The Fact-Checking Development Fund will support 22 projects from 12 countries. The winners, who are splitting $1 million from received from YouTube (via the Google News Initiative), will develop new tools to improve fact-checking workflows, new formats to reach new audiences and, especially, use video to disseminate accurate information.
Twelve of the 22 awarded projects will focus on videos, five will test formats and five will develop new ways to speed up the fact-checking process.
Winners were selected from a list of 141 applications received by the IFCN and analyzed by a committee composed of 10 members. Each application was first reviewed by IFCN’s staff and then graded by the jury.
Selection committee member and Södertörn University associate professor Ester Appelgren said the high quality of the submitted proposals made the final selection process difficult.
“In my opinion, all of the submitted applications are important, trustworthy and relevant. I wish all of them could have been granted funding,” Appelgren said.
IFCN director Baybars Örsek expressed his gratitude to the committee and reiterated the importance of supporting the fact-checking community.
“Fact-checking organizations around the world have been on the frontline in the fight against misinformation during these unprecedented times, and we feel blessed to be able to get so many applications across different topics,” Örsek said.
He also expressed his gratitude to YouTube and the Google News Initiative for supporting the program, saying “we look forward to deepening this partnership in the months and years to come.”
The grant winners are spread across four continents — Europe, North America, Africa and Asia.
They have six months to develop and complete their projects, and are expected to submit progress reports at the halfway point and at the end of the six-month period.
Read below about each grant winner and their projects, divided by category:
1. Developing tools to support fact-checking workflows
USA TODAY Network (United States)
Project: USA Today: Google Fact Check / $38,400
Description: This project will be automating the generation of fact check markup in USA Today’s content management system with the use of a system tag, scaled across the company and its 200+ local markets. This will allow for rich results in Google Search & Google News.
Science Feedback (United States)
Project: Collaborative Database of Misinformation Sources / $47,920
Description: This project aims to build an open database, recording instances where misinformation verified by fact-checkers has been published and the sources who promoted it. By building tools to help fact-checkers capture misinformation, this project will increase Internet users’ capacity to be informed when content has been verified and to identify reliable sources of information.
Project: Web application for fact-checking videos / $48,500
Description: A web application that makes video fact-checking in the case of political speeches, commentary, manipulated videos, etc., more standardized for fact-checkers, easy to read and understand for audiences, scalable for platforms and fact-checkers.
Project: Automatic Fact-Checking of Coronavirus Claims / $49,800
Description: EURECOM will develop explainable artificial intelligence methods to reduce the human effort in fact-checking diverse claims, ultimately releasing an online interface and an API to support data-driven content verification.
El Toque (Poland/Cuba)
Project: Multi-platform verification chatbot for Cuba / $30,510
Description: El Toque will develop and implement a multi-platform chatbot for WhatsApp, Telegram and Messenger specially designed for Cuban audiences. Users will be able to ask the bot about the veracity of certain information or ask it to verify if the information contained in a link is true or false.
2. New formats and mediums to expand the reach of fact-checking
Le Monde (France)
Project: Le Monde – Facts on TikTok / $50,000
Description: This project will help Le Monde develop fact-checks it can distribute on TikTok. The goal is to provide users with sharable and reliable information, as well as educate them on how to conduct their own fact-checks.
Project: Gen Z Fact-Checking / $47,910
Description: Gen-Z Fact-Checking is an experiential educational program by Verificat and the Llor Foundation that turns a group of teenage students into a fact-checking team, while exploring misinformation among high graders. By the end of the program, the students will have built their own video channel and, under Verificat quality supervision, will have launched their own brand of “fact-checking influencers.”
Full Fact (United Kingdom)
Project: New formats for fact checks / $48,600
Description: Full Fact will work to develop and trial new creative formats with the aim to reach many more people with their fact checks. This will draw from and build on research into how best to engage audiences with good information, tackling the harm caused by misleading claims.
The Washington Post (United States)
Project: Video Verification for Everyone / $50,000
Description: This project will develop a series of videos will featuring Post reporters walking the viewer through their process of video verification. The goal is to help viewers become their own visual investigators.
SEECheck Regional Network (Balkans/ Southeastern Europe)
Project: Video-podcast on disinformation in Balkans / $48,140
Description: This project will help launch a regional video podcast on fighting disinformation in Southeastern Europe. They plan to reach out to regional audiences with current debunks, interesting guests, global and regional innovations, explanations of theories of conspiracy around COVID-19 and other interesting topics on regular basis with this new channel of communication.
3. Using video as a tool to disseminate accurate information
Project: Search optimized video fact-checks / $49,996
Description: Rappler will produce search optimized video versions of fact-checks around key viral claims circulating on YouTube. The goal of the initiative is to capitalize on the video-sharing platform’s native recommendation algorithm to recirculate content that will debunk conspiracy theories and viral false claims spreading within the platform.
AFP Digital Verification (France)
Project: AFP fact-check internal training / $50,000
Description: This project will produce video training modules, which will be used to train AFP journalists in basic digital verification skills. It will also be displayed on our website to improve verification literacy and give an insight into AFP’s working methods.
Metamorphosis Foundation (Macedonia)
Project: Counter-spin TV / $34,088
Description: This project aims to provide the public with short educational videos based on the Counter-Spin analytical format, developed by the fact-checking service Truthmeter, which has worked in North Macedonia since 2011. It provides a synergy of traditional fact-checking with explanations of context in order to untangle complex media manipulations and misleading political statements that combine various degrees of truthfulness, as well as other kinds of toxic disinformation like conspiracy theories and health hoaxes.
THIP Healthtech Pvt Ltd (India)
Project: THIP Media – Video Facts / $31,800
Description: This project aims to both bring forth credible health information through the voices of certified medical professionals, and make it accessible through multiple languages on a universal platform like YouTube.
First Check/Health Analytics Asia (India)
Project: First Check / $50,000
Description: The project will help produce a weekly video fact-check that goes behind the scenes of fact-checking health and medicine related stories in Asia. The new format will convert text-based stories and expert articles into short videos of 2 to 3 minutes to build an on-screen meeting place for a larger audience to learn and debate the key issues related to misinformation in health.
BOOM Live (India)
Project: Media Buddhi / $50,000
Description: BOOM will utilize these funds for its media literacy project, “Media Buddhi,” and will specifically create videos in multiple languages. They will offer these in English, Hindi and Bengali, and also in other languages in collaboration with partnering newsrooms.
France 24 Observers (France)
Project: Insta Intox hmmmmmm / $49,854
Description: This project will help print-based fact-checkers develop video versions of their work without needing knowledge of video editing or graphic design. The project is aimed at helping under-resourced fact-checking organizations easily create content without expending extra resources.
Premium Times Centre for Investigative Journalism (Nigeria)
Project: Digital Voices for Truth / $40,498
Description: This project seeks to innovate around our fact-checking content strategy with hopes of reaching a wider and more diverse audience. It also hopes to draw insights on the effectiveness of audio/visual fact-checking content on fact-checking practice and the war on information disorder.
EFE Verifica (Spain)
Project: Experts explain the facts / $44,422
Description: “Experts Explain the Facts” are a series of fact-checking videos for YouTube in which EFE Verifica will debunk false messages about topics known to be used by disinformers in Spain and Latin America with the aid of experts and leveraging the EFE’s content distribution platforms.
VERA Files (Philippines)
Project: Video Fact Check Tutorial Kits / $38,240
Description: VERA Files will produce six Fact Check online video tutorial kits in Filipino (the national language), of which three will have subtitled versions: English and two local dialects to maximize the reach in different parts of the country. VERA Files believes that, to effectively combat disinformation, every social media user should be a fact-checker.
Project: Fact-checking on “young” platforms / $49,950
Description: Faktisk’s goal is to intensify its efforts to reach a younger audience and help make media literacy and fact-checking easy to learn and understand for a demographic vulnerable to the lure of misinformation and fake news. It aims to experiment with video formats on more visual social platforms such as Youtube, Instagram, Snapchat and TikTok.
MediaWise (United States)
Project: Teen Fact-Checking Network on YouTube / $50,000
Description: MediaWise will be expanding the work of its Teen Fact-Checking Network to produce 30 fact-checks specifically formatted for YouTube. Created for teens and by teens, these fact-check videos will also teach crucial media literacy skills that will enable teens to be better consumers of digital media.