Selection of claims: The Searchlight receives claims via social media platforms like Facebook, Twitter, Sharechat, Instagram,Youtube etc, and also email and WhatsApp tipline. The claims are selected on the parameters of the factors such as the virality of the claim, the source of the claim, and is the claim provocative and can lead to violence or physical harm. Based on these factors, the claims will be debunked. Enough care is taken to ensure there is no bias of any kind while selecting the claim.
Type of claims: The claims chosen are viral mostly in the areas of Politics, Health, science, climate, government schemes, etc. The Searchlight team monitors various people, groups, and pages on different social media platforms. We also examine memes and viral images. We also update ourselves by browsing through everyday news stories, speeches of political leaders, press releases, and various social media accounts.
Sources and tools to verify: After selecting the claim, The Searchlight Team verifies it systematically using authentic sources and tools. We use tools like Google reverse image search, Yandex reverse image search for images, and also tools like invid to break a video into frames and search using the reverse image search. We are also in constant contact with local authorities, and police officials and refer to the official data to get the first-hand story of the circumstances. We also take only authentic news articles as sources while researching the information. Contacting the persons related to the claim and also consulting reputed experts is also done whenever needed. More than one tool and method will be used while assessing the claims.
How we write fact check: Once the claim is established, research undertaken, and evaluated, we publish articles furnishing all the details. We use simple language while writing about the claim, the process followed to assess the claim, and also quote the sources while explaining the process to the readers. The authoritative sources such as news websites, image-sharing websites, and also documents from the authorities are published in the fact check. Relevant data/information is presented in the form of tables, charts, etc. to validate the fact check. If the information is inadequate, we refrain from publishing our own conclusions. Every fact check published is edited by a sub-editor to avoid any errors.
Rating: Based on the above research, a conclusion is arrived at. The broad ratings we follow are – TRUE – PARTLY TRUE – FALSE – MISLEADING – UNVERIFIED.
Corrections: If there are any updates or corrections, The Searchlight never shies away from correcting the information and updating it for the readers. Readers are encouraged to write to us with any corrections through the ‘Contact Us’. All such communication is taken very seriously and relevant corrections are made if they are found to be valid within 48 hours of the receipt of a correction email or message. Readers are also encouraged to submit claims through e-mail. In case of an error, we acknowledge that we have been wrong and correct it. We update the users about the corrections on our corrections policy page.