About AAP FactCheck

AAP FactCheck’s commitment to the truth is demonstrated by our evidence-based conclusions, developed after careful consideration of multiple verifiable sources and thorough cross-checking.

This work is subject to a strenuous, multi-layered editing process, where the journalist, and the logic they have applied, are both challenged. We do not editorialise nor impose value judgments on the subject matter, and we actively avoid undue focus on one issue, one side of an argument, or one source.

AAP FactCheck staff are university-educated journalists with industry experience and specialised training in fact checking. They work within a framework approved by the AAP Standards committee, that is compliant with AAP’s broader editorial standards and equal to industry best practice. We meet the highest international standards and are accredited with the Poynter Institute’s International Fact-Checking Network.

METHODOLOGY



Claim selection

News Media Claims

AAP FactCheck examines the veracity of news media statements presented as fact by political and public figures. The statements must be quoted in the Australian news media, and include checkable claims as opposed to opinion and commentary.

AAP FactCheck aims to complete its assessment of the statement quickly to ensure the outcomes remain as relevant as possible. While our focus is on domestic politics, we have no political affiliation or agenda. We seek only to reveal the facts.

We encourage members of the media and the public to reach out to us with suggestions for content to check. AAP FactCheck staff also closely monitor the national media to identify quoted statements with a shaky factual basis, and we receive referrals via the extended editorial network of AAP.

When selecting a submission for verification, AAP FactCheck looks for the following things:

  1. That the checkable claim is contained in a direct quote from a public figure or otherwise influential individual.
  2. That the quoted statement contains clearly verifiable elements. AAP FactCheck cannot assess personal opinion or editorial comment.
  3. That the quoted statement was made, or reported in Australian news media, recently.
  4. That the quoted statement is relevant to a broad audience.

In addition:

  1. AAP FactCheck will give priority to submissions containing statements of a socio-political nature.
  2. AAP FactCheck does not assess, nor offer judgement of, reportage. We exist to minimise misinformation which serves the news media and the general public.
  3. AAP FactCheck’s internal selection process tracks submissions in numerous ways for the purpose of maintaining our bias-free position.

The final decision on what submissions are accepted rests with the AAP FactCheck editor, who may also weigh the current workload against our response-time benchmarks.

If you would like to suggest a submission for review, please Contact Us.

Social Media Claims

AAP FactCheck also verifies select social media content.

As an authorised third-party factchecker for Facebook, AAP retains full editorial independence and control over the content with which we engage.

Facebook algorithms identify text, video and images as being potentially false, misleading or otherwise suspicious and then refer that content to their factchecking partners.

AAP FactCheck checks the veracity of a subset of this flagged content after considering what is most relevant in our market, or likely to have the greatest impact in our market.

We apply the uncompromised journalistic principles of Australian Associated Press, and AAP FactCheck is always driven by the facts.

AAP FactCheck delivers evidence-based verdicts on the social media content we check. These verdicts are used to inform efforts to minimise the spread of false news and misinformation.

Just the facts

AAP FactCheck’s commitment to the truth is demonstrated by our evidence-based conclusions, developed after careful consideration of multiple sources and thorough cross-checking.

This work is subject to a strenuous, multi-layered editing process, where the journalist, and the logic they have applied, are both challenged. We do not editorialise nor impose value judgments on the subject matter, and we actively avoid undue focus on one issue, one side of an argument, or one source.

AAP FactCheck staff are university-educated journalists with industry experience and specialised training in fact checking. They work within a framework approved by the AAP Standards committee, that is compliant with AAP’s broader editorial standards and equal to industry best practice. We meet the highest international standards and are accredited with the Poynter Institute’s International Fact-Checking Network.



Research procedures

Newly selected submissions are discussed at the daily AAP FactCheck conference. The team identifies the verifiable elements of each contested claim and workshops the most relevant, trusted sources to draw on. The editor then assigns each submission to a dedicated journalist.

The AAP FactCheck journalist then begins the work of verifying the facts. This may include contacting experts with varying views on the matter, non-partisan government agencies, academics, think tanks, reputable charities or other well-respected non-government organisations with relevant, specific and recognised expertise in the subject area. The journalist may also turn to reliable secondary source material, such as government reports and court documents, and must always consider contacting the person who made the statement to ask for their supporting evidence, and request comment.

