Fighting Fake News
In the fight against fake news, we provide the best weapon we can: our predictive data about what misinformation might be spreading. The actual fighters – NGOs, news organisations, and others – put this to work in a myriad of clever ways.
Here are some of the ways our tools have been used to fight fake news:
First Draft & CrossCheck
After the impact of fake news in the US Election, publishers were more vigilant than ever to stop misinformation around campaigns and candidates.
First Draft, a non-profit organization, emerged as a leader in verifying news through UGC experts, through its CrossCheck initiative. We work with the CrossCheck team today on a number of initiatives around the world to aid their mission to fight fake news, and have had success at elections in France, the UK and Germany.
Our flagship initiative with CrossCheck was in the April to May 2017 French Presidential Election.
NewsWhip provided journalists working with CrossCheck with free access to and training our Spike product, which predicts the spread and velocity of stories across multiple social networks. With it, journalists were able to pinpoint the stories catching fire specifically in France, and understand their spread across social. Also, by predicting whether a story would be big or not, volunteers were able to make quick calls on which misinformation to address, and which to ignore.
“Spike was probably the most useful tool to help us out in what we were doing. We always had this tension between ‘putting fuel on the fire’ or the question of ‘are we too late,’ and the story has travelled halfway around the world already. That was really where Spike came into its own.” said Sam Dubberley, the project manager of the initiative.
Our CEO and co-founder Paul Quigley was interviewed by Bloomberg at the time of the initiative, noting the impact that fact-checking had on 2017 elections when compared with 2016.
In addition to our work with Cross Check in France, we also supported First Draft’s initiatives in a number of other countries around the world, including the Cross Check Nigeria project, and the Comprova Brazil project that encompassed dozens of newsrooms fact-checking the 2018 Brazilian election.
We are also supporting Confirmado project in Guatemala run by journalist Luis Assaedo. The project looked at the spread of news in the Guatemalan elections in 2019, and attempted to combat the proliferation of misinformation in the country using the same methodology as Mexico’s Verificado project from previous years.
We provided Luis and his team with free access to our Spike tool to use in a similar way as Cross Check did; to identify fake news or misleading information that is spreading at a high pace and then use that information to prioritize what to debunk. The partnership is set to last through the Guatemalan elections in late 2019.
Finally, beyond specific election initiatives, we support a number of news organizations that are participants in Facebook’s fact-checking program. These news organisations can predictively identify which stories should be debunked, and in turn downgraded by Facebook in its news feed.