AAP FactCheck - Our Process - Australian Associated Press

AAP FactCheck – Our Process

AAP FactCheck follows a strict process when investigating claims.

Claims

AAP FactCheck focuses on both News Media and Social Media Claims.

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 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. We have no political affiliations nor agenda, simply a focus on revealing the facts.

We encourage members of the media and the public to reach out to us with suggestions for content to check at [email protected].

AAP FactCheck also monitors print, online and broadcast media to identify statements that meet our Claim Selection criteria (below), and we accept referrals from AAP’s own editorial network.

When selecting a news media 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 appeared in the news media recently and is relevant to a broad audience.
  4. What community consequences there may be if the claim is false and not addressed by AAP FactCheck.

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. Instead, we seek to minimise misinformation, serving both the news media and the general public.
  3. AAP FactCheck staff must declare any conflicts of interest, and we monitor the mix of claims addressed to avoid any perception of bias.

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 at [email protected].

Social Media Claims

AAP FactCheck also verifies selected social media content.

As a partner in Facebook’s Third-Party Fact-Checking (3PFC) program, AAP FactCheck is one of many fact-checking organisations working around the world to combat misinformation on social media. The 3PFC program aims to reduce the spread of misinformation on Facebook and Instagram.

AAP FactCheck retains full editorial independence and control over the content with which we engage.

Social media content that may be false, misleading or otherwise suspicious can be identified in a number of ways. Facebook systems flag text, video and images that may require further examination and refer that content to factchecking partners such as us for a decision as to whether action is required. In addition, AAP FactCheck journalists use digital tools to surface questionable content and also examine submissions from the public.

AAP FactCheck checks the veracity of selected content after considering what is most relevant in our market, as well as the consequences of allowing potentially false content to continue circulating. We also consider how much attention a piece of content is getting, with the goal of targeting false information with an increasing audience.

We apply the uncompromising journalistic principles of Australian Associated Press to deliver independent, evidence-based verdicts free of ideology or bias. These verdicts are used to inform efforts to minimise the spread of false news and misinformation across Facebook and Instagram.

If you see social media content you believe is false or misleading, send the link to [email protected].

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, 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 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.