technological tools can be used to determine authorship, publication date and time, and the location where the content was generated.
If a media outlet has published false information and later rectified or removed it, this is explicitly mentioned in the disinformation verification. If this occurs after the fact-check is published, it is noted in the article with an update. This practice is recommended for correcting information.
The sources used are quoted, and whenever possible, the original document and data are included to ensure accessibility for everyone.
When the verified information is false, Chequeado clarifies it in the headline so that readers know the correct data from the outset, and the main aspects of the topic are explained in the first paragraph. In the case of false photos, they are only reproduced with clear markings indicating their falsehood (such as a watermark) and never linked to the sites that originated the disinformation in order to avoid contributing to its circulation.
We appreciate the feedback on the method from: Alexios Mantzarlis (IFCN), Claire Wardle (First Draft), Clara Jiménez Cruz (Maldita.es), Cristina Tardáguila (Lupa), Phoebe Arnold (First Draft), and Sérgio Lüdtke (First Draft).
Chequeado is one of the certified organizations by the International Fact-Checking Network (IFCN) of the Poynter Institute. Our organization undergoes an annual assessment conducted by an independent academic or expert hired by the IFCN to analyze whether the five principles of the Code are being upheld. The expert provides a recommendation to certify us or not, and in the case of Chequeado the recommendation has always been positive (in 2017, 2018, and 2019). The IFCN Board approves the certification. Below, we present the Code of Principles to which we are committed, so that everyone can monitor our compliance and fact-check Chequeado.Ver más
Commitment to impartiality and fairness
We always verify using the same standards, without leaning towards any particular side. We follow the same process for each fact-check and let the evidence determine our conclusions. We do not defend or take sides on the facts we fact-check.Ver más
Commitment to transparency of our sources
We want our community to be able to verify our findings on their own. We provide all sources in a detailed manner so that the community can replicate our work, except in cases where the personal safety of a particular source may be compromised.Ver más
Commitment to transparency of our funding and organization
We are transparent about our funding sources. If we accept funds from other organizations, we ensure that they do not influence the conclusions we reach in our reports. We provide detailed professional backgrounds of all organizational figures.Ver más
Commitment to transparency of our methodology
We explain the methodology we use for selecting, investigating, writing, editing, publishing and correcting our fact-checks. We encourage our readers to submit statements for fact-checking, and we are transparent about the reasons and methods by which we fact-check.Ver más
Commitment to open and honest corrections
We publish our corrections policy and strictly adhere to it. We correct in a clear and transparent manner according to our policy, to ensure that our community has access to the corrected version.Ver más
Chequeado is one of the certified organizations by the International Fact-Checking Network (IFCN) of the Poynter Institute. The organization undergoes an annual evaluation conducted by an independent academic or expert hired by the IFCN to analyze compliance with the five principles of the Code.
To ensure our sustainability and independence, we have a diversified funding strategy that involves a balance between various sources of financing:Ver más
The Fundación La Voz Pública para la Verificación del Discurso Público (in english, The Public Voice for Public Discourse Verification Foundation) / Chequeado is a non-governmental, non-partisan and non-profit organization, established in 2011 and authorized to operate as such by Resolution No. 1392 of the General Inspection of Justice.
You can download our Bylaws here.