Fact-Checking

How is the fact-checking process at our section Comprueba?

Fact-Checking

How is the fact-checking process at our section Comprueba?

Versión en español

The COVID-19 pandemic has revealed one unquestionable truth: information is power. But we need to ask ourselves: What type of information? Recently, fake news and misrepresented scientific data have caused as much, or perhaps even more, damage than the coronavirus itself. Thinking about health, people form habits based on the news they consume, believe and share, and those habits impact their well-being. That is why this section of our website, called “Comprueba” (or “Verify” in English) offers our readers a variety of relevant health news stories, all based on rigorously verified information. While scientists work to find the cure for the coronavirus, the rest of us can learn how to keep ourselves well-informed, a habit we need to continue forming every day.

How do we do our fact-checking?

Reliable sources are the foundation of everything we do, and our “Verify” section combines the strengths of journalism and science. For all the articles in this section of our site, our journalists at Salud Con Lupa work in collaboration with scientists from the Epistemonikos Foundation, a Chilean nonprofit specialized in the systematic review of scientific information related to health. The Epistemonikos Foundation is supported by a community of science experts and also has a collaborative, multilingual database of health evidence comprised of more than 100,000 studies. The health and science information provided by the Epistemonikos Foundation helps us detect lies being circulated about public health and determine which topics we should be investigating.

What do we publish?

The content we create for “Verify” can be broken down into two categories: explainers and fact-checks. An explainer is an article that allows readers to clearly understand scientific facts. Sometimes, in their quest to simplify science data, media organizations end up misrepresenting the original information. Our explainers will show our readers the bigger picture related to a specific topic and clearly state the scientific evidence related to that topic. The goal with these explainers is to provide our readers the essential information they need to make responsible decisions. Here is one of our explainers about the coronavirus (in Spanish): You Can Open Your Windows, The Coronavirus Isn’t An Invisible Cloud In The Air

A fact-check, on the other hand, is an article with a more specific purpose - to prove if something is true or false. By nature, it isn’t always possible to come up with a straightforward answer to this question. Acknowleding this reality, for our verifications we will review all available scientific evidence to provide readers with fact-checks well supported by scientific information. As an example, here is one of our fact-checks (in Spanish): There Is Not Evidence To Support That Two Malaria Medications Work To Treat COVID-19

For both our explainers and fact-checks, we will provide links to the sources we analyzed so that our readers can look further into any given topic themselves.

What do we plan to do going forward?

Health information is perhaps the information with the most direct impact on our lives; based on what we know about health, many of us decide what to eat, what medications we want to trust and what healthcare treatments we want to choose. That is why it is crucial that we make those decisions with information that is “healthy” too, free from lies and manipulation.

The “Verify” section of our site will also feature a project called the Lupa Colectiva (or “the Magnifying Glass Collective”, in English). With this project we will create a community of specialized, Spanish-language fact-checkers. Soon, we will launch a virtual whiteboard where journalists, scientists, health professionals and citizen contributors who are interested in rigorous fact-checking can share the information they review. They will also be able to propose topics for further verification.

We do not intend for Salud Con Lupa to become a source for medical advice. We understand that everyone has a unique medical history and it is critical that everyone seeks guidance from doctors and other medical professionals. Our goal with Salud Con Lupa is to discredit false claims about public health, which are all over the internet, and provide rigorously verified information. The health topics we decide to fact-check will be determined both directly and indirectly by input from our Spanish-speaking readers.

Salud Con Lupa is part of the #CoronaVirusFacts/ #DatosCoronaVirus Alliance created by the Poynter Institute’s International Fact-Checking Network. More than 100 fact-checking organizations worldwide are part of this initiative, working to fight misinformation related to the COVID-19 pandemic. Salud Con Lupa is also a part of the LatamChequea (Latin American Fact-Checking) Network, a collaborative initiative designed to provide verified, clear information to the public.

Fabiola Torres
ICFJ Knight Fellow
Director of Salud con lupa

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