The IFCN welcomes new applications to its Code of Principles beginning Jan. 16, 2024. Our website is currently under renovation, so new signatories should begin the application process by emailing their interest to info@ifcn.org with "New Signatory" in the subject line.

AP Fact Check

Organization: AP Fact Check
Applicant: Barbara Whitaker
Assessor: Margot Susca

Background

The Associated Press is a global news organization with years of experience in fact checking public officials statements that launched its fact check site in recent years. 

Clearly, its fact check operation has inherited its high standards and commitment to excellence. 

In a past review, I was concerned that staff were not clearly labeled as being distinct from the Fact Check site, and I would like to point out any concerns I had previously have been addressed and the site is user friendly and informative. 

Assessment Conclusion

Few organizations have the depth and breath to take on fact checking the way the AP has.

It offers citizens services in both English and Spanish.

AP Fact Check offers readers fair evaluation of claims across the political spectrum.

I think we see with AP Fact Check's continued work the benefit of having the resources of the Associated Press behind it.

Given that I assessed a dozen fact checks looking at sources, methodology and partisanship, I mark AP Fact Check's application as compliant. 

on 24-May-2023 (9 months ago)

Margot Susca assesses application as Compliant

A short summary in native publishing language

Please see individual criteria for explanation of how AP Fact Check, in my view, has met the IFCN's threshold for being a verified signatory. 

This individual criteria will explain more thoroughly the key areas assessed by IFCN. 

Again, I see a well-researched, honest, and fair site that is a benefit to the fact checking community and quality information. 

Section 1: Eligibility to be a signatory

To be eligible to be a signatory, applicants must meet these six criteria

  • 1.1 The applicant is a legally registered organization, or a distinct team or unit within a legally registered organization, and details of this are easily found on its website.
  • 1.2 The team, unit or organization is set up exclusively for the purpose of fact-checking.
  • 1.3 The applicant has published an average of at least one fact check a week over the course of the six months prior to the date of application. For applicants from countries with at least 5 or more verified signatories need to have at least a fact check a week over the twelve months of publishing track. Consult to factchecknet@poynter.org for confirmation.
  • 1.4 On average, at least 75% of the applicant’s fact checks focus on claims related to issues that, in the view of the IFCN, relate to or could have an impact on the welfare or well-being of individuals, the general public or society.
  • 1.5 The applicant’s editorial output is not, in the view of the IFCN, controlled by the state, a political party or politician.
  • 1.6 If the organization receives funding from local or foreign state or political sources, it provides a statement on its site setting out to the satisfaction of the IFCN, how it ensures its funders do not influence the findings of its reports.

Criteria 1.1
Proof you meet criteria
Please explain where on your website you set out information about your organization’s legal status and how this complies with criteria. Attach a link to the relevant page of your website.

AP Fact Check
03-Apr-2023 (11 months ago) Updated: 10 months ago

Details about The Associated Press can be found in the “about” section of AP’s corporate website: https://www.ap.org/about/

In short, AP, one of the world’s pre-eminent news gathering organizations, is an independent, not-for-profit news cooperative composed of U.S. newspapers and broadcasters and serving additional customers around the world. AP has a dedicated team of fact checkers with teams based in the United States and Mexico. Their work includes the branded AP Fact Checks that examine claims by public figures, as well as debunks of false and misleading information that’s circulating online, including as part of the Facebook fact-checking program.

Fact-checking is also deeply integrated into our whole global operation and we rely on the expertise of our journalists on a wide variety of topics to inform our fact-checking work. Any AP journalist may work on a fact check with support from the Fact Check team.

For more details about fact checking at the AP, see: https://apnews.com/article/ap-fact-check-234264975049

Additional details can be found in AP’s most recent annual report: https://www.ap.org/about/annual-report/2021/


Margot Susca Assessor
19-May-2023 (9 months ago) Updated: 9 months ago

This section is compliant. 

From its website (the two bottom lines link to more in-depth information on eligibility: 


"ABOUT THE AP

The AP is an independent, not-for-profit news cooperative composed of newspapers and broadcasters. The vast majority of AP’s revenue comes from licensing content to news outlets and other organizations. The AP Fact Check team is funded by AP’s general news budget and has previously received funding from the Knight Foundation.

Read more about the AP.

See AP’s 2022 annual report."


done_all 1.1 marked as Compliant by Margot Susca.

Criteria 1.2
Proof you meet criteria
Please answer the following questions – (see notes in Guidelines for Application on how to answer)

 1. When and why was your fact-checking operation started?
 2. How many people work or volunteer in the organization and what are their roles?
 3. What different activities does your organization carry out?
 4. What are the goals of your fact-checking operation over the coming year?

AP Fact Check
03-Apr-2023 (11 months ago) Updated: 10 months ago

The Associated Press has been fact-checking people in power throughout its 177-year history, and has been doing distinct fact-checking items at least since 1988. These separate items were originally created to shine a spotlight on questionable assertions made by public figures, such as U.S. elected officials and candidates for office. In more recent years, fact-checking at AP has also come to include the debunking of misinformation that is shared online, to counteract the misinformation and help the public be better informed.

