Debunk Fact-Checking Criteria
The criteria compiled here are only designed for an analysis of the claim/statement choosing and checking process. They also aid in rating the claim as True or False or misleading or partially correct Incorrect Satire or Checked among other verdicts based on the evidence provided. Below are the criteria we use to evaluate fact-checks made by Debunk Media:
Debunk Media Initiative fact-checks claims/ statements falling under the following categories: Health and Human Rights.
Health claims contain information which has an impact on people’s physical, mental and social well-being. It is not based on the current scientific evidence.
Human rights claims contain information which has an impact on the basic rights and freedoms that belong to every person in the world such claims include information threatening peace, life, and democracy among others and therefore need to be fact-checked.
Climate Change claims as well deter communities, countries or individuals from taking a step towards Climate Action which in turn increases the damage and risk of destroying the environment. We fact-check;
- One claim per Fact Check
The claims containing multiple propositions should be divided into separate fact-checks, each containing exactly one claim. That is, different propositions should not be compounded under one single truth rating.
- Claims are checked in their immediate context
The context matters in fact-checking, but the right context for the claim is not the surrounding of the speaker but the reality represented by the claim at hand. Therefore, fact checkers’ ratings are objective and based on evidence, not subjective notions.
- Fact-checks are based on evidence
This means that there must be evidence on which the fact-check is based; fact-checkers should not rate the claims off the top of their heads. Therefore the Fact checker must disclose their sources, methodology and definitions of possible truth-value categories.
- Each claim is checked using the same criteria
- Fact-checks are not concentrated on any one particular side (e.g., party)
- The fact-checker does not advocate for policy positions
The following sentence types are considered uncheckable:
- Claims about the future and Goal setting; These claims cannot be fact-checked, since there is no way to know the future beforehand. Even though good predictions may exist, one still cannot say now whether something is true in the future.
- Unclear or vague claims and Claims about non-existent things (e.g., “Artists are childish”) Even though information about their existence can be offered, it might be wise for fact-checkers to reformulate these statements only to refer to the actuality of such things otherwise, they might create an impression that such non-existent things exist.
- Claims containing aesthetic, moral or ethical values
- Claims concerning the supernatural or matters of faith and claims referring to personal experience can neither be checked since there is no reliable way to verify these.
- Claims referring to personal experiences
- Interrogative sentences
- Non-declarative exclamatory sentences
- Imperative sentences are not checkable unless some proposition is deducible from them.
The team Lead at Debunk Media Initiative ensures the growth and direction of the Editorial Desk with an interest in steering the team towards our vision of ensuring a world where people access factual information in real-time. He/She advises on information and work published by the organisation.
He/She overlooks and edits text fact-checks, reviews audio fact-checking scripts before they are published and works with fact-checkers and researchers to respond to the queries on the Debunk Bot. The Managing Editor is up to speed with work and content being published by the team for quality assurance. They also ensure the graphics are in the organisational or appropriate colours when publishing. He/She is also in charge of social media and website management at the organisation.
The Associate Editor oversees video content production and manages the fact-checkers to ensure research is accurate, stories are balanced and valid, and sources are objective. The Associate Editor assists the Managing Editor and can perform his/her roles as well.
He/She is in charge of cutting sound recorded by the fact-checker and ensuring it has good quality, relevant information and any other content that might be required to meet the audio fact-checking standard.
The Bot Manager oversees the effective operation of the Debunk Fact Checking Bot and works with fact-checkers and the Managing Editor to respond to queries or claims from people using the bot for fact-checking. They are responsible for getting feedback as researched by fact-checkers to the specific individual that asked the bot for clarity on a certain claim. He/She is also intentional about growing the number of people that access and use the bot for fact-checking and research purposes.
He/She oversees video production from assisting with research, scripting, and sourcing to shooting and production. They are responsible for the quality of video content that gets to be edited and later published on the different social platforms used by Debunk Media Initiative.
The Fact Checker is responsible for identifying a claim that is fact checkable by monitoring the media. They go ahead to contact the original source of the claim to ascertain whether they published the said content for background checks. He/She uses the tools necessary as trained in order for them to establish the facts. They use available research, contacted experts and data to inform their text, audio or video script that is viewed/approved by the Managing Editor or Associate Editor.
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