Once there is enough evidence to establish the statement’s truth, or otherwise, a draft is written.



Sources

AAP FactCheck draws on a variety of reliable sources to verify the checkable claims. In every case, the chain of evidence supporting AAP FactCheck verdicts will be clearly noted and published within the copy itself, so that any reader may test its validity. We have a minimum standard requiring the use of at least two different sources per article.

AAP FactCheck welcomes scrutiny of our work. If you would like to provide feedback about our work, please contact us.

Copied below is one AAP policy that guides our choices when it comes to sources. The full AAP Code of Practice can be found here.

1. Accuracy

1.1. AAP has a valued reputation as “the reliable source”. All information, comment and opinion reported on our wires must be authoritatively sourced.

1.2. Sources must be identified by name unless there are compelling reasons for not doing so. Always query a source’s motives when they request anonymity.

1.3. The vague attribution “sources say” is generally not acceptable, unless it is the only way to protect a vital source in a matter of public interest.

1.4. While photographic images can be enhanced to improve resolution, an image must not be altered in such a way that it misrepresents the subject matter.



Writing and editing

After thorough research, AAP FactCheck journalists write a concise, annotated draft based on the research, expert opinion and data. It is then reviewed by the AAP FactCheck Editor who ensures the reference material has been correctly interpreted and used, challenges the assertions made and ensures the piece meets all AAP FactCheck standards.

The copy is refined as necessary before the AAP FactCheck team discusses and applies the appropriate verdict. The AAP FactCheck Editor has final discretion on the verdict. The copy is then copy-edited (for grammar, spelling, structure and logic) before being published.



Publishing

Content created by AAP FactCheck is published on the aap.com.au website, as well as the AAP FactCheck website, as soon as possible after it is completed.



Verdicts

AAP FactCheck applies one of seven possible verdicts to each fact-checked submission from the news media.

The verdict is designed to be a clear and simple conclusion that is supported by the detail of the article and reference material.

The verdicts are defined as:

  • True – The checkable claims are all true.
  • Mostly True – Mostly accurate, but there is a minor error or problem.
  • Somewhat True – Mostly accurate, but there is more than one error or problem.
  • Misleading – The claim is mostly true but somewhat misleading.
  • Ambiguous – It is not possible to determine the veracity of the statement, or it has an equal weighting of true and false elements.
  • Somewhat False – Mostly false, but there is more than one element of truth.
  • Mostly False – Mostly false with one minor element of truth.
  • False – The checkable claims are all false.

AAP FactCheck applies the following verdicts to fact-checked social media content:

  • False – The primary claim(s) of the content are factually inaccurate.  
  • Partly False – The claim(s) of the content are a mixture of accurate and inaccurate, or the primary claim is misleading or incomplete.   



Corrections

When it comes to corrections, AAP FactCheck shares the same principles as our long-established parent organisation, AAP.

Inaccuracies or suspected inaccuracies that affect the integrity of stories published by AAP FactCheck will be dealt with promptly. An initial response can be expected within one business day, but more usually within hours of a problem coming to our attention. When we acknowledge an inaccuracy, a correction will be urgently issued.

Challenges to accuracy or fairness in our articles will be referred to the AAP FactCheck Editor, who may also consult the AAP Editor or AAP Standards.

If there is serious doubt, particularly on legal grounds, AAP FactCheck will remove the story content from its website, leaving the story shell with a “correction pending” placeholder.

A corrected item will be published to the AAP FactCheck website with an Editor’s note outlining the reason for the correction (to the extent possible without repeating or compounding the issue).

AAP FactCheck is committed to maintaining the highest standards of accuracy, impartiality and fairness. If you believe we have failed to meet this standard at any time, and would like to request a correction, provide feedback or make a complaint, we ask that you contact us factcheck@aap.com.au.

If you are not satisfied by AAP FactCheck’s response, there are two further courses of action.