Dozens of journalists around AP contribute to our fact-checking efforts. About a dozen people focus exclusively on fact-checking, debunking and the coverage of the misinformation crisis, mostly in reporter and editor roles, and with specialization on various topics such as technology, health, politics and migration. They include three team members working exclusively in Spanish, and one editor who works in English and Spanish. Details about team members can be found here: https://apnews.com/article/ap-fact-check-234264975049

The team’s work focuses on the branded AP Fact Checks that examine claims by public figures, as well as debunks of false and misleading information that’s circulating online, including as part of the Facebook fact-checking program. The fact-checking team is a unit within The Associated Press, a global news organization that provides a wide variety of news gathering and distribution services for news outlets around the world.

We'll continue to focus on aggressively fact-checking people in power and debunking misinformation that affects how people live their lives – how they make decisions about their health, the ballots they cast, etc. We're also working on sharpening our ability to identify and debunk misinformation that travels in or affects underserved communities. And we seek to improve the exposure and impact of our fact-checking work, including by more aggressively promoting our work with AP’s existing customers, and by looking for additional opportunities to collaborate with platforms, startups and other news organizations.  

Margot Susca Assessor
19-May-2023 (9 months ago) Updated: 9 months ago

AP Fact Check has demonstrated its compliance with Criteria 1.2.



done_all 1.2 marked as Compliant by Margot Susca.

Criteria 1.3
Proof you meet criteria
- The applicant has published an average of at least one fact check a week over the course of the six months prior to the date of application.
- For applicants from countries with at least 5 or more verified signatories need to have at least a fact check a week over the twelve months of publishing track.
- Consult to factchecknet@poynter.org for confirmation.

AP Fact Check
03-Apr-2023 (11 months ago) Updated: 10 months ago

We publish several fact checks a week, and have for many years. You can find them below.

Highlighted fact checks: https://apnews.com/hub/ap-fact-check

Debunking of online misinformation (English): https://apnews.com/hub/fact-checking

Debunking of online misinformation (Spanish): https://apnews.com/hub/ap-verifica   

Margot Susca Assessor
19-May-2023 (9 months ago) Updated: 9 months ago

AP Fact Check publishes the required number of fact checks, according to a review of its site. As such, I mark Criteria 1.3 compliant. 



done_all 1.3 marked as Compliant by Margot Susca.

Criteria 1.4
Proof you meet criteria
The assessor will assess compliance through a review of the fact checks published over the previous three months. No additional information required.

Margot Susca Assessor
19-May-2023 (9 months ago) Updated: 9 months ago

I have reviewed a number of fact checks from the AP Fact Check site found here: https://apnews.com/hub/ap-fact-check, and one of the things that I find very useable and helpful is the structure of the fact checks. AP Fact Check uses the following subheads: 

CLAIM

AP's ASSESSMENT

THE FACTS

These act as a helpful tool for those using the site to easily identify what the false (or misleading)item/misinformation is and why it's being investigated/reviewed by AP Fact Check staff. Noting this, a more thorough explanation of individual fact checks from the last six months including a review or their sources and methodology is provided in subsequent criteria. 



done_all 1.4 marked as Compliant by Margot Susca.

Criteria 1.5
Proof you meet criteria
Please explain any commercial, financial and/or institutional relationship your organization has to the state, politicians or political parties in the country or countries you cover. Also explain funding or support received from foreign as well as local state or political actors over the previous financial year.

AP Fact Check
03-Apr-2023 (11 months ago) Updated: 10 months ago

The AP fact-checking operation is part of The Associated Press, an independent, not-for-profit news cooperative composed of U.S. newspapers and broadcasters. The vast majority of AP’s revenue comes from licensing content to members of the cooperative and to other news outlets and organizations around the world. The AP Fact Check team is funded by AP’s general news budget, which includes revenue from AP’s participation in the Facebook fact-checking program. AP operates independently from government and political interests.

Read more about the AP here: https://www.ap.org/about/

The 2021 AP annual report is available to the public: https://www.ap.org/about/annual-report/2021/


Margot Susca Assessor
19-May-2023 (9 months ago) Updated: 9 months ago

AP Fact Check's/The Associated Press's independence and not-for-profit status are thoroughly explained. As such, I mark Criteria 1.5 compliant. 


done_all 1.5 marked as Compliant by Margot Susca.

Criteria 1.6
Proof you meet criteria
If you confirmed the organization receives funding from local or foreign state or political sources, provide a link to where on your website you set out how you ensure the editorial independence of your work.

AP Fact Check
03-Apr-2023 (11 months ago) Updated: 10 months ago

Not applicable

Margot Susca Assessor
19-May-2023 (9 months ago) Updated: 9 months ago

AP Fact Check does not use any of those funding sources. As such, I mark Criteria 1.6 compliant. 


done_all 1.6 marked as Compliant by Margot Susca.

