Respondent Verification Protocol

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[Last Updated: January 1, 2021]

In order to establish that surveys are accomplished by real and authenticated persons, Social Pulse Asia commits to implement a strict and rigorous Respondent Verification Protocol.

This protocol is as follows:

There are three levels of verification that make up the Respondent Verification Protocol:

1. Group-level verification (Personal network-level verification)

1.1 Number of groups required to join. Applicant respondents (those who have filled out the “Identity” survey and are awaiting approval of their application subject to the Respondent Verification Protocol) are required to be approved members in at least three (3) Social Pulse Asia (henceforth “SP.A”)-listed groups. The only requirement here is that the admins of the three required groups cannot be the same people (or stated differently: the admins of the three groups have to be different people).

1.2 Bases of joining a group. The bases of their choice of which five groups to join must be any of the following:

1.2.1. They personally know any of the group admins/moderators and/or are existing FB friends with them (if they are not existing FB friends with any two of the current admins then they may request friendship with them);

1.2.2. The group features (bases of membership – like work, location, company, school) are consistent with their own profiles (example: if the applicant is a doctor, then they join doctor groups).

1.3. Forming a new group if needed. If there are no groups that the applicant respondent can join, then the applicant must form a new group and get the approval of the SP.A. There must be a minimum of two (2) admins in each SP.A-approved group before the first group member can be accepted. This is a quality control measure to ensure that even among the admins there is a verification level in place.

1.4. Confirmation of group membership. The VR applicant submits the names of the three groups he is required to join as he fills up the Identity survey. The respective admins of those three groups will be responsible for confirming the successful membership of the applicant in their respective groups.

1.5. Procedure for inviting group members. The group must be a private, visible group. Admins must invite only friends of theirs or friends of friends of theirs who satisfy the conditions listed below. Members may also invite new group applicants but the invite must be done by the admin.

1.5.1 The admins must personally know the Invitee. “Personally” knowing someone means that at one point or another in life (even old acquaintances 3 decades prior will still qualify) the admin has met the Invitee in person.

1.5.2. The admin may also invite a friend of a friend to be a group member. In these cases, that Invitee does not have to be a personal acquaintance of the admin but the friend of the admin (who is the Invitee’s friend) must be a personal acquaintance of the friend of the admin.

1.5.3. The Invitee must be an FB friend of at least one of the two group admins. If a target Invitee is not an FB friend of any admin, then as long as the the Invitee is personally known by an admin, they they can make the Invitee an FB friend of two admins.

1.5.4. This invitation rule – that is, up to a friend of a friend of the group admin – does not extend beyond this second level. If a friend of a friend of a friend of the group admin wants to be a member, either he has to be a direct, personal acquaintance of the admin or a direct, personal acquaintance of the friend of the admin. Otherwise, a new group and a new admin must be formed. This is a quality control procedure to ensure the quality of identity verification is maintained.

In summary, either conditions 1.5.1 and 1.5.3 must exist together, or conditions 1.5.2 and 1.5.3 must exist together in order for an invite to be sent to a potential group member.

1.6 Guidelines for the naming of groups to be created. Any person can form as many groups and invite as many friends as is desired. The naming though of the group has some guidelines to follow. The naming convention shall be as follows:

1.6.1. Naming convention:

1.6.1.1 Maximum name length is 81 characters.

1.6.1.2. The last required part of the group name is:
[Barangay Name].[City/Town Name].PH.SOCIALPULSE.ASIA

1.6.1.3. The respondent can choose any name he/she desires.
> name of group of friends
> street name
> company name
> village name

So the final name would be:
[Name chosen by respondent].[Barangay Name].[City/Town Name].PH.SOCIALPULSE.ASIA

1.6.1.4. There is no exclusivity rule as to the group naming. This means that, for example, there may be multiple groups that reference the same street or the same company name.

1.6.1.5. Examples

Example 1:
https://www.facebook.com/groups/4221979394496859
Group name: BREADLOVERS.BGYBARANGKA.MARIKINACITY.PH.SOCIALPULSE.ASIA

Example 2:
MEATLOVERS.BGYTUMANA.PASIGCITY.PH.SOCIALPULSE.ASIA

1.6.1.6 Guidelines on how many groups a respondent can join. A respondent can be a member of as many groups as is desired. This is because group membership reflects the profile of the respondent and so being a member of more groups increases the visibility and chances of that respondent to being included in population-forming stages of a story/survey (note here that population-forming is not equivalent to becoming a panelist because panelists are chosen based on a set criteria (at random, purposive)).