  1. You may contact AAP Standards, an independently-chaired committee that reviews complaints about AAP’s services – including AAP FactCheck – and the initial management of those complaints. Standards committee members meets monthly but will respond promptly to direct complaints. Standards can be reached via email: standards@aap.com.au.
  2. Our parent company AAP is a member of, and is bound by the Standards of Practice of, the Australian Press Council. If you believe AAP FactCheck may have breached the Standards of Practice, you may contact the independent council by email, info@presscouncil.org.au, or phone +61 2 9261 1930. For further information please visit www.presscouncil.org.au.



News Media Claims

AAP FactCheck examines the veracity of statements presented as fact by political and public figures. The statements must be quoted in the Australian news media, and include checkable claims as opposed to opinion and commentary.

On this site you can:

  • Browse recent claims and verdicts under the Claims section in the menu
  • Use the site search box to find a previous claim

Make a submission

If you see a contentious claim that has been directly quoted in the Australian media, AAP FactCheck can verify it for you. Please review our selection criteria before making a submission. All emails to FactCheck@aap.com.au must include:

  1. Your full name
  2. Preferred contact number
  3. Your company or employer (if relevant)

Please note that we do not accept anonymous requests.

For details of how we use your personal information, please see the AAP Privacy Policy at aap.io/legal.

If you are submitting a statement for checking, please answer all of the following:

  1. What statement would you like verified?
  2. Why do you believe this statement needs checking?
  3. Who made the statement?
  4. When was it made?
  5. Where did you see it published/broadcast?

Also attach a copy of the claim if possible, e.g., a hyperlink to an online article or video.



Social Media Claims

Our methodology

As an authorised third-party factchecker for Facebook, AAP FactCheck retains full editorial independence and control over the content we engage with.

Facebook algorithms identify text, video and images as potentially false, misleading or otherwise suspicious and refer that content to their factchecking partners.

AAP FactCheck checks the veracity of a subset of this flagged content after considering what is most relevant in our market, or likely to have the greatest impact in our market.

AAP FactCheck applies the uncompromised journalistic principles of Australian Associated Press in delivering evidence-based verdicts on Facebook content.

Facebook uses AAP FactCheck articles to inform its efforts to minimise the spread of false news and misinformation.

Just the facts

AAP FactCheck’s commitment to the truth is demonstrated by our evidence-based conclusions, developed after careful consideration of multiple verifiable sources and thorough cross-checking.

This work is subject to a strenuous, multi-layered editing process, where the journalist, and the logic they have applied, are both challenged.

We do not editorialise nor impose value judgments on the subject matter, and we actively avoid undue focus on one issue, one side of an argument, or one source.

AAP FactCheck staff are university-educated journalists with industry experience and specialised training in fact checking.

They work within a framework approved by the AAP Standards committee, that is compliant with AAP’s broader editorial standards and equal to industry best practice.

AAP FactCheck meets the highest international standards of factchecking, and is accredited with the Poynter Institute’s prestigious International Fact-Checking Network.



Make a submission

If you see a contentious claim that has been directly quoted in the Australian news media, please share it with AAP FactCheck.

Please review our selection criteria before making a submission. All emails to FactCheck@aap.com.au must include:

  1. Your full name
  2. Preferred contact number
  3. Your company or employer (if relevant)

PLEASE NOTE that we do not accept anonymous requests.

For details of how we use your personal information, please see the AAP Privacy Policy at aap.io/legal.

If you are submitting a statement for checking, please answer all of the following:

  1. What statement would you like verified?
  2. Why do you believe this statement needs checking?
  3. Who made the statement?
  4. When was it made?
  5. Where did you see it published/broadcast?

Also attach a copy of the claim if possible, e.g., a hyperlink to an online article or video.

You can also contact AAP FactCheck via email to:

  • highlight social media content for verification
  • provide feedback
  • make a complaint
  • request information
  • request a correction.


Provide Feedback

You can contact AAP FactCheck via email at FactCheck@aap.com.au to:

  • provide feedback
  • make a complaint
  • request information
  • request a correction.

You can also submit a claim for fact-checking, please be sure to read the requirements before emailing.



