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Abode2 Fact Checking Policy

A designated writer and editor will be appointed by Abode2 to each fact check at the beginning of the editorial/features writing process. The editor/features editor is responsible for pre-approving the content to be fact checked.

PART ONE

When examining content to be checked, the following criteria is to be adhered to:

  • Deceptive dramatisation: accurate words combined with misleading images.
  • Distraction: strong visuals can be a method of encouraging readers to uncritically absorb inappropriate/misleading information.
  • Guilt by association
  • Hearsay
  • Insinuation/innuendo
  • Misappropriating news stories: extracting only positive words from critical commentary/opinion.
  • Misplaced referent: overuse of “we” “you” and “they” which can be used to take opponents’ words out of context.
  • Out of context: inappropriate examples and references.
  • Visual vilification: use of unattractive or photoshopped images to make competitors’ offering seem unappealing.
  • Deception by omission: what is not being said?
  • Biased sources: while information from the source may appear correct, what about the source itself? Is it partisan, biased, projecting its own ideology?
  • Cherry-picking data: selective use of data to make a personality/opinion appear favourable versus an opposing personality.
  • Invented/inflammatory words or phrases: labels that are crafted to influence opinion and mislead readers.
  • Outdated evidence: use of old data or statistics that are now irrelevant or no longer true.
  • Absolutes and superlatives: use of descriptors such as “worst,” “best,” “highest,” “lowest” should be considered red-flag words.

PART TWO

When a statement has been identified, it is the responsibility of the appointed fact checker to contact the person or party responsible for making the statement. The following checklist should be adhered to as part of this approach:

  • Contact the person responsible for making the statement via e-mail. If no reply is forthcoming, action a follow up call, and if necessary (and possible), a face-to-face meeting. Advise the party that there is a fact check process underway and request a precise original source for their statement. Even if questions are not ready, the source in question should be made aware that Abode2 is undertaking a fact check. This approach must include a request for the precise source of their statement.
  • Obtain supporting facts and expert sources. Sources to use include archives, Google search, online, books, and specialist databases, in addition to social media platforms – opinion sharing/group discussions, tweets/Facebook posts that illustrate the fact check. As good, clean, useful data is found, this should be saved and uploaded in the final Fact Checking Report.

Contact appropriate sector/industry experts – for, against and neutral -- use the above list compiled as context.

Interview the subject (if applicable) to address the facts gathered. Questions to include:

How did you verify this statement before you used it?

When was the data gathered?

If the statement is from a poll or survey, was the respondent pool large enough and diverse enough?

Were the results presented truthfully, or cherry-picked to suit an ideology?

*All research/source content above should be shared with editor/journalist as necessary.

PART THREE

Using collected sources, corroborate the evidence/verification. Verification tools where necessary, should be used including photos, videos.

Gather all interviews and research. Identify a label for the fact check based on one of the following:

Correct; Misleading -- correct, but with a particularly remarkable lack of context; Incorrect; Opinion/Not Provable

Edit and Review

After the fact check goes through the normal editing process, it will be sent to an editor/feature writer who has not been involved in the process for a final review. This final review will use standardised questions for each fact check and will focus on how Abode2 readers might perceive and assess it.

Abode2 Summary Fact Check Guidelines

  • Has the wording of the statement, being checked, been included word for word?
  • Is there a clear explanation as to why this statement was selected for checking?
  • Is there a clear explanation of the category of deception?
  • Have all sources been identified for every fact used?
  • Are there at least two independent, qualified sources to refute or support the statement checked?
  • Are there links included to sources, and to the statement being checked?

Abode2 Summary Guidelines for Reviewing and Editing Fact Check

  • The editor assigned to the fact check must first thoroughly edit the fact check, working with the writer/journalist to clarify any questions or inconsistencies.
  • The fact check must be edited and approved by a fact-check reviewer who will serve as a typical reader’s eyes and ears. This party must not be involved in the original production of the fact check and must come from the following group based on availability: freelance columnist, editor, proof-reader, sector specific journalist.
  • The additional fact-checker must first ensure that all criteria from the writing checklist has been met and adheres to the following:

Is the claim open to interpretation? Is there another way to read the claim?

Is the rating fair and consistent with our other fact checks?

Is the rating supported by all available facts? Do questions linger?

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