Changing Fact-Checking Standards

Caption: Meme saying “One Does Not Simply Trust Any Fact-Checker” (Created by blog author)

When we launched the Pro-Truth Pledge (PTP), we looked for a credible set of fact-checkers that we could use to hold accountable the public figures and organizations that took the PTP. After a thorough evaluation process, we decided to use the Facebook fact-checking program as our reference point for the credible fact-checkers that we would count for the purpose of defining violations of the PTP. After all, Facebook had an enormous financial capacity to evaluate the credibility of various fact-checkers, and a strong financial incentive to ensure that its chosen fact-checkers were balanced, favoring neither conservatives nor liberals.

Unfortunately, since that time, some developments convinced us that the Facebook fact-checking program suffers from a series of problems, related here and here, mainly due to Facebook’s lack of willingness to collaborate effectively with fact-checkers. Moreover, Facebook’s credibility in the arena of fighting misinformation took a serious hit with the Cambridge Analytica scandal. All these revelations convinced us that Facebook is no longer a worthwhile reference point for credible fact-checkers. Furthermore, Facebook’s fact-checkers mostly focus on the US, whereas the Pro-Truth Pledge is a global project, and we wanted more of a global reach.

We launched another search, and decided to use as our standard of reference the Poynter Institute International Fact-Checking Network of credible fact-checkers. Any fact-checker around the world that wishes to join this network needs to commit to a code of ethics that include non-partisanship, transparency, and public and visible corrections. All who apply need to pass a vetting process, and their application and assessment are listed on the website. After public discussion of the cons and pros of making this change, we have decided it’s a wise idea.

We welcome any and all questions and comments!

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