How we choose subjects to fact-check
Every day, the Factnameh team reviews news stories, press releases, and speeches related to Iran. We also look at social media to find popular topics worth fact-checking. In order to provide timely fact-checks on the most pressing matters, Factnameh prioritizes statements made by high-ranking officials and influential public figures. We don’t discriminate or choose topics based on the origin or political alignment of those behind a claim.
Another way for us to find potential subjects to fact-check is through audience suggestions. Our readers and followers can reach out to us via social media or send us an anonymous tip through our Persian website.
Since Factnameh’s focus is primarily on Iran, our priority is to fact-check claims related to Iran and topics concerning the interest of people in the country. However, we do not fact-check the following types of subject:
- Personal opinions (statements that cannot be objectively verified)
- General comments, compliments, or obvious exaggeration
- Small mistakes that are simply slip of the tongue
Our fact-checking process
When reviewing a statement, we always try our best to contact the person or entity behind the claim first to inquire about their source of information and supporting data. To get the full picture, we try to determine what exactly was said and the context in which the statement was made by looking for reliable footage and audio recording. These early steps help us reach an internal consensus around what we should investigate.
We then start to collect relevant data from reliable sources, including:
- Information and data provided by international institutions such as the UN, WHO, and World Bank;
- Reputable national bodies such as the Statistical Center of Iran;
- Investigative bodies such as the Parliament’s Research Center (IPRC); and
- Peer-reviewed academic research data.
To make sure all possible angles are considered, we would also look into supplementary sources such as data from parallel statistical institutions, research institutes or other academic research papers to cross-check the information. In some cases, we may also reach out to subject matter experts to provide a more in-depth explanation of the subject at hand. Factnameh does not treat media sources, such as data and statements by officials in the media, as authentic primary data. We may refer to them as secondary sources if no other source is available and if it can be used to compare and contrast with the statement we are fact-checking.
Finally, we put together all the evidence and data gathered to rate the claim. During the final review the editorial team goes over the research process and each argument to ensure the reasoning is sound and logical. A final rating is decided jointly by the team.
Our fact-checking work is anchored in the principles of nonpartisanship. Factnameh does not compromise on our editorial standards and freedom for funders, partners, or foreign/local states. All staff and contractors working on Factnameh are trained to focus on fact-based analysis and reporting; and our Editor-in-Chief and Managing Editor review each fact-checking piece before they are published to ensure the content remains consistently objective and free of biases
There is no doubt that we make mistakes too. If you notice an error in our reporting, please reach out to us via social media channels (Telegram, Twitter, Instagram, or Facebook) or our website so we can investigate it. Factnamah will take immediate action to correct any errors identified. If the correction constitutes a major change in the content or more significantly, the rating of a fact-check, we will include a correction section in the article and communicate the mistake immediately online. Minor errors such as spelling or grammatical errors will simply be corrected without an announcement.
The statement or statistics are true. It is backed by available data and does not omit important details.
The statement or statistics are true, but more explanation or information is needed. In some cases, important details may have been left out.
The statements or statistics are not inaccurate, but are expressed in a misleading way as to obscure an important fact or distort the truth.
The statements or statistics cannot be confirmed or disproved by available data.
The statement or statistics are incorrect or at least one valid document refutes it.
The statement or the statistics are so inaccurate and ridiculous that it’s shocking.