Ferret Fact Service has become the first Scottish fact-checking project to gain accreditation by the International Fact-Checking Network (IFCN), the international body of fact checkers.
The project, which was launched by investigative journalism platform The Ferret in April 2017, is one of only 36 groups across the world to be accredited by the organisation, run by the prestigious Poynter Institute in the US.
Ferret Fact Service joins established organisations including the Associated Press, the Washington Post, Politifact and FullFact as a verified fact-checker.
Commenting on the successful application The Ferret’s Rob Edwards said: “As a young, not-for-profit co-operative, we are delighted to have won international recognition for the Ferret Fact Service (FFS). Being accredited as Scotland's first independent fact-checker is a quite a coup.
"In this day and age, facts matter more than ever. The Ferret and FFS are committed to accurate, non-aligned journalism, and our fact-checking accreditation will help us to reach new readers and subscribers.
"The Ferret has no advertisers and no distant corporate owners, so we rely on our members to keep going. The more subscribers we get, the more facts FFS can check."
To gain accreditation, FFS fulfilled criteria on non-partisanship, fairness, transparency of sources and funding, honesty and openness in methodology.
Accredited organisations can display the International Fact-Checking Network’s verification badge to demonstrate their position as verified fact checkers.
In the assessment, an independent IFCN assessor praised the work of FFS so far, saying: “It is interesting that they also often fact-check posts to social media platforms, which is essential as that is where much mis- and disinformation is being spread.
“Although FFS was only launched this year they have made excellent progress and make an important contribution to truth and fact-checking in Scotland.”
Facebook has begun using IFCN signatories as third-party fact-checkers in their attempts to crack down on “fake news” on the social media platform, and FFS is already one of the fact checkers used by Amazon’s Alexa service due to our partnership with the Duke Reporters’ Lab Share the Facts initiative.
Since its inception Ferret Fact Service has posted around 40 in-depth fact checks, as well as a live blog covering the STV News leaders’ debate ahead of the 2017 general election, and a number of wider explainer pieces around important issues. FFS fact checks have appeared in the Daily Record, Sunday Herald and Irish Times.
The fact-checking service is available to conduct workshops teaching the public how to fact-check their political representatives and hold public figures to account. Ferret Fact Service is planning to take the fact-checking workshop on tour around Scotland in the coming months.
The Ferret is an award-winning investigative journalism platform launched in 2015. It has won a number of journalism awards, and had significant impact with investigations on fracking, the far-right and asylum issues.
It is a not-for-profit co-operative, with places reserved for both journalists and subscribers on the board, and maintains a strong non-partisan stance with no journalist directors who are members of political parties. http://theferret.scot/
The application and accreditation can be viewed here: https://drive.google.com/file/d/0B-dqYAuRL4RxdDNtMERuc2Q1MU0/view
The IFCN code of principles is here: https://www.poynter.org/international-fact-checking-network-fact-checkers-code-principles
Our fact-checking methodology is here: https://theferret.scot/ferret-fact-service/
All of our fact-checks can be read here: https://theferret.scot/category/fact-check/
Ferret Fact Service was established after a €50,000 grant from the Google Digital News Initiative, which helps to fund innovative technology and journalism projects.
Read more about the Google grant here: https://community.theferret.scot/t/google-backs-ferret-fact-check-project/583