International Factchecking Network Code of Principles

26 September 2016 | Amy Hawkins

Full Fact has signed up to an international Code of Principles for factcheckers.

The code, which Full Fact helped design, sets out the basic standards for factchecking, emphasising the importance of transparency and impartiality. Many of the principles are reflected in what we do already.

In the age of 24 hour social media, with more and more unsubstantiated and partisan groups claiming the word “factchecked” when their work is anything but, it’s important to have a public set of standards that serious factcheckers will adhere to.

The Code revolves primarily around transparency: factcheckers should publish their methodology, their sources, and their funding. Most importantly, they should be open to and honest about corrections.

The principles are intentionally broad. Factcheckers around the world work in very different political environments, some more risky than others. Thankfully here in the UK, we’ve never had to worry about the safety of one of our sources, and we are able to push for source material to be freely and publicly available. But the five themes of the Code of Principles represent a common thread of factchecking around the world, and of making sure everybody has access to good information.

The code has been signed by 35 organisations from 27 countries. Signatories include: Full Fact, Africa Check, Chequeado,, PolitiFact, Snopes, and the Washington Post’s Fact Checker.

Full Fact is the UK's only independent, nationwide, factchecking organisation. We're proud to be alongside FactCheckNI as the only UK signatories of the Code of Principles so far.

You can read the full list here.

International Factchecking Network Code of Principles

  1. A commitment to non-partisanship and fairnessWe factcheck claims using the same standard for every factcheck. We do not concentrate our factchecking on any one side. We follow the same process for every factcheck and let the evidence dictate our conclusions. We do not advocate or take policy positions on the issues we factcheck.
  2. A commitment to transparency of sources. We want our readers to be able to verify our findings themselves. We provide all sources in enough detail that readers can replicate  our work, except in cases where a source's personal security could be compromised. In such cases, we provide as much detail as possible.
  3. A commitment to transparency of funding and organisationWe are transparent about our funding sources. If we accept funding from other organizations, we ensure that funders have no influence over the conclusions we reach in our reports. We detail the professional background of all key figures in our organization and explain our organizational structure and legal status. We clearly indicate a way for readers to communicate with us.
  4. A commitment to transparency of methodology. We explain the methodology we use to select, research, write, edit, publish and correct our factchecks. We encourage readers to send us claims to factcheck and are transparent on why and how we factcheck.
  5. A commitment to open and honest corrections. We publish our corrections policy and follow it scrupulously. We correct clearly and transparently in line with our corrections policy, seeking so far as possible that our readers see the corrected version.

Update 27 September 2016: This article was updated to reflect that fact that Full Fact and FactCheckNI are the only UK signatories of the Code.

Update 28 January 2019: The link to the IFCN code of principles was updated, as the URL has changed.

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