The power is in your hands
Led by the International Fact-Checking Network (IFCN) at the Poynter Institute, FactChat is the first collaborative project to unite U.S. fact-checking organizations with two major Spanish-language news broadcasters to fight mis/disinformation during the 2020 presidential campaign. FactChat brings together U.S.-based journalists and fact-checkers in a bilingual alliance to give voters the information they need to make their decisions based on facts.
From Sept. 15, 2020 until the Inauguration Day in 2021, fact-checkers from AFP, Check Your Fact, FactCheck.org, Lead Stories, MediaWise, PolitiFact, The Dispatch, The Washington Post Fact Checker, Science Feedback and USA Today will share their content with Telemundo and Univision. Both networks will translate the fact-checks to Spanish before republishing the content on their respective websites.
With support from WhatsApp, the IFCN will upload both versions into the FactChat chatbot. The system, developed by Turn.io, is free for all WhatsApp users and features an easy-to-use interface available in both languages.
Days of Work
While navigating FactChat’s chatbot, WhatsApp users will see that all fact checks share a standardized rating scale. This scale was created just for FactChat with two intentions: it allows the content to be more broadly understood — even internationally — and also it will make it easier to translate the ratings into Spanish. The IFCN thanks its U.S. partners for agreeing with this standardized scale.
How does FactChat work?
U.S fact-checking partners will publish their daily fact checks — focused on the presidential campaign — as they are currently doing. However, now Telemundo and Univision will be notified so both networks can quickly translate this content and republish it on their own websites.
FactChat is a highly automated project. It relies on Google’s FactCheck Read/Write and Claim Search APIs to populate the FactChat’s chatbot with fact checks published with ClaimReview, the schema created by the Duke Reporters’ Lab and Jigsaw, Google, and schema.org through an open process involving the global fact-checking community to improve the visibility of fact checks in the open web.
Once a fact check is published by one of FactChat’s English-speaking partners, it will be immediately added to the project’s WhatsApp chatbot followed shortly after by the translated Spanish version, making the project fully bilingual.
The IFCN has and will continue to be the moderator in the development and running of FactChat. It brought together all the partner organizations making sure they were comfortable with the idea of working together on this project. After the launch, the IFCN’s staff will monitor the chatbot’s functionality and verify translations are keeping the integrity of the original fact check.
In addition, one of the IFCN’s main goals has always been to further expand the United States’ fact-checking community. FactChat expects to see Telemundo and Univision developing their own fact-checking units.
Why it matters
Combating mis/disinformation is always important, but during a presidential campaign that battle becomes even more crucial. The IFCN sees the election as both an opportunity to develop the fact-checking community and an important moment for major