The Factual

FAQ: Credibility Grade

Why should I trust The Factual Credibility grade for articles?

The Factual automatically calculates the probability that an individual article is credible. This is based on four factors:

Because the calculation is automated and devoid of human involvement, criteria are consistently applied across articles and sources. More on the rating algorithm.

Also, because grades are specific to an article and not a publication, scores vary within a publication. For example, here is a medium credibility article and here is a high credibility article, both at the New York Times.

What does The Factual credibility grade mean?

The Factual automatically calculates the probability that an individual article is credible.

How reliable is The Factual's credibility grade?

The Factual rates 10,000+ articles a day and gets better each day as it evaluates more articles, sources, and authors. Some known issues:

Why is my favorite site or journalist rated poorly?

Many popular journalists write articles with very few links or are highly opinionated. This may be because of their writing style or policies of their publisher/editor. Such articles will rank poorly with The Factual. While this may seem unfair, it is incumbent on journalists (and publishers) to link to good sources and moderate their opinions, particularly in today's climate of distrust in the media.

As the American Press Institute says journalism is a "discipline of verification." Online, it's easy to quote and link to sources so journalists who do so often will rightfully score more highly. The Factual assesses this approach--and more--so that you, the reader, can feel confident you're reading highly credible news.

A forthcoming update will credit journalists who are cited most, which typically correlates with those who break stories.

Where does your bias data come from?

The political bias data come from a combination of sources:

The above data sources are being replaced by a machine learning algorithm that rates bias based on text patterns. That said, there is no uniformly accepted way to judge bias of a news site, therefore this information is directionally useful rather than exact.

FAQ: The Factual Chrome extension

How does The Factual inject grades into Facebook and Twitter?

The extension looks to see if a post in your Facebook or Twitter feed is a news article from one of 1000 news sites. If so it fetches the content and rates it like any other article. Click on the grade to see grade details and suggested related articles across the political spectrum.

One limitation is not being able to rate sites like The Associated Press or Smithsonian Magazine because their URL in Twitter are mangled.

What data do you store?

The Factual does not have advertising, so we collect minimal information. Whatever data we do collect is not shared with any third parties.

FAQ: The Factual Inc.

How does The Factual make money?

We plan to roll out a subscription to our email newsletter that gives you access to premium features at an affordable price. The Chrome extension will remain free.

How can I trust you?

We do not produce any news ourselves and are not affiliated with any political group or cause.
The majority of the company is owned by the founders, and the founders are the only board members.
The company has a geographically diverse team to reduce our own inherent biases.
We are transparent about our algorithm's scoring model and make changes when we receive valid criticism.