AAP FactCheck – Our Process

AAP FactCheck follows a strict process when investigating claims.

Claims

AAP FactCheck focuses on investigating claims of political significance and counteracting misinformation shared on social media. We have no political affiliations nor agenda, simply a focus on revealing the facts.

We encourage members of the public to contact us with suggestions of content to fact-check via [email protected]. More information about making a submission can be found here.

AAP FactCheck also actively monitors traditional media sources and various social media platforms for material that is suitable for fact-checking. The final decision on what material is accepted rests with the AAP FactCheck editor.

When selecting a claim for investigation, we consider the following criteria:

  • That the quoted statement contains clearly verifiable elements and is being presented as fact. AAP FactCheck cannot assess personal opinion.
  • The prominence of the statement and its relevance to a broad audience.
  • The potential community consequences if a claim contains misinformation and this is not addressed.

AAP FactCheck does not assess, nor offer judgement on, reportage. Our primary goals are to inform the public and counteract misinformation when it arises.

Our staff must declare any conflicts of interest, and we monitor the mix of claims addressed to avoid any perception of partisanship.

We apply the uncompromising journalistic principles of Australian Associated Press to deliver independent, evidence-based verdicts free of ideology or bias.

AAP FactCheck is also one of many fact-checking organisations working around the world to combat misinformation on social media as a partner in Meta’s Third-Party Fact-Checking (3PFC) program.

Social media content that could be be false or misleading may be identified via Meta systems that highlight material warranting further examination. In addition, AAP FactCheck journalists use various digital tools to surface suitable content.

AAP FactCheck retains full editorial independence and control over the content with which we engage as part of this program. The decision on what to fact-check is made considering the material’s relevance to our market, its reach on social media and the possible impact of allowing any included misinformation to continue circulating.

AAP FactCheck is also a partner in TikTok’s Asia Pacific Fact-Checking Programme. Potentially problematic content is flagged by the platform for review and verification by AAP FactCheck, and if found to be false or misleading, TikTok takes steps to remove the content and notify the user.

Research Procedures

Newly selected submissions are discussed at the daily AAP FactCheck conference. The team identifies the verifiable elements of each contested claim and discusses 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.

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 seek to have at least two different sources per article.

AAP’s Accuracy policy helps guide AAP FactCheck’s choices when it comes to sources. The full AAP Code of Practice, which applies to AAP FactCheck, can be found here.

Writing and editing

After thorough research, AAP FactCheck journalists write a concise, fully-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 sub-edited (for grammar, spelling, structure and logic) before being published.

Publishing

Content created by AAP FactCheck is published on this website, shared on social media platforms, and issued direct to media clients where appropriate.

All articles are considered correct at the time of publication, and revisions will only be made when an error requiring a correction is identified or if the evidence has changed in a way that impacts the verdict.