April 4, 2022

ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. (April 4, 2022) – The International Fact-Checking Network (IFCN) at the Poynter Institute, a global nonprofit for journalistic excellence, has awarded $800,000 in grant support to fact-checkers, climate organizations and solution providers working to combat false and misleading information about climate change. 

In partnership with Meta, the Climate Misinformation Grant Program will support nine projects from seven countries including France, Kenya, Romania, Poland, Spain, India and the United States. 

“As the scientific community continues to report the severity of climate change, the fact-checking community is tracking spikes in misinformation that denies or downplays its threat to society,” said Ferdi Özsoy, program manager at the IFCN. “This grant program gives practitioners the resources to forge new partnerships with climate change experts and ultimately develop new techniques that fact-checkers around the world can use to reduce the harm of climate misinformation.” 

CATCH UP: IFCN and Facebook will award $800K to fact-checkers fighting climate misinformation

A six-member committee made up of independent climate experts, scientists and researchers selected the recipients. Projects were reviewed against criteria such as strengthening access, understanding and acceptance of authoritative climate science information; tailoring efforts to combat viral misinformation content unique to climate change; and building solutions targeted to users who are vulnerable to the effects of climate change or are disproportionately exposed to climate misinformation.

“Misinformation about climate change is a global, interconnected problem, and solutions need to be equally large and interconnected,” said John Cook, selection committee member and Monash University research fellow. “Adding capacity to fact-checking communities around the world to skillfully and promptly respond to climate misinformation is a crucial part of the puzzle. In particular, we need stronger links between fact-checkers and experts in climate science and solutions, across different languages and regions. This grant program lays the foundation for important future work in fighting back against misinformation that confuses the public about climate change and delays desperately needed climate action.” 

Grant recipients will present their work at Global Fact 9, the world’s largest fact-checking summit hosted by the IFCN, June 22-25 in Oslo, Norway. 

“Climate change is one of the most urgent issues impacting our world today, and we’re thrilled to be partnering with the IFCN to support fact-checkers in addressing climate misinformation,” said Caroline Alexander, News Integrity Program Manager at Meta. “We believe these collaborative partnerships between fact-checkers and climate experts will unlock new ways to effectively address climate misinformation, and we look forward to seeing how their success will also impact the broader fact-checking community.” 

Learn more about the recipients 

Science Feedback (France) | The Climate Science Desk | $70,000

Science Feedback is helping fact-checkers connect with scientists to quickly and effectively review climate change-related claims. The organization will create a portal where fact-checkers are able to submit items for which they seek the help of experts in their verification. Items will range from claims, viral articles or videos, or simply a topic for which fact-checkers would like to get the input of a relevant expert. Once an item is submitted, a science editor will identify the most relevant experts within the community of volunteers and invite them to provide their feedback. The experts’ feedback will be promptly published on the platform with minimal editing under a creative commons license so the fact check can benefit fact-checkers and also other journalists or internet users.

Factual.ro (Romania) | Pre-bunking and fact-checking misinformation on EU green transition | $95,000

In collaboration with InfoClima.ro and REPER21, Factual.ro will tackle climate change misinformation in Romania by launching a working framework that brings the resources, experience and expertise of an IFCN signatory and five different environmental organizations together. The project will proactively educate on recurring narratives related to climate change and react through fact-checking and direct action to misinformation, piloting a model of intervention easy to replicate at least at the level of other EU member states and on EU-related climate change misinformation at a broader scale.

Verificat (Spain) | Understanding and exposing climate misinformation in podcasting | $95,000

Fact-checkers Verificat, solution providers Kinzen, and experts from the C3 Centre for Climate Change at Rovira and Virgili University will join forces to increase the capacity to understand and expose different tropes, narratives and contents within the field of climate communications and climate misinformation in podcasting. Detecting podcasts misinformation is a well-known challenge for most fact-checkers, yet hundreds of millions of people worldwide listen to podcasts every day that have a direct impact on public opinion. Verificat, with the expertise of C3 and the technological assets of Kinzen, will be monitoring and fact-checking hundreds of hours of podcasts in Spanish to understand and deliver a pilot for efficient, expert-based content moderation and fact-checking on podcasting platforms’ contents.