Section 2: A commitment to Non-partisanship and Fairness

To be compliant on nonpartisanship and fairness, applicants must meet these five criteria

  • 2.1 The applicant fact-checks using the same high standards of evidence and judgement for equivalent claims regardless of who made the claim.
  • 2.2 The applicant does not unduly concentrate its fact-checking on any one side, considers the reach and importance of claims it selects to check and publishes a short statement on its website to set out how it selects claims to check.
  • 2.3 The applicant discloses in its fact checks relevant interests of the sources it quotes where the reader might reasonably conclude those interests could influence the accuracy of the evidence provided. It also discloses in its fact checks any commercial or other such relationships it has that a member of the public might reasonably conclude could influence the findings of the fact check.
  • 2.4 The applicant is not as an organization affiliated with nor declares or shows support for any party, any politician or political candidate, nor does it advocate for or against any policy positions on any issues save for transparency and accuracy in public debate.
  • 2.5 The applicant sets out its policy on non-partisanship for staff on its site. Save for the issues of accuracy and transparency, the applicant’s staff do not get involved in advocacy or publicise their views on policy issues the organization might fact check in such a way as might lead a reasonable member of the public to see the organization’s work as biased.

Criteria 2.1
Proof you meet criteria
Please share links to 10 fact checks published over the past year that you believe demonstrate your non-partisanship.
Please briefly explain how the fact checks selected show that (I) you use the same high standards of evidence for equivalent claims, (II) follow the same essential process for every fact check and (III) let the evidence dictate your conclusions.

AP Fact Check
03-Apr-2023 (11 months ago) Updated: 10 months ago

These fact checks show that we’re following the same process across the political spectrum, and applying strong but fair scrutiny to all misinformation spreaders and people in power, across a variety of topics.

In all our fact-checking work, as you’ll see here, we aim to focus on misinformation that both is gaining significant traction and runs a high risk of doing real-world damage – for example, when falsehoods might alter people’s health decisions or affect who they might choose to vote for.

In each case, we isolate the false claims and/or deceptive imagery, then use AP’s industry-leading standards on unbiased reporting to determine the facts. We focus on evidence, in the form of credible data, subject-area expertise and what our journalists have themselves witnessed.

We go where that evidence takes us and offer a clear conclusion about the facts. If we can’t prove something with certainty, we won’t publish it – we'd rather not have a fact check than arrive at a conclusion that we’re not sure about.

We stay away from anonymous sourcing for these items and attribute information as specifically as possible, with the thinking that our readers should be able to recreate the fact checks themselves.

Our goal is always to arrive at the facts, and then explain them simply and clearly. We steer clear of bias – anyone who says something questionable who has a significant audience earns the same scrutiny, regardless of their message or their politics. Then, we go where the facts lead us.

Here are some examples:

NOT REAL NEWS: A look at what didn’t happen this week: https://apnews.com/article/fact-check-misinformation-donald-trump-joe-biden-anheuserbusch-750214d3ed1ca8218df12a9efe2feed0

FACT FOCUS: Fake Trump mug shots spread in lieu of real one: https://apnews.com/article/trump-indictment-mug-shot-fact-check-2a57de9b109fa95f833c62e5509b9e45

Trump arrested? Putin jailed? Fake AI images spread online: https://apnews.com/article/ai-misinformation-trump-putin-new-york-42ac9c41c5504d05412b492e48bcaded

FACT FOCUS: Claims blame ‘woke’ policies on bank’s demise: https://apnews.com/article/silicon-valley-bank-fdic-svb-california-d84764deb458371667ac7f850f430f22

‘Brought to you by Pfizer’ video is false, edited to deceive: https://apnews.com/article/fact-check-pfizer-tv-presenters-collapsing-998875877043

Posts mischaracterize CDC data on COVID-19 vaccine deaths: https://apnews.com/article/fact-check-cdc-covid-vaccine-deaths-910677348223

Posts misrepresent rioter’s actions in Jan. 6 Capitol attack: https://apnews.com/article/fact-check-january-6-jacob-chansley-tucker-carlson-193191103193

FACT FOCUS: Biden administration isn’t banning gas stoves: https://apnews.com/article/biden-united-states-government-us-consumer-product-safety-commission-ap-fact-check-texas-2003dcf8d0bee8ddf45080186b2e0c7b

Company where Gaetz owned shares had pandemic loan forgiven: https://apnews.com/article/fact-check-matt-gaetz-ppp-loan-forgiveness-940122862427

FACT FOCUS: No ‘incredible rise’ in transgender shooters: https://apnews.com/article/fact-check-transgender-nashville-shooting-misinformation-cd62492d066d41e820c138256570978c

Margot Susca Assessor
19-May-2023 (9 months ago) Updated: 9 months ago

A review of fact checks published over the last six months shows AP Fact Check's commitment to nonpartisanship and fairness. It has published individual fact checks under their own headlines on Dominion voting machines and Gov. Ron DeSantis and a recent immigration bill (not linked). It also has a NOT REAL NEWS section, which is a roundup of fake stories, which I think is a great way to reach busy readers. Recent fact checks include one on funding a Biden appointee did or did not receive and an Amy soldier "opening gates for migrants." 

As such I mark Criteria 2.1 compliant. 


done_all 2.1 marked as Compliant by Margot Susca.

Criteria 2.2
Proof you meet criteria
Please share a link to a place on your website where you explain how you select claims to check, explaining how you ensure you do not unduly concentrate your fact-checking on any one side, and how you consider the reach and importance of the claims you select to check.

