It’s been four weeks since the Kremlin ordered its army to invade Ukraine. Since then, millions have been displaced, peaceful cities have been sieged and bombed, and tens of thousands of civilians and soldiers have died.
We’ve been moved by the images, videos, stories and reporting coming from towns and villages, and cities like Mariupol, Kharkiv and Kherson. The invasion is directly impacting members of our team and their families.
At the same time we are inspired by Ukrainians stepping up to defend their homeland, and by the NGOs, companies, governments and individuals coming to their aid across the world. It seems the idea of an “international community” can really mean something.
As an Irish technology company, there are limits on what we can do to help. But we’re not powerless. Our technology is second to none in detecting and quantifying the spread of news on social media, including disinformation. The Kremlin is well-practiced in information warfare and continues to be so in this conflict.
The day after the invasion began, we opened up free access to NewsWhip technology under our Data for Democracy program for all fact checkers targeting Russian disinformation, journalists working the disinformation beat, and researchers trying to understand it.
Since then, over 90 fact checking orgs, newsrooms and researchers have taken up our offer. These include journalists with a beat of identifying and quantifying disinfo narratives, researchers at universities trying to understand their spread and — most importantly — fact checkers with direct links to platforms like Facebook who can flag disinfo or coordinated inauthentic behavior.
We opened up this initiative without a clear time limit in mind, but a plan to review after a month. At this point we know we want to keep the program open at least through to May, and we’re still taking new users.
So if you know of any journalists, researchers or NGOs working on disinformation about Ukraine, working the ‘debunking beat’, or fact checking, please share our offer of free access with them. They can apply for access via our team at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Thanks to our Data for Democracy team, who have mobilized a lightning fast onboarding of so many new users on top of their already busy schedules.
And a special thank you to our customers and to the NewsWhip community for making this possible. We’re in a position to develop useful tools and open up access only because of your ongoing support.