How We Work
Impartiality and IntegrityWe are completely non-partisan and neither staff nor contributors are affiliated with any political parties, officials or candidates. We do not take sides in any political debates on any issues except for transparency, accuracy and information integrity. Team members are forbidden from engaging in advocacy. While every citizen is free to have her or his own opinion, contributors do not express their opinions publicly on issues of social significance in any way which might lead the public to see the work of Factcheck.bg as biased. We recognize the enormous social responsibility of fact-checking. We are dedicated to complete fairness and impartiality on all sides of every issue. The team employs constant vigilance to maintain awareness of bias and to avoid favoring any side of any issue. We avoid even the appearance of bias or potential conflict of interest because it would compromise the quality of our work.
Editorial IndependenceThe same impartiality applies to relations with our funders. Our sponsors share our concern for information integrity and we are grateful that they support our approach. Yet funders play no role in the choice of claims we check or how they are verified and have no influence over how we work. Factcheck.bg alone has full responsibility for all editorial decisions. The team verifies every claim equally - regardless of whether or not they may overlap or conflict with the interests of our funders.
Transparency of MethodologyWe examine both sides of every claim: evidence that appears to support the claim and evidence that refutes it. We evaluate all evidence to the same high standards that we apply to all equivalent statements, regardless of the source of those statements. We only verify claims which are presented as facts and can be shown to be true or false. We can not and do not try to verify opinions. We prioritize the claims we check based on a combination of three factors: appearing dubious on the surface; having potential significant social impact because of the subject matter or the speaker's public position or influence; reaching a wide audience, based on the amount of engagements on social media or size of the television, radio or print media market. When appropriate and necessary to verify a claim, we seek to contact the source and include their response to questions about their statement and evidence which counters their claim.
How We Work on Selected ClaimsAll potential claims are first considered in editorial meetings. The discussion includes potential conflicts, best journalistic approaches to the issue and finding information and assigning a journalist to work on the topic. Sometimes additional research is needed before the decision is made about whether a claim should be assigned to a journalist as a fact check. The reporter discusses with the editor the sources, experts, visual materials and general structure of the article. Once the journalist completes the draft, other members of the team read and comment on the article, and suggest potential edits. The editor exercises final responsibility for the clarity and accuracy of the article before giving a green light for publication.
Transparency of SourcesAll information sources used to verify claims are clearly identified so that users can evaluate their credibility and carry out their own verifications if they wish. Anonymous sources are acceptable only when identifying the source would jeopardize his/her personal security. Primary information sources are the most reliable and are always used whenever possible. Only when such sources are not available are secondary sources used. This lack of availability will be duly explained. We use reputable sources such as official statistics, scientific articles published in reputable journals, papers by prominent think tanks and other NGOs, academia and experts with reputations for excellence and neutrality. We also consult books, news reports and fact-checks published by other organizations. Key elements of all claims are verified based on at least two reliable information sources, except in cases when only one such source is relevant. If any sources cited have financial or other interests that may affect the accuracy or credibility of the evidence provided, such potential conflicts are disclosed so that readers themselves can assess the reliability of the information. We always include links to source materials in our articles, preferably in Bulgarian whenever possible. We also archive screenshots of webpages, social media posts, TV shows, and other sources for potential future reference. We use graphs and charts in order to show data or interconnections. Whenever appropriate, our fact checks include explanations why a specific claim was checked or a description of our research process and why a certain source was selected, in order for the public to better understand fact-checking and learn to do it themselves. We add more background reporting and context when fact-checking a topic unfamiliar to the Bulgarian public.
Type of VerdictsIn the end of the text we summarize the main outcomes of our research and state one of four verdicts in our rating system: true, false, misleading, and unsubstantiated. True means that the facts behind the claim are accurate and the claim is substantiated by evidence. False means that the facts behind the claim are not accurate and the claim is not backed up by evidence. Misleading means that the claim contains both accurate and inaccurate information, or information twisted or taken out of context in order to reach the conclusion desired by the source. Unsubstantiated means that there’s not enough evidence to conclude whether a claim is true or false.
Communication with ReadersFactcheck.bg welcomes engagement with readers and all efforts to improve the scope, quality and accuracy of our work. We greatly value general comments about our work: anything you think we are doing right or anything which you think we could do better. Praise, criticism or suggestions for improvement are all appreciated by our staff and seriously considered as we make efforts to improve our operations. To share general comments get in touch with us here: [email protected]. Please read here about our CORRECTION POLICY.
If you have encountered a dubious claim online or in traditional media which you think Factcheck.bg should verify, please send detailed information including a link or media citation including the name of the media organization, date and time (if radio or television broadcast) or page number (if print), and why you think it may be false. Note: we can only check claims which are presented as facts which are verifiable. Personal opinions can not and will not be fact-checked. Please use this form to tell us if you have encountered a dubious claim you think needs to be checked: https://factcheck.bg/en/send/