Fact Crescendo (India) | Fact-checking environment-related misinformation | $95,000

In partnership with the Water, Climate and Hazard (WATCH) Division of Aaranyak, Fact Crescendo aims to do quality research, debunk myths and compile findings of environmental falsehoods into a language that can be understood by the common people. The project will provide fact checks and explanations to the readers in their native languages. The goal is to create awareness about climate change and make people realize how it is affecting their lives with the help of the WATCH Division at Aaranyak. Fact Crescendo will create a tip line for people to send questions about climate change and other environmental issues via WhatsApp. The fact-checking organization will also distribute downloadable graphics and videos on social media to bolster climate change awareness. 

Code for Africa (CfA)/PesaCheck (Kenya) | Bridging the Gap: using Wikipedia to fight climate-denialism | $95,000

PesaCheck will kickstart a new African Wikipedia Task Force on Climate Disinformation to debunk climate denialism and delayism and coordinated disinformation influence campaigns by lobbyists or other malign actors in the run-up to COP27 in Egypt. The initiative will be driven by a team of dedicated Wikipedians-in-Residence (WiR), who will be embedded with partner newsrooms in the 20-country African Fact-Checking Alliance (AFCA) with technical support from Code for Africa’s (CfA) iLAB and the Institute for Strategic Dialogue’s (ISD) joint forensic analysis team and tools. The project will publish debunks in mainstream media, through a number of new dedicated climate fact-check desks at participating newsrooms. Selected eligible content will also be documented on Wikipedia.

elDetector de Univision Noticias (United States)| Verificando el cambio climático con elDetector (fact-checking climate change with elDetector) | $90,000

In partnership with López-Wagner Strategies, Univision Noticias’ elDetector will combat false and misleading information about climate change for Spanish-language speaking audiences in innovative and easy to consume formats. The project will focus on fact-checking misinformation and disinformation about climate change in the states with the largest Hispanic populations in the U.S., which are affected by drought, air pollution, hurricanes, fires, heat waves and floods among other climate-related events. The project will leverage Univision News’ massive reach and the unique know-how of elDetector’s team to provide fact-checked information to Hispanics, and help the community not only verify information, but also help stop the spread and amplification of falsehoods that are specifically targeted at Latinos.

PolitiFact (United States) | CO2 Something, Say Something: Fact-checking climate misinformation | $90,000

PolitiFact will partner with MediaWise and Climate Nexus to create an information loop that starts with Climate Nexus surfacing possible mis- and disinformation. PolitiFact will fact-check those dubious claims and share its findings through networks of journalists, public officials and researchers. MediaWise will take those same fact checks and create engaging social video hosted by teenagers for teenagers that includes tips on how to spot climate misinformation online. PolitiFact and MediaWise will listen to their audiences for suggestions of claims to fact-check and work with Climate Nexus to identify trusted experts to assist their reporting.

Demagog Association (Poland) | Climate Factbot – an educational chatbot | $80,000

Demagog Association is partnering with Crazy Nauka, Defence24 sp. z o. o., and Energetyka24.com to prevent the spread of false information and launch educational activities on climate change using innovative tools. The project will feature an educational chatbot, which will be the largest database on climate change in Poland, created by experts and journalists working to address climate misinformation. The chatbot will send users educational materials as well as information about debunked false news from a team of fact-checkers. They will be able to find answers to their most pressing climate-related questions. The chatbot will also serve as a database of reliable sources of information and be used by fact-checkers to quickly verify news related to climate change.

USA Today (United States) | Fellowship and Context Checking Program | $90,000

USA Today is collaborating with the Society Library to enhance the work of fact-checkers by introducing the companion discipline of context-checking as part of a dedicated, open-source training program. The partnership will increase the volume and frequency of fact checks on climate issues, improve the accuracy of fact checks on climate science by highlighting appropriate context, and deepen and diversify the pool of individuals who are qualified and trained to do this work on behalf of media organizations, academic institutions and interest groups. Over a 12-month period, USA Today and the Society Library will train up to six individuals with an educational background in climate science to work as fact-checkers. Their work will be published throughout USA Today and the USA Today Network.

For more information, visit poynter.org/ifcn.

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