About FactCheck

From the Editor-in-Chief

Getting the facts right is a core tenet of AAP’s journalistic practices. It is the foundation of the trust AAP has established during eight decades of providing news and information to Australia’s media.

AAP FactCheck embodies our commitment to accuracy, transparency and public accountability.

By forensically analysing the veracity of statements made by public figures, AAP FactCheck provides – in the public interest – full disclosure of the truth.

Tony Gillies, Editor-in-Chief, AAP



Neutrality statement

AAP has always been at the forefront of delivering impartial, independent and accurate news to Australia’s leading media outlets and beyond. It is one of only a handful of news agencies worldwide not funded or influenced by its government.

AAP FactCheck was built on this foundation, and the articles we produce are driven only by the available evidence. In following the facts, we adhere to the AAP policies that protect and enhance our neutrality.

AAP FactCheck takes AAP’s Neutrality Policy a step further, requiring that staff never support one political candidate, issue or party over another. AAP FactCheck content must be based on the facts alone. We scrupulously avoid commentary, opinion and political bias.

The AAP policy on Impartiality and Fairness is copied below, and AAP’s full Code of Practice can be found here.

2. Impartiality and fairness

2.1. AAP does not promote particular views or commercial interests, either through undue emphasis or by suppressing relevant material.

2.2. In reporting views on controversial matters, always seek to include a fair balance of other views. Any comment or conjecture by the journalist writing the story should be identifiable as such.

2.3. AAP journalists have latitude to express their own views more freely only when, in the opinion of the Editor in Chief or Editor, they have special knowledge or expertise or sufficient reputation. Such pieces should be labelled as View, Comment or Analysis.

2.4. Individuals or groups singled out for criticism should be given a right of reply, in the original story whenever possible.

2.5. Emotive or contentious adjectives should be avoided unless they are being quoted.



Code of Practice

AAP has formulated a Code of Practice for journalists bringing together various industry codes and our own policies, and all journalists are expected to read it and abide by it in the course of their duties at AAP.

AAP’s role as the national news agency is to produce a news service which maintains the highest standards of accuracy, impartiality and fairness.

The company’s policy on editorial standards addresses news agency requirements, and is in line with generally recognised principles of ethical, professional journalism.

AAP’s policy is as follows:

1. Accuracy

1.1. AAP has a valued reputation as “the reliable source”. All information, comment and opinion reported on our wires must be authoritatively sourced.

1.2. Sources must be identified by name unless there are compelling reasons for not doing so. Always query a source’s motives when they request anonymity.

1.3. The vague attribution “sources say” is generally not acceptable, unless it is the only way to protect a vital source in a matter of public interest.

1.4. While photographic images can be enhanced to improve resolution, an image must not be altered in such a way that it misrepresents the subject matter.

2. Impartiality and fairness

2.1. AAP does not promote particular views or commercial interests, either through undue emphasis or by suppressing relevant material.

2.2. In reporting views on controversial matters, always seek to include a fair balance of other views. Any comment or conjecture by the journalist writing the story should be identifiable as such.

2.3. AAP journalists have latitude to express their own views more freely only when, in the opinion of the Editor in Chief or Editor, they have special knowledge or expertise or sufficient reputation. Such pieces should be labelled as View, Comment or Analysis.

2.4. Individuals or groups singled out for criticism should be given a right of reply, in the original story whenever possible.

2.5. Emotive or contentious adjectives should be avoided unless they are being quoted.

3. Corrections

3.1. Inaccuracies or suspected inaccuracies which affect the integrity of stories on our wires must be dealt with promptly.

3.2. When we acknowledge an inaccuracy, a correction should be issued at urgent priority.

3.3. Challenges to accuracy or fairness in our stories must be referred to the News Editor or Editor. If there is serious doubt, particularly on legal grounds, we must alert subscribers to hold a story pending clarification. If such doubts are confirmed, we must advise subscribers to kill the story, issue take-down notices to internet subscribers and replace with a corrected version as soon as possible.

4. Conflicts of interest

4.1. Journalists must consult the Editor before covering a story which involves or might involve a conflict of interest, either through active membership of a political, lobby or community group, or from personal, family or financial considerations.