AP Fact Check
03-Apr-2023 (11 months ago) Updated: 7 months ago

AP’s approach to fact-checking: https://apnews.com/article/ap-fact-check-234264975049

AP’s News Values and Principles, which also apply to fact-checking work: https://www.ap.org/about/news-values-and-principles/

Margot Susca Assessor
19-May-2023 (9 months ago) Updated: 9 months ago

AP Fact Check's site explains of its work:

"We produce fact checks when we are presented with a claim from a newsmaker – in any format – that deserves further explanation or scrutiny. The AP Fact Check team, along with our experts in the field, investigates and reports out that claim to present the facts around it. These claims can come from newsmakers from any news department, and they are fact-checked by our AP experts, with oversight, guidance and reporting help from the AP Fact Check team.

The AP Fact Check team also produces items that debunk misleading or false information and visuals that are gaining significant traction online. This includes collaborative projects with Facebook and Twitter to add factual context to misleading posts on their platforms."

In addition, the Fact Check site explains AP's Statement of News Values. 

Regarding fact checking multiple views/POVs, the site reads: "As with all AP staff, AP fact checkers must adhere to the company’s Statement of News Values, which states: 'AP employees must avoid behavior or activities - political, social or financial - that create a conflict of interest or compromise our ability to report the news fairly and accurately, uninfluenced by any person or action.'”

As such, I mark Criteria 2.2 compliant. 


done_all 2.2 marked as Compliant by Margot Susca.

Criteria 2.3
Proof you meet criteria
The assessor will assess compliance through a review of the fact checks published over the previous year. No additional information required.

Margot Susca Assessor
19-May-2023 (9 months ago) Updated: 9 months ago

For Criteria 2.3, I reviewed the fact check headlined "Posts misrepresent rioter’s actions in Jan. 6 Capitol attack" dated March 7, 2023 written by Melissa Goldin. 

A claim incorrectly said one of the Jan. 6 rioters was actually led through the US Capitol by police. The AP Fact Check explains in its assessment this way: "False. Court documents and video footage from the attack on the Capitol make clear that Chansley, who is widely known as the “QAnon Shaman” and is one of the most recognizable Jan. 6 rioters, entered the Capitol without permission, was repeatedly asked to leave the building and was not accompanied at all times."

As such, I mark this criteria compliant. 



done_all 2.3 marked as Compliant by Margot Susca.

Criteria 2.4
Proof you meet criteria
The assessor will assess compliance through a review of the fact checks published over the previous year. No additional information required.

Margot Susca Assessor
19-May-2023 (9 months ago) Updated: 9 months ago

For Criteria 2.4, I reviewed the fact check headlined "Company where Gaetz owned shares had pandemic loan forgiven" dated January 31, 2023 and written by Ali Swenson. 

Rep. Matt Gaetz, it was claimed, had a more than $480K loan forgiven from the Small Business Administrations's PPP even though the conservative lawmaker does not own any companies. AP's Assessment explained: "Missing context. Caregivers Inc., a private at-home care company in Florida, had the loan forgiven. Gaetz reported in 2021 that he was a shareholder in the company, making him a partial owner. The company has sold and he no longer owns shares, his office said in an emailed statement."

As such, I mark this item compliant. 


done_all 2.4 marked as Compliant by Margot Susca.

Criteria 2.5
Proof you meet criteria
Please share a link to a place on your website where you publish a statement setting out your policy on non-partisanship for staff and how it ensures the organization meets this criteria.

AP Fact Check
03-Apr-2023 (11 months ago) Updated: 7 months ago

AP News Values and Principles – Political Activities: https://www.ap.org/about/news-values-and-principles/conflicts-of-interest/political-activities   

Margot Susca Assessor
19-May-2023 (9 months ago) Updated: 9 months ago

AP Fact Check's nonpartisanship is clearly stated. As such, I mark Criteria 2.5 as compliant. 


done_all 2.5 marked as Compliant by Margot Susca.

Section 3: A commitment to Standards and Transparency of Sources

To be compliant on sources, applicants must meet these four criteria

  • 3.1 The applicant identifies the source of all significant evidence used in their fact checks, providing relevant links where the source is available online, in such a way that users can replicate their work if they wish. In cases where identifying the source would compromise the source’s personal security, the applicant provides as much detail as compatible with the source’s safety.
  • 3.2 The applicant uses the best available primary, not secondary, sources of evidence wherever suitable primary sources are available. Where suitable primary sources are not available, the applicant explains the use of a secondary source.
  • 3.3 The applicant checks all key elements of claims against more than one named source of evidence save where the one source is the only source relevant on the topic.
  • 3.4 The applicant identifies in its fact checks the relevant interests of the sources it uses where the reader might reasonably conclude those interests could influence the accuracy of the evidence provided.

Criteria 3.1
Proof you meet criteria
The assessor will review the applicant’s use of sources in a randomised sample of its fact checks to assess compliance. No additional evidence is required.

Margot Susca Assessor
19-May-2023 (9 months ago) Updated: 9 months ago

To assess Criteria 3.1, I reviewed "FACT FOCUS: No 'Incredible Rise' in Transgender Shooters" dated March 30, 2023. Here, the AP Fact Check noted: "THE FACTS: While specific data on transgender and nonbinary mass shooters can be hard to isolate, available information shows that the overwhelming majority of assailants in mass shootings are cisgender males." 