1.6.1.7. Bases for approval of membership in groups. The following are the bases for approval by group admins of applications to join their groups. Both bases must be true for an approval to happen.

a. One of two conditions must hold true here: First, at least one of the group admins must know the applicant personally (see 1.5.1 on the definition of “personally”); or, Second, in cases where the Invitee is a referral of an existing member, then that Invitee must be a personal acquaintance of the existing member.

b. The applicant must be an FB friend of at least one of the admins.

1.6.1.8. Approval of group creation and approval of group admins. SOCIALPULSE.ASIA is responsible for accepting applications for group creation, for reviewing the compliance with the rules for group creation, and for approval of the group’s creation. SP.A shall be responsible for doing the Respondent Verification Protocol on each of the group admins. If a new admin is brought in and that person is already a Verified Respondent, then there is no need for SP.A to do another identity check.

2. Documentary-level verification (at SP.A)

Every story or commissioned survey will require a research population to be constituted. Only confirmed group members can be included in these research populations. Panelists are then to be chosen (either at random or based on an agreed sampling procedure) from these research populations. SP.A then does random sampling on these chosen panelists in order to do second-level, documentary verification using the documents submitted in the Identity survey. Once this random, documentary-level verification is satisfactorily completed, then the panelists can begin answering survey questions.

This documentary-level verification shall be implemented as follows:

2.1. One hundred percent (100%) of those randomly chosen from a research panel shall have been matched successfully between their submitted government-issued identification documents (with photos and residence address: driver’s license, SSS/Tax/Philhealth, passport, etc – following the accepted documents listed by the Department of Foreign Affairs at https://consular.dfa.gov.ph/list-of-acceptable-ids-passport) and their provided names and current pictures.

2.2. One hundred percent (100%) of those randomly chosen from a research panel shall have been matched successfully between their submitted identification documents (cited in #1 above) and their submitted proof of address (as listed in #2 at https://www.postalidph.com/requirements.html).

2.3. Random video verification shall be implemented, as necessary, to establish if the identity submitted by the respondent applicant matches when compared against pictures shown in submitted identity documents and whether these match with pictures of the person in the video call.

2.4. Random in-person checks shall be done regularly to establish matches between submitted residential addresses and actual residential locations.

2.5. Random phone number verification checks shall be implemented.

2.6. A social media verification protocol shall be implemented (for those applicants who voluntarily choose to have a social media presence) as follows:

2.6.1 Links to the applicant’s social media shall be solicited (currently: Facebook (FB), Instagram (IG), Twitter or TikTok).

2.6.2 Verification by endorsement from references: The applicant shall be asked to submit the FB profile links of at least five potential references who will be subsequently contacted by SP.A to request an identity endorsement. It is assumed here that the applicant respondent must have a personal acquaintance and relationship with the submitted reference such that when SP.A requests for the endorsement, the reference is able to competently provide an endorsement. Acceptable references are the following: current or former local government officials in the locality where the respondent is residing, local leaders or community representatives (such as locally-based religious or socio-civic organizations; local businessmen, etc); former employers.

3. Continuing Random Verification of Group Members

A third-layer of verification is done by SP.A on the groups in order to ensure their quality.

3.1. FB friend check. This regular, random check involves going to the FB page of a group member and checking if two of the admins are FB friends. This serves as an extra layer of quality control to check compliance with the rule that group members must be FB friends of at least two of the group admins (see 1.6.1.7 above).

3.2. Documentary-level check. SP.A will also do regular spot/random, documentary-level verification of group members even if they are not chosen as research populations.

4. Verification of Express Consent Declared to be Possessed by Respondents below 18 years of age.

4.1 In SP.A surveys specifically needing respondents who are below 18 years old – such as , for example the YOUTH LIFE (ages 15-30) and ONLINE SCHOOLING (ages 7-14) surveys – participating respondents are initially asked (while they are filling up the qualifying survey called the Respondent Core Profile) to explicitly declare their possession of the required express consent from their parent or legal guardian.

4.2 Before respondents are given access to the survey proper (that is, the actual survey targeting respondents below 18 years of age), SP.A will conduct the necessary and relevant verifications needed to ascertain the truthfulness of the declaration of possession of express consent by the respondent. Only those respondents passing these verification protocols are given entry to the relevant surveys.

4.3 These verification processes may include any or all of the following protocols: conducting a supplementary survey asking the parents or legal guardians and assisting adults (if any) to declare their identities and contact information, asking respondents to submit documentation showing the signed, express content that they have declared to be in possession of, conducting random selection of a subset of respondents from the target participating respondents and doing manual verification by call, video or chat.