Skip to main content

Frequently Asked Questions – Comprobado

What is Comprobado?

Comprobado is a collaborative project between 16 different newsrooms that have come together to fight disinformation, both in public and political discourse, ahead of Spain’s general election on 28 April 2019. Comprobado is coordinated by Maldita.es and First Draft.

Who are the participants in Comprobado?

RTVE, EFE, Europa Press, Servimedia, AFP, El Confidencial, eldiario.es, Público, La Marea, El Diario de Navarra, El Faradio, Politibot, Datadista, Ara, Newtral and Maldita.es.

What was the process behind Comprobado?

In January 2019, Maldita.es, in collaboration with First Draft, invited forty newsrooms to an event organised in Madrid at the end of February. We had two objectives:

  1. To raise awareness amongst newsrooms throughout Spain that disinformation is a problem that needs to be combated.
  2. To explain that the battle against disinformation is more effectively fought, and has greater impact, when it is done through collaboration.

Previously, First Draft had created Crosscheck projects that had proven to be effective tools against disinformation in countries like France and Brazil. This project now reaches Spain. During those two days in Madrid — and with the guidance of several experts — the journalists received training in digital verification and engaged in debates about how and why verification is important.

Attendance at the conference did not mean automatic adherence to the project: each newsroom had several months to assess whether it wanted to participate in the collaboration.

How will you work together?

To ensure that all participants are following the same rules, we have developed Guiding Principles, which all Comprobado members must follow. In our Guiding Principles, we explain how the project will be conducted and the ethical and journalistic requirements to which we adhere. You can read the Guiding Principles here.

Okay, so what are the readers going to see?

The participating members of Comprobado can decide whether or not to publish the verifications they consider to be journalistically important. Not all media outlets will place the same importance on the same things as other media outlets, which is why we can decide what we publish and what we don’t publish. Journalists working on the project participate collaboratively regardless of the medium they work for: they locate the hoaxes together and investigate them together, each one finding and providing clues for verification. Additionally, the participating journalists control each other’s work and the final result. You will not see any published Comprobado verification that has not been checked and approved by at least three participant newsrooms.

So, can I be sure that something is a lie when Comprobado tells me so?

In addition to verification by at least three Comprobado members, our work is based on a methodology that we have previously agreed upon and that you can read about in our Guiding Principles. We have established that we will verify things that are going viral, and things that are dangerous. In addition, we will always go to the primary sources in the thing that we are verifying and to those affected by it. We have also agreed that our verifications must be based on independently verified data or facts. This is all to ensure that we can go and tell you that something is a lie.

What if you are wrong?

We are human, and as humans, it is possible that we may make mistakes. If we make a mistake, we will be transparent. The members involved in the error will correct the mistake, devoting the same amount of space and time to the correction as to the original error. Our correction policy is included in our Guiding Principles.

If you believe we have published something in error, please let us know at [email protected].

Who pays the journalists who work at Comprobado?

Journalists participating in Comprobado are paid by the media outlet that has employed them for the rest of the year. This is not a project in which none of the participants make money. We created this project because we believe it is important to fight lies so that citizens have better information when making decisions.

Can more media outlets join Comprobado?

Yes, media outlets may join as long as they commit to following the Code of Principles and their admission is approved by the members of Comprobado. The process for admission is described in the Guiding Principles, which you can read here.