It goes on to explain using data fro the Gun Violence Archive to first count the number, the fact check also used the following sources, who were named and explained in the piece: a professor of sociology at Ohio State University; a professor criminology, law and public policy/statistician from Northeastern University; gender studies professor who referred to a different database of mass shootings (National Institutes of Justice). 

The AP Fact Check noted: "The research found that of the 172 people who committed public mass shootings covered in the database, 97.7% were male. The data makes no distinction between transgender and cisgender perpetrators." 

Due to the quality of range of sources, I mark Criteria 3.1 compliant. 



done_all 3.1 marked as Compliant by Margot Susca.

Criteria 3.2
Proof you meet criteria
The assessor will review the applicant’s use of sources in a randomised sample of its fact checks to assess compliance. No additional evidence is required.

Margot Susca Assessor
19-May-2023 (9 months ago) Updated: 9 months ago

To assess Criteria 3.2, I reviewed sourcing for a May 23 fact check by Philip Marcelo headlined "FACT FOCUS: Fake image of Pentagon explosion briefly sends jitters through stock market" that looked into a claim of an explosion at the Pentagon which showed black smoke billowing from it. 

The claim was false, and the sources used included: Police and fire officials in Arlington, Virginia (the northern Virginia city is home to the Pentagon, which is the Defense Department HQ), which had to turn to Twitter to debunk the claims that spread on Twitter. The AP Fact Check item also explored how this was likely an AI-created image, so it included a computer science professor (UC Berkeley) and the co-director of the Center for Responsibility in AI Systems & Experiences in the source list. The sources also provided evidence of photo manipulation, and that was very clearly explained in the piece. 

Due to the use of these sources, I mark Criteria 3.2 as compliant. 



done_all 3.2 marked as Compliant by Margot Susca.

Criteria 3.3
Proof you meet criteria
The assessor will review the applicant’s use of sources in a randomised sample of its fact checks to assess compliance. No additional evidence is required.

Margot Susca Assessor
19-May-2023 (9 months ago) Updated: 9 months ago

I reviewed the May 18, 2023 fact check "Video prompts false claims that soldier allowed migrants to cross border illegally" written by Philip Marcelo. The claim is that a U.S. soldier opened a border gate to allow illegal immigrants into the U.S. The claim was judged false. 

Here are the sources used to warrant that designation: officials with the U.S. Customs and Border Protection (statement emailed to AP); Missouri National Guard spokesperson; and a Cornell Law school professor specializing in immigration.

Due to these sources, I mark this item compliant. 


done_all 3.3 marked as Compliant by Margot Susca.

Criteria 3.4
Proof you meet criteria
The assessor will review the applicant’s use of sources in a randomised sample of its fact checks to assess compliance. No additional evidence is required.

Margot Susca Assessor
19-May-2023 (9 months ago) Updated: 9 months ago

A May 16, 2023 item written by Karen Phan showed that President Biden did NOT touch a child inappropriately despite a claim online showing a photograph. The AP Fact Check noted the photograph had been digitally altered, and one of its sources was an AP photographer who shot the real photograph in Hartford, Connecticut. Just as a fail safe, the fact checker also used video shot by CSPAN. 

As such, I mark this item compliant. 



done_all 3.4 marked as Compliant by Margot Susca.

Section 4: A commitment to Transparency of Funding & Organization

To be compliant on funding and organization, applicants must meet these five criteria

  • 4.1 Applicants that are independent organizations have a page on their website detailing each source of funding accounting for 5% or more of total revenue for its previous financial year. This page also sets out the legal form in which the organization is registered (e.g. as a non-profit, as a company etc).
  • 4.2 Applicants that are the fact-checking section or unit of a media house or other parent organization make a statement on ownership.
  • 4.3 A statement on the applicant’s website sets out the applicant’s organizational structure and makes clear how and by whom editorial control is exercised.
  • 4.4 A page on the applicant’s website details the professional biography of all those who, according to the organizational structure and play a significant part in its editorial output.
  • 4.5 The applicant provides easy means on its website and/or via social media for users to communicate with the editorial team.

Criteria 4.1
Proof you meet criteria
Please confirm whether you are an ‘independent organization’
or ‘the fact-checking section or unit of a media house or other parent organization’ and share proof of this organizational status.

AP Fact Check
03-Apr-2023 (11 months ago) Updated: 10 months ago

AP Fact Check is a unit of The Associated Press, as is explained in this description of our approach to fact-checking work: 

Further proof is the presence of these fact-checking hubs on the AP News website: https://apnews.com/article/ap-fact-check-234264975049

Highlighted fact checks: https://apnews.com/hub/ap-fact-check

Debunking of online misinformation (English): https://apnews.com/hub/fact-checking

Debunking of online misinformation (Spanish): https://apnews.com/hub/ap-verifica 

Margot Susca Assessor
19-May-2023 (9 months ago) Updated: 9 months ago

AP Fact Check is very clearly a fact checking unit of the larger Associated Press (AP). As such, I mark Criteria 4.1 compliant. 


done_all 4.1 marked as Compliant by Margot Susca.

Criteria 4.2
Proof you meet criteria
If your organization is an “independent organization”, please share a link to the page on your website where you detail your funding and indicate the legal form in which the organization is registered (e.g. as a non-profit, as a company etc).
If your organization is “the fact-checking section or unit of a media house or other parent organization”, please share a link to the statement on your website about your ownership.

