In an era of widespread misinformation and disinformation, fact-checking has emerged as a crucial tool in countering falsehoods and ensuring the dissemination of accurate information. The Global Fact 10 conference organised by the International Fact-Checking Network (IFCN) in Seoul between 27 and 30 June 2023, brought together fact-checkers from around the world, providing a platform to share insights, experiences, and valuable lessons. The AFCN team was there, and through this article we delve into the diverse perspectives shared by fact-checkers representing different regions, highlighting the unique challenges they face and the valuable lessons learned in the battle against mis/disinformation.
Facts Matter, but audiences Matter too
One resounding theme echoed by fact-checkers worldwide is the importance of presenting factual information effectively. While it is essential to rigorously fact-check claims, it is equally vital to understand the audience‘s preferences and needs. Adapting the presentation of facts to resonate with diverse audiences and different platforms, ensures that the message is received and understood more effectively.
One size does not fit all when it comes to delivering factual information. Audiences have varied preferences, levels of knowledge, and communication styles. Recognizing these differences and adapting the presentation of facts accordingly can significantly enhance the impact of fact-checking efforts.
Studying mis/disinformation and its real impact
Fact-checkers have recognized that studying the nuances of mis/disinformation is fundamental to developing effective strategies for countering it. By understanding the underlying causes, motivations, and tactics employed by distributors of misleading content, fact-checkers can proactively address and debunk misinformation. Conducting research on the impact of fact-checking initiatives is equally important to assess whether they are influencing people’s behaviour towards mis/disinformation.
Ultimately, the combination of studying mis/disinformation and conducting research on the impact of fact-checking initiatives empowers fact-checkers to develop evidence-based approaches. It equips them with the knowledge and tools necessary to effectively debunk false claims, educate the public, and foster a more informed society.
Fact-checkers continue their pursuit of truth undeterred, despite being under attack
Fact-checkers across the globe confront a multitude of challenges in their pursuit of truth and accuracy. One significant challenge is the constant threats and harassment they face. As fact-checkers delve into debunking misinformation and exposing falsehoods, they often become targets of personal attacks, online abuse, and even threats to their safety. These attempts to intimidate or silence fact-checkers highlight the gravity of their work and the impact it has on countering misinformation.
“Fact-checkers around the world are under attack & harassment, but will always be on the side of the truth!” @AngieHolan the new director of @factchecknet at #GlobalFact10. @ArabFCNetwork pic.twitter.com/1RUpfvavby
— Saja H. Mortada (@MortadaSaja) June 28, 2023
Despite these difficulties, fact-checkers remain resolute in their commitment to upholding the truth. This was the main point addressed by all keynote speakers during GlobalFact10. Fact-checkers recognize the essential role they play in preserving the public’s right to accurate information and the overall integrity of the public discourse. The unwavering dedication of fact-checkers stems from their deep understanding of the harmful consequences of unchecked misinformation on society, democracy, and individual decision-making.
The power of collaboration
Fact-checkers understand that each organisation brings unique expertise and experiences to the table. By collaborating and exchanging knowledge, they can leverage the collective wisdom of the community to tackle misinformation more effectively. This includes sharing fact-checking methodologies, tools, and approaches, as well as discussing challenges and lessons learned. Through this collaboration, fact-checkers can continuously improve their practices and stay at the forefront of the fight against mis/disinformation.
Collaboration also extends to partnerships with research and tech companies, as they are increasingly interested in working with fact-checkers to tackle misinformation on their platforms.
This subject was also prominently addressed in a session that brought together regional fact-checking networks from MENA, Asia, Africa, Latin America, and Europe.
Harnessing the power of data and technology
Fact-checkers place significant emphasis on the value of data in their efforts to combat misinformation. They recognize the importance of gathering, documenting, analysing, and protecting data to enhance their fact-checking processes and improve effectiveness. By conscientiously collecting and documenting relevant information from credible sources, fact-checkers ensure transparency and accountability in their work. They employ analytical techniques to uncover patterns and inconsistencies within the data, enabling more comprehensive and nuanced assessments.
Moreover, fact-checkers understand the need to protect sensitive data, maintaining privacy and security throughout the fact-checking process. Additionally, fact-checkers acknowledge that their data can serve as a valuable resource for developing advanced tools and technologies, particularly in collaboration with AI researchers. By sharing their data, fact-checkers can contribute to the development of AI-driven tools that can automate and expedite the detection and countering of misinformation, thus enhancing the overall effectiveness of fact-checking efforts.
Tech companies’ increasing collaboration with fact-checkers
Tech companies have become aware of the damaging impact of misinformation on their platforms and the trust of their users. In response, they have shown a growing interest in collaborating with fact-checkers to tackle this issue effectively. This was discussed during several sessions of GlobalFact10 that hosted: Google, Youtube, Meta and Tiktok.
By working together, fact-checkers and tech companies can leverage their respective expertise to develop strategies that combat the spread of false information and promote the dissemination of accurate content.
A collaboration between fact-checkers and tech companies could include various aspects. First, fact-checkers can provide valuable insights and expertise in identifying and debunking misinformation, which can help tech companies refine their algorithms and content moderation systems. Such collaboration can enable tech companies to enhance their platforms’ ability to detect and flag misleading information, minimising its reach and impact.
Furthermore, fact-checkers can contribute to the development of policies and guidelines that govern content on tech platforms. By sharing their knowledge and experience, fact-checkers can assist tech companies in establishing robust frameworks to promote transparency, accuracy, and accountability in the information shared online. Such partnership can also foster a more responsible online environment and empowers users to make informed decisions based on reliable information.
The role of AI in transforming fact-checking
Artificial intelligence has emerged as a transformative force in the fact-checking field, offering immense potential to enhance the efficiency of fact-checking processes. AI-powered tools enable fact-checkers to automate labour-intensive tasks, such as information gathering, pattern recognition, and data analysis. By leveraging AI technology, fact-checkers can process large volumes of information in real-time, enabling them to identify and debunk misinformation more rapidly and effectively.
Moreover, AI can play a crucial role in expanding the reach of fact-checkers. AI-driven technologies can help fact-checkers present and adapt their content in a way to better suit specific demographics, languages, and regions, thus ensuring the widespread dissemination of accurate information. Additionally, AI can assist in identifying emerging trends and patterns in misinformation, enabling fact-checkers to proactively address and counter false narratives before they gain traction.
This particular theme emerged as a prominent topic during GlobalFact10, raising a crucial question about the role of AI in assisting fact-checking while preserving its human touch and fighting deep fakes.
In conclusion, The Global Fact 10 conference in Seoul, has highlighted the invaluable experiences and perspectives shared by fact-checkers from around the world. From the importance of presenting facts to better suit diverse audiences, to the importance of collaboration and the potential of AI, these insights serve as lessons for all in the fight against mis/disinformation. By learning from international experiences, Arab fact-checking organisations and fact-checkers can continue to refine their strategies, adapt to evolving challenges, and contribute to a more informed and truth-driven society.