The IFCN does not publish fact checks and is therefore not eligible to be a signatory of its own code of principles. With this document, however, we seek to provide a comparable level of transparency about our activities to that which we recommend in the code.
Legal structure (criterion 1a)
The International Fact-Checking Network is a business unit of the Poynter Institute for Media Studies, a nonprofit journalism training institution. Poynter is registered as a 501(c)(3). Poynter is also the nonprofit owner of The Tampa Bay Times. The Director of the International Fact-Checking Network and all its staff are employees of the Poynter Institute. They choose to avail themselves of the advice of fact-checkers around the world through several means. The most important of these is the IFCN Advisory Board, which has an exclusively consultative role.
Published work (1b)
The IFCN has a dedicated section on the Poynter website where we cover trends, formats and news regarding fact-checking, “fake news” and misinformation.
The IFCN does not take sides in any policy discussion beyond access to information and fact-checking. Our staffers cannot be members of political parties nor publicly support candidates for elected office.
Transparency of funding (4a)
The major donors of The Poynter Institute are listed at this link. Tax filings are available here. From its launch in 2015, the IFCN has received funding from the following organizations: Arthur M. Blank Family Foundation, the Duke Reporters’ Lab, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, Google, the National Endowment for Democracy, the Omidyar Network, the Open Society Foundations and the Park Foundation. Here is a breakdown of the IFCN’s 2017 budget specifically.
Transparency of organization / contact details (4b, 4c)
The current Advisory Board is composed of Angie Holan (PolitiFact), Baybars Orsek (Dogruluk Payi), Govindraj Ethiraj (Factchecker.in), Glenn Kessler (Washington Post), Laura Zommer (Chequeado), by Peter Cunliffe-Jones (Africa Check) and Phoebe Arnold (Full Fact). The Board was selected by IFCN Director Alexios Mantzarlis in December 2016 with an effort to represent the diversity and excellence of the fact-checking community. Their term was renewed for two years in December 2017 and ratified by the verified signatories of the IFCN code of principles. Board members who resign or leave fact-checking projects will be replaced through a simple majority vote of the remaining Board members plus the Director of the IFCN. Starting in 2020, the Board will be elected by the verified signatories of the IFCN code of principles. The Advisory Board’s principal role is to help oversee the verification process of the code of principles, but it is consulted on all other decisions that have an international relevance for fact-checkers. The Board must approve with a majority vote the hiring and firing of the IFCN Director.
Board members are unpaid.
Bill Adair (Duke Reporters’ Lab) serves as an IFCN Advisor honoris causa.
The pool of external assessors whom we ask to evaluate aspiring signatories of the code of principles is available here.
In early 2018, PolitiFact moved its headquarters from The Tampa Bay Times to the Poynter Institute. The IFCN was not involved in the ideation or the execution of the move. The relationship between the two projects remains essentially unvaried: any coverage of PolitiFact previously disclosed that it was a project of the Poynter-owned Tampa Bay Times and now discloses it as a Poynter-owned project. IFCN staff do not write, edit or review any of PolitiFact's editorial output.
IFCN staff will help surface common positions among the world's fact-checkers when asked. Following consultations among verified signatories and other key actors in the fact-checking community, the IFCN may advocate for these positions with third parties. In doing so, it always makes clear which organizations it does or doesn't speak for. For instance, in November 2016, the IFCN coordinated an open letter to Mark Zuckerberg.