AP Fact Check
03-Apr-2023 (11 months ago) Updated: 7 months ago

AP Fact Check is a unit of The Associated Press, funded by the general AP news budget, as well as direct revenue from fact-checking customers like Meta.

The Associated Press is a not-for-profit cooperative that derives its revenue from U.S. newspaper and broadcast members and other news customers around the world. More details about AP can be found here: https://www.ap.org/about/

Further details about AP’s finances can be found in the cooperative’s most recent annual report: https://www.ap.org/about/annual-report/2021/

Margot Susca Assessor
19-May-2023 (9 months ago) Updated: 9 months ago

Continuing from above, the AP Fact Check is a not-for-profit site part of the larger AP. Its funding status and finances are outlined in its most recent annual report that can be found: https://www.ap.org/about/annual-report/2022/ A more detailed chart from its financial information is attached. Noting these, I mark Criteria 4.2 compliant. 

Files Attached
Screen Shot 2023-05-... (66 KB)
done_all 4.2 marked as Compliant by Margot Susca.

Criteria 4.3
Proof you meet criteria
Please share a link to where on your website you set out your organizational structure, making clear how and by whom editorial control is exercised.

AP Fact Check
03-Apr-2023 (11 months ago) Updated: 10 months ago

This description of AP’s approach to fact-checking includes details about the AP Fact Check leadership team, which exercises control over editorial decisions: https://apnews.com/article/ap-fact-check-234264975049

Margot Susca Assessor
19-May-2023 (9 months ago) Updated: 9 months ago

The AP's editorial team as well as its fact check staff are clearly labeled online. As such, I mark Criteria 4.3 compliant. 


done_all 4.3 marked as Compliant by Margot Susca.

Criteria 4.4
Proof you meet criteria
Please share a link to where on your website you set out the professional biographies of those who play a significant part in your organization’s editorial output.

AP Fact Check
03-Apr-2023 (11 months ago) Updated: 10 months ago

This description of AP’s approach to fact-checking includes biographical information on members of the AP Fact Check team: https://apnews.com/article/ap-fact-check-234264975049

                    

Margot Susca Assessor
19-May-2023 (9 months ago) Updated: 9 months ago

I mark Criteria 4.4 compliant because its staff members and their bios are online and accessible. I've attached a partial list to illustrate this section's compliance. 

Files Attached
Screen Shot 2023-05-... (180 KB)
done_all 4.4 marked as Compliant by Margot Susca.

Criteria 4.5
Proof you meet criteria
Please share a link to where on your website you encourage users to communicate with your editorial team.

AP Fact Check
03-Apr-2023 (11 months ago) Updated: 10 months ago

This description of AP’s approach to fact-checking includes a section where the public is encouraged to email the team at FactCheck@ap.org with comments, questions and suggestions of claims to fact-check: https://apnews.com/article/ap-fact-check-234264975049

                          

Margot Susca Assessor
19-May-2023 (9 months ago) Updated: 9 months ago

I can confirm that there is an email address where members of the public/users of the site would very easily be able to community with the Fact Check team. As such, I mark Criteria 4.5 compliant. 


done_all 4.5 marked as Compliant by Margot Susca.

Section 5: A commitment to Standards and Transparency of Methodology

To be compliant on methodology, applicants must meet these six criteria

  • 5.1 The applicant publishes on its website a statement about the methodology it uses to select, research, write and publish its fact checks.
  • 5.2 The applicant selects claims to check based primarily on the reach and importance of the claims, and where possible explains the reason for choosing the claim to check.
  • 5.3 The applicant sets out in its fact checks relevant evidence that appears to support the claim as well as relevant evidence that appears to undermine it.
  • 5.4 The applicant in its fact checks assesses the merits of the evidence found using the same high standards applied to evidence on equivalent claims, regardless of who made the claim.
  • 5.5 The applicant seeks where possible to contact those who made the claim to seek supporting evidence, noting that (I) this is often not possible with online claims, (II) if the person who makes the claim fails to reply in a timely way this should not impede the fact check, (III) if a speaker adds caveats to the claim, the fact-checker should be free to continue with checking the original claim, (IV) fact-checkers may not wish to contact the person who made the claim for safety or other legitimate reasons.
  • 5.6 The applicant encourages users to send in claims to check, while making it clear what readers can legitimately expect will be fact-checked and what isn’t fact-checkable.

Criteria 5.1
Proof you meet criteria
Please provide a link to the statement on your website that explains the methodology you use to select, research, write and publish your fact checks.

AP Fact Check
03-Apr-2023 (11 months ago) Updated: 10 months ago

This description of AP’s approach to fact-checking notes that the team focuses on misinformation spread by top political leaders and other significant news makers, as well as damaging false content that is gaining the most traction online: https://apnews.com/article/ap-fact-check-234264975049


Margot Susca Assessor
19-May-2023 (9 months ago) Updated: 9 months ago

The AP Fact Check site explains how it does its work: "We produce fact checks when we are presented with a claim from a newsmaker – in any format – that deserves further explanation or scrutiny. The AP Fact Check team, along with our experts in the field, investigates and reports out that claim to present the facts around it. These claims can come from newsmakers from any news department, and they are fact-checked by our AP experts, with oversight, guidance and reporting help from the AP Fact Check team.

