Fact-Check Methodology

Selection of Claim: Claims are received through multiple sources such as our fact-check email, WhatsApp tipline, social media handles etc. These claims could be viral social media messages in the areas of Politics, Health, Science, History, Policy, Data, Government Schemes, Major events and statements made by those in public office. Every morning, the fact-checking team has a detailed discussion on these claims before selection. The selection process takes multiple factors into consideration such as the potential for real-world harm, the potential for virality, influence on consumers, persons making the claim, importance of the claim. Based on these factors, only those claims that can be fact-checked are selected i.e., those that have a definitive claim and not just a vague statement. Adequate care is also taken to ensure that there is no political bias or any other type of bias in terms of selection and equal importance is given to claims made by leaders of different parties.

Verification of the Claim: A thorough verification is done by the team to understand if such a claim was actually made and in which context. Sources for verification include official press statements, videos of speeches, events, official & verified social media handles etc. The source for the claim is mandatorily hyperlinked in the fact-check story. If the team is unable to ascertain that such a claim was actually made, then we reach out to the person or entity who made that claim.

Research & Fact-Checking: Once the claim is established, research is undertaken, primarily using government data/information sources, authoritative sources such as news websites, image sharing websites such as Getty Images, AP, etc. to fact check the claim. Relevant data/information is presented in the form of tables, charts, etc. to corroborate the fact check. For data-related fact-checks, the fact check is not just limited to the claim made, but also looks at historical data to look at the trend over time. We also look at relevant policy changes over time. The relevant data/information from official sources is also hyperlinked in the fact check story. For viral social media claims, all the sources used in the fact-checking are hyperlinked in the story so that it is easy for any user to replicate the fact-check by himself. In case the source being used is a news website, at least one another news source is used to corroborate.

Rating: Based on the above research, a conclusion is arrived at. The broad ratings we follow are

– TRUE
– PARTLY TRUE
– FALSE
– MISLEADING
– UNVERIFIED (for those claims which can’t be fact-checked)
The opinion of the team is solicited through internal messaging groups to confirm the rating.

Editorial Check: Every fact check story is personally vetted by the editor & the chief editor before it’s published to avoid any factual or other errors. Thus every fact-check goes through two additional rounds of vetting.

Correction Policy: Readers are encouraged to write to us with any corrections through the ‘Contact Us’ . All such communication is taken very seriously and relevant corrections are made if they are found to be valid within 48 hours of the receipt of a correction email or message. Readers are also encouraged to submit claims through e-mail.

Fact check team:

Sachin Sabarish - Fact checker

sabrish

I am Sabarish. I have been working as a Journalist for the past 7 years. Earlier I have worked as a journalist in Bharat today, Public Tv, and Nyusu. I have made my choice of being a Journalist with the passion of serving society through journalism.