Full Fact awarded $500,000 to build automated factchecking tools


Full Fact, the UK's independent, non-partisan factchecking organisation has secured $500,000 in funding for two new automated tools to transform factchecking and the international battle against fake news. They are called LIVE and TRENDS.

Both tools will be based on one powerful and modular factchecking engine. Key factcheckers from around the world will be able to plug in custom components that make their work more effective.

The game-changing investment comes from the Omidyar Network, the leading philanthropic investment firm established by eBay founder Pierre Omidyar and Open Society Foundations (OSF), the largest philanthropic funder of human rights in the world, founded by George Soros.

Three leading factchecking organisations, Full Fact, Africa Check, and Argentina's Chequeado have agreed to share open standards to make sure these tools can have a global impact and encourage other factcheckers and researchers to get involved.

What do the tools do?

By monitoring TV subtitles or other real time sources, LIVE flags when anyone repeats a claim that has already been checked and takes you straight to the most recent factcheck.

LIVE will also spot claims that haven’t been factchecked before - but reliable data does exist for - and creates a snap factcheck on the spot using that data.

TRENDS records every repetition of a claim we know is wrong and where it comes from so we can keep track of who, or what, is persistently pushing misleading claims out into the world.

LIVE AND TRENDS will be going into newsrooms and factchecking offices in a closed beta by the end of this year. LIVE and TRENDS are planned to be more generally available in 2018.

"Modern technology allows misleading claims to be spread at a faster rate than ever before. Full Fact’s automated factchecking tools help us keep up with the pace of misinformation by doing grunt work - so factcheckers can concentrate on the most complex and important claims," said Will Moy, Full Fact’s Director.

"The next step is to develop a global infrastructure for automated factchecking. LIVE and TRENDS are central to that. We’ll be talking more about this at the Global Fact conference in Madrid next week."

"This is an important investment in the future of factchecking. These tools will expand the reach and impact of factcheckers around the world, ensuring citizens are properly informed and those in positions of power are held accountable," said Stephen King, Partner and global lead for the Governance & Citizen Engagement initiative at Omidyar Network.

"Independent, reliable journalism is the cornerstone of open societies and through these new, transformative tools Full Fact will make a vital contribution to defending and strengthening this work," said a spokesperson for the OSF.

This is the first time funding of this size has been invested in automated factchecking tools. Google's Digital News Initiative provided Full Fact with a prototype funding grant of €50,000for automated factchecking in 2016.

You can read more about what we're building and why, here

Image: Susana Fernandez.