The International Fact-Checking Network (IFCN) is joining forces with WhatsApp to launch the Vaccine Grant Program, a new global effort to stem the flow of misinformation around COVID-19 vaccines.  This partnership marks the second time this year the two organizations have come together in an effort to quell the rumors and myths that have hampered efforts to fight the pandemic and created uncertainty around the vaccines.

“With the global rollout of COVID-19 vaccines, the biggest challenge is to address the hesitancy fueled by mis/disinformation across social media platforms and messaging apps,” said IFCN Director Baybars Örsek.  “This grant call with the support of WhatsApp will provide resources to fact-checkers doing the work on the ground to help communities across the globe to access accurate and reliable information and be informed about the vaccination efforts.”

Through this Vaccine Grant Program, IFCN and WhatsApp will distribute $500,000 to signatories to the IFCN’s Code of Principles and members of the CoronaVirusFacts Alliance fighting misinformation about COVID-19 and vaccines.  This new grant builds on the success of the 2020 partnership between the two organizations that dramatically scaled up the work of fact-checkers during the early days of the pandemic. WhatsApp has expressed its commitment to leading the fight in misinformation among private messaging services and supporting organizations that can help tackle misinformation at its source.

Nearly 100 organizations from more than 70 countries came together in 2020 to create the CoronaVirusFacts Alliance, which produced more than 11,000 fact-checks about the COVID-19 pandemic in more than 40 languages.  WhatsApp and IFCN also launched the Coronavirus Information Hub in 2020 with WHO, UNICEF and UNDP to connect WhatsApp’s over 2 billion users to sources of accurate and real time information about COVID-19.

  

In 2020, the IFCN distributed $ 2,7 million in grant programs to 56 organizations to fight the proliferation of misinformation that has become just as dangerous as the virus itself.

This new grant program will be open to members of that collaboration as well as signatories to the IFCN’s Code of Principles. Organizations can submit one application to receive up to $100,000 to support projects in one of four categories:

  • Editorial
  • Media Literacy
  • Technology
  • New Formats/ Distribution.

Fact-checking organizations may partner with other institutions, but are limited to one application. Due to the urgency of the ongoing global health crisis, projects qualifying for this grant must launch no later than May 31, 2021.

The deadline for applications is Mar. 22, 2021. A seven-member selection committee made up of representatives from the fact-checking community and representatives from IFCN and WhatsApp will evaluate the applicants and announce its selections on April 19.

“We are thrilled to be able to partner with the Poynter Institute again to support their critical work to debunk harmful rumors and connect people to life saving facts around COVID-19 vaccines.  We are also working with health ministries and governments around the world to help get their populations registered for vaccinations directly within WhatsApp” said Victoria Grand, Vice President of Public Policy and Communications at WhatsApp.

Click here to apply, and for more detailed information about qualifications and the selection process.

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