June 3, 2020

This year’s Global Fact conference will be the largest worldwide gathering of fact-checkers. More than 150 speakers from more than 40 different countries will discuss the state and the future of fact-checking. The week-long virtual gathering kicks off Monday, June 22.

Global Fact 7, an annual conference organized by the International Fact-Checking Network, will be held virtually because of the COVID-19 pandemic. It was originally scheduled to be held in person between June 24-27 in Oslo, Norway.

Its pivot to a virtual gathering may have been a blessing in disguise.

“Given the opportunities of having a virtual conference this year, we are scaling up our efforts,” said IFCN Director Baybars Örsek. Global Fact 7 will connect participants with 150 different speakers over seven days. By comparison, Global Fact 6, hosted last year in Cape Town, South Africa, had 57 speakers over three days.

This year’s conference will offer two tracks. The first is a cost-free public track, which includes 24 panels across multiple time zones taking place between June 22-26.

The second is a private track tailored to fact-checkers. It includes 26 sessions exclusively for registered Global Fact 7 (virtual) participants, and will take place between June 29-30. The details about how to participate can be found at globalfact7.com

It will also have the largest number of participants of any Global Fact since the first gathering in London in 2014. Last year’s conference brought together 241 participants from 55 countries.  Global Fact 7 participants will more than quadruple that figure. As of June 2, 950 members of the fact-checking community from over 70 countries have signed up to take part in the conference.

All 24 sessions in the public track will be livestreamed via Facebook, YouTube, and Twitter. Örsek said this is an opportunity to reach a larger audience as recent news about fact-checking has become more prominent than ever in both the U.S. and global political discourse.

“Fact-checking has become a household name recently with conversations around online content moderation and labels,” Örsek said. “We’re going to provide insight into what is fact-checking and how fact-checkers work.”

Participants will also be able to mingle in a virtual hallway simulating the experience of an in-person conference. This will enable social interaction and networking opportunities during the public track between June 22-26.

What to expect when attending Global Fact 7

The conference will begin June 22 with opening remarks by Örsek, Bill Adair, director of the Duke Reporters Lab, and Neil Brown, the president of the Poynter Institute. It will be followed by an exclusive interview with Melissa Fleming, United Nations under-secretary-general for global communications.

Both the UN and the IFCN have been at the forefront of the fight against COVID-19, and Örsek, who will interview Fleming after her remarks, said he’s interested in learning more about the UN’s approach.

“I’m interested in hearing more about… how they see the role of fact-checkers in this fight, and what are the areas of collaboration between fact-checkers and intergovernmental agencies,” Örsek said.

The first day will also feature panels looking back on the work of the CoronavirusFacts Alliance, which brought together fact-checking networks in more than 70 countries to compile more than 6,000 fact-checks so far about the global pandemic.

IFCN Associate Director Cristina Tardáguila will lead a panel featuring members of the alliance from Taiwan, France, and India to talk in detail about the group’s work.

Regional panels

The conference will also feature panels focusing on regional challenges in the world of fact-checking. On Tuesday, June 23, Örsek and Jency Jacob from Indian fact-checking network BOOM will lead two back-to-back panels of Indian fact-checkers focusing on that region’s fight against a swell of misinformation.

On Wednesday, June 24, Tijana Cvjetićanin from Bosnian fact-checking organization Istinomjer will lead a panel of Balkan fact-checkers talking about that region’s challenges while (as the panel’s title says) “the sky is falling.”

On Thursday, June 25, Olivia Sohr, from Argentinian fact-checking network Chequeado, will lead a panel of Latin American fact-checking organizations talking about the importance of regional cooperation in the fight against misinformation.

Also, on June 25, there will be a panel of fact-checking networks from the continent of Africa moderated by Lee Mwiti from Africa Check.

For academics, developers, editorial and executives

As in previous years, there will be discussions based on the above four categories, however, because of time differences, they will be spread out across the first five days.

The academic track will feature two panels on Wednesday, June 24, diving into the latest research about misinformation and fact-checking. The developer track will have a panel on Tuesday, June 23, looking at the use of ClaimReview, and another on Thursday, June 25, looking at misinformation on WhatsApp.

The editorial and executive panels are also spread throughout the conference. On Tuesday, June 23, a panel examines the efficacy of different methods fact-checkers use to flag false or misleading content, as well as a panel on the most effective methods in vetting health misinformation.

The public portion wraps up Friday, June 26, with a discussion of the latest updates to the IFCN Code of Principles, a panel featuring six different fact-checkers doing a show-and-tell, and a presentation of the Global Fact Awards.

Global Fact 7 awards

This year’s Global Fact Awards will feature the same three categories as in previous years. The winners are decided by both the public and conference participants. The categories are:

1) Most bizarre fact-check: Awarded to the fact-checking organization that had to face the most challenging/surprising falsehood.

2) Most creative format: Awarded to the  organization that presented the most innovative format to display a fact-check.

3) Best correction: Awarded to the organization that, through its work, managed to make a person, a group, or an entity publicly correct information.

Fact-checking organizations will have until Wednesday, June 10, to submit entries.  The IFCN will then comb through these entries and announce four nominees for each category before the conference on Friday, June 19. The voting will open for both the public and individual fact-checking organizations three days later on Monday, June 22.

We’ve changed the voting system this year to allow for the voices of both fans and the individual organizations to be heard.

We’re using a system of weighted voting similar to the U.S. National Basketball Association’s All-Star ballot. Fan votes will count for one-third of the overall total. Each individual fact-checking network will get one vote that will make up the other two-thirds.

Voting will close on Wednesday, June 24, and the winners will be announced via the IFCN’s social media channels on Friday, June 26,  the last day of the public track of the conference.

Harrison Mantas is a reporter for the International Fact-Checking Network covering fact-checking and misinformation. Reach him at hmantas@poynter.org or on Twitter at @HarrisonMantas

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Harrison Mantas is a reporter for the International Fact-Checking Network covering the wide world of misinformation. He previously worked in Arizona and Washington D.C. for…
Harrison Mantas

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