4.2. Journalists must not use for their own profit financial information they receive in advance of its general publication, nor should they pass such information to others.

4.3. Journalists must not write about shares, securities and companies in whose performance they know that they or their close families have a significant financial interest without disclosing the interest to the Editor or the Finance Editor.

4.4. Journalists must disclose to the Editor or Finance Editor any personal trading, either directly or through nominees or agents, in shares or securities about which they have written recently or about which they intend to write in the near future.

4.5. Failure to notify the Editor of any real or potential conflict of interest before a story is issued on AAP wires may result in dismissal.

5. Invitations

5.1. Invitations to AAP journalists from government, commercial and sporting organisations for expenses-paid trips and other assistance to cover events in which those organisations have an interest must be referred to the Editor.

5.2. Generally, such invitations will be accepted only if they are made to AAP as an organisation and provided the Editor or appropriate desk editor is satisfied that the event is worth covering.

5.3. In no circumstances can AAP guarantee to write a particular story.

5.4. Travel stories written as a result of invitations should concentrate on the region or the area, rather than the specifics of a hotel or resort. Travel features should include a “how to get there” section at the bottom of the story with details of airline schedules, etc, (and) a disclosure such as “The author travelled as a guest of…”.

5.5. No AAP journalist may be interviewed in a professional capacity in any of the news media, nor take part in a panel discussion, without the prior approval of the Editor.

6. Misrepresentation

6.1. AAP does not sanction misrepresentation, deceit or subterfuge to obtain information.

6.2 AAP journalists must clearly identify themselves as such when interviewing and gathering material.

6.3. Journalists must not obtain information or publish material obtained clandestinely by using listening devices or by intercepting private telephone conversations.

7. Discrimination

7.1. Gratuitous emphasis should not be placed on gender, religion, minority groups, sexual orientation, race, colour or physical or mental disability. Such references should be included in copy only where they are strictly relevant.

8. Offensive language

8.1. Offensive language, especially obscenities and terms of abuse relating to particular groups in the community should be used only when they are essential to the meaning of the story, and never gratuitously.

8.2. Circumstances in which the words used are essential to a story might include use of a swear word in public by a major public figure; or a direct quote of an important piece of evidence in a court case, but then only if the word itself is an integral part of the evidence.

8.3. Stories containing offensive language must begin with a warning to subscribers, so that they can make their own judgment.

9. Privacy

9.1. Personal privacy should be respected unless it interferes with publication of matters of public record, or of significant public interest. If in doubt, consult the Editor.

9.2. Approaches to people suffering trauma or grief should be undertaken with care and sensitivity.

9.3. Relatives of people convicted or accused of crime should not be identified unless reference to them is strictly relevant to the story.

10. Children

10.1. Children under the age of 16 should not be unduly prompted in interviews or given inducements to co-operate, and every effort should be made to seek the permission of a parent or other legally responsible adult.

10.2. Children should not be approached in schools without the permission of the school authority.

10.3. Children should not be identified in crime or court reports without legal advice.

11. Suicide

11.1. AAP does not report graphic details of suspected suicides or suicide attempts. See separate briefing on reporting suicides.

11.2. Any suicide notes obtained by AAP staff must immediately and unfailingly be referred to the Editor.

12. Public emergencies

12.1. Great care must be taken in reporting threats of violence to the public by bombs or other means of extortion such as contamination of groceries.

12.2. Generally, we do not run stories about hoaxes or suspected hoaxes unless there is an overriding public interest. If in doubt, consult the Editor.

13. Social media

13.1. AAP journalists may not use personal blogs or social networking sites like Twitter and Facebook to post AAP-generated material or links to such material, or to make comments relating to their work, other AAP employees or to AAP and its policies and practices.

13.2. Content from social networking sites should be used in AAP stories only when the material is publicly available and the bona fides of the source has been established and checked. This should be done in consultation with the desk editor.

13.3. Material from social networking sites like Facebook may be used only from pages that are publicly available. Journalists must not attempt to bypass security settings to obtain access to such material. Images from such sites can only be used in consultation with the News Editor or Editor.