The AP Fact Check team also produces items that debunk misleading or false information and visuals that are gaining significant traction online. This includes collaborative projects with Facebook and Twitter to add factual context to misleading posts on their platforms."

As such, I mark Criteria 5.1 compliant.



done_all 5.1 marked as Compliant by Margot Susca.

Criteria 5.2
Proof you meet criteria
The assessor will review the methodology used in a randomised sample of your fact checks to assess compliance with these criteria. No additional evidence is required.

Margot Susca Assessor
19-May-2023 (9 months ago) Updated: 9 months ago

For Criteria 5.2, I'll assess the methodology of the item also used in item 2.4 about Rep. Matt Gaetz and whether the Republican Congressperson had taken a $482,321 loan from the Small Business Administration's PPP (he had not). The fact check explains that the House Committee on Oversight and Accountability was holding a hearing on fraud and waste, which was generating incorrect social media posts. It explained its process by, once establishing the House meetings were taking place, showing his financial disclosures including in a company called Caregivers Inc. AP Fact Check then used federal records to show how much that company had received from PPP. It closed the piece explaining: "Lawmakers weren’t blocked from participating in the Paycheck Protection Program and businesses associated with several Republican and Democratic lawmakers benefited from it."

I mark this criteria compliant due to the thorough explanation of this criteria. 


done_all 5.2 marked as Compliant by Margot Susca.

Criteria 5.3
Proof you meet criteria
The assessor will review the methodology used in a randomised sample of your fact checks to assess compliance with these criteria. No additional evidence is required.

Margot Susca Assessor
19-May-2023 (9 months ago) Updated: 9 months ago

For Criteria 5.3, I evaluated the "Biden Administration isn't banning gas stoves" fact check published January 12, 2023. As it does with all of its items, AP Fact Check starts with a review of the claim and how such a matter became part of the public consciousness. Here, an official with the Consumer Product Safety Commission said "any option is on the table" about regulating gas stoves, which then spread to people believing wrongly that Biden wanted to take away their stoves. AP Fact Check connected with the CPSC chair, who said in a statement they had no place to ban gas stoves, but that the initial statement referred to the regulation of new products that may emit toxic chemicals. Turns out that older stoves may emit problematic materials and the AP cited health experts and noted local regulations looking to stop the spread of these chemicals. 

It's a clear explanation of the origin, the spread, and the outrage coupled with facts. As such, I mark Criteria 5.3 compliant. 


done_all 5.3 marked as Compliant by Margot Susca.

Criteria 5.4
Proof you meet criteria
The assessor will review the methodology used in a randomised sample of your fact checks to assess compliance with these criteria. No additional evidence is required.

Margot Susca Assessor
19-May-2023 (9 months ago) Updated: 9 months ago

For Criteria 5.5, I reviewed "Fake Trump mug shots spread in lieu of real one" published April 4, 2023. 

AP Fact Check explained: "The fabricated images, at least some of which were created using artificial intelligence text-to-image generators, fooled some social media users looking to track down the visual symbol of Trump being charged for 34 felony counts of falsifying business records." While the images may have been fabricated, AP noted Trump profited off of some of the fake images. 

AP Fact Check's methodology explained Trump's arrest and booking including when his mug shot would have been taken. Its methodology included noting the doctored photographs included "hallmarks of synthetic work." 

Based on this methodology and explanation, I mark this item compliant. 


done_all 5.4 marked as Compliant by Margot Susca.

Criteria 5.5
Proof you meet criteria
The assessor will review the methodology used in a randomised sample of your fact checks to assess compliance with these criteria. No additional evidence is required.

Margot Susca Assessor
19-May-2023 (9 months ago) Updated: 9 months ago

I reviewed "Phones given to US immigrants have limited uses" published May 24. This claim was judged false and fact checker Melissa Goldin explained why. 

Some immigrants who participate in a federal program receive phones. (The program is called Alternatives to Detention.) The phone allows them access only to the information for running this program. In order to verify, the AP Fact Check explained the phones and the program even explaining it reached out to the phone manufacturer. Once those were established, Goldin talked to an immigrations expert and provided details on how many people were enrolled the program according to federal statistics. 

Due to this detailed methodology, I mark Criteria 5.5 compliant. 



done_all 5.5 marked as Compliant by Margot Susca.

Criteria 5.6
Proof you meet criteria
Please describe how you encourage users to send in claims to check, while making it clear what readers can legitimately expect will be fact-checked and what isn’t fact-checkable. Include links where appropriate. If you do not allow this, explain why.

AP Fact Check
03-Apr-2023 (11 months ago) Updated: 10 months ago

This description of AP’s approach to fact-checking includes a section where the public is encouraged to email the team at FactCheck@ap.org with comments, questions and suggestions of claims to fact-check: https://apnews.com/article/ap-fact-check-234264975049. In addition, the heavily followed @APFactCheck Twitter account has open DMs, which the team watches for requests and suggestions. We make no specific promises about what sorts of claims will and won’t be fact-checked, as these decisions need to made on a case-by-case basis.                                                  

Margot Susca Assessor
19-May-2023 (9 months ago) Updated: 9 months ago

Any reasonable user of the AP Fact Check site would understand what is and is not up for review. It is clearly articulated online. As such, I mark Criteria 5.6 compliant. 


done_all 5.6 marked as Compliant by Margot Susca.

Section 6: A commitment to an Open & Honest Corrections Policy

To be compliant on corrections policy, applicants must meet these five criteria

  • 6.1 The applicant has a corrections or complaints policy that is easily visible and accessible on the organization’s website or frequently referenced in broadcasts.
  • 6.2 The policy sets out clear definitions of what it does and does not cover, how major mistakes, especially those requiring revised conclusions of a fact check, are handled, and the fact that some complaints may justify no response. This policy is adhered to scrupulously.
  • 6.3 Where credible evidence is provided that the applicant has made a mistake worthy of correction, the applicant makes a correction openly and transparently, seeking as far as possible to ensure that users of the original see the correction and the corrected version.
  • 6.4 The applicant, if an existing signatory, should either on its corrections/complaints page or on the page where it declares itself an IFCN signatory inform users that if they believe the signatory is violating the IFCN Code, they may inform the IFCN, with a link to the IFCN site.
  • 6.5 If the applicant is the fact-checking unit of a media company, it is a requirement of signatory status that the parent media company has and adheres to an open and honest corrections policy.

Criteria 6.1
Proof you meet criteria
Please provide a link to where you publish on your website your corrections or complaints policy. If you are primarily a broadcaster, please provide evidence you frequently reference your corrections policy in broadcasts.

AP Fact Check
03-Apr-2023 (11 months ago) Updated: 10 months ago

The AP Fact Check operation follows AP’s broader correction policy, which can be found here: https://www.ap.org/about/news-values-and-principles/telling-the-story/corrections-correctives

                                               

Margot Susca Assessor
19-May-2023 (9 months ago) Updated: 9 months ago

AP Fact Check has a corrections policy that is fair and accessible. As such, I mark Criteria 6.1 compliant. 


done_all 6.1 marked as Compliant by Margot Susca.

Criteria 6.2
Proof you meet criteria
The assessor will review the corrections policy to verify it meets critera. No additional information needed.

Margot Susca Assessor
19-May-2023 (9 months ago) Updated: 9 months ago

I can confirm through a review of its corrections policy that AP Fact Check meets IFCN's standards for fair and honest corrections. As such, I mark Criteria 6.2 compliant. 


done_all 6.2 marked as Compliant by Margot Susca.

Criteria 6.3
Proof you meet criteria
Please provide a short statement about how the policy was adhered to over the previous year (or six months if this is the first application) including evidence of two examples of the responses provided by the applicant to a correction request over the previous year. Where no correction request has been made in the previous year, you must state this in your application, which will be publicly available in the assessment if your application is successful.

AP Fact Check
03-Apr-2023 (11 months ago) Updated: 10 months ago

We watch for correction requests through the AP Fact Check email address, as well as the @APFactCheck Twitter account. We also field suggestions from fellow journalists around the AP, who tend to read each other’s stories quite closely. We take any correction suggestion very seriously, and consider each on its merits. We have no bias toward correcting, or not correcting – we simply assess whether there is something that is inaccurate, unfair or unclear. If there is, we make a change, and we explain the change we made in a note published on the item.

We made various minor corrections during the year. But we didn’t field any serious correction requests from the general public – or from subjects of our stories – during the past 12 months. What is more common is to hear from people who are unhappy about fact-checks we did. We take all input seriously and are careful to always take into consideration what is being said around our fact checks.  

Margot Susca Assessor
19-May-2023 (9 months ago) Updated: 9 months ago

Given that no "serious" correction requests were submitted nor corrections made and because I did not see any that would have qualified in this review, I mark Criteria 6.3 compliant. 


done_all 6.3 marked as Compliant by Margot Susca.

Criteria 6.4
Proof you meet criteria
If you are an existing signatory, please provide a link to show where on your site you inform users that if they believe you are violating the IFCN Code, they may inform the IFCN of this, with a link to the complaints page on the IFCN site.

AP Fact Check
03-Apr-2023 (11 months ago) Updated: 10 months ago

This is on the page where we explain our approach to fact-checking, toward the bottom: https://apnews.com/article/ap-fact-check-234264975049

Margot Susca Assessor
19-May-2023 (9 months ago) Updated: 9 months ago

The site reads: "You can also file a complaint with the International Fact Checking Network if you feel that AP or any other IFCN member has violated the fact-checkers’ code of principles." As such, I mark Criteria 6.4 compliant. 


done_all 6.4 marked as Compliant by Margot Susca.

Criteria 6.5
Proof you meet criteria
If you are the fact-checking unit of a media company, please provide a link to the parent media company’s honest and open corrections policy and provide evidence that it adheres to this.

AP Fact Check
03-Apr-2023 (11 months ago) Updated: 10 months ago

The AP Fact Check operation follows AP’s broader correction policy, which can be found here: https://www.ap.org/about/news-values-and-principles/telling-the-story/corrections-correctives.                                          

Margot Susca Assessor
19-May-2023 (9 months ago) Updated: 9 months ago

The Associated Press has an open and honest corrections policy. As such, I mark Criteria 6.5 compliant. 


done_all 6.5 marked as Compliant by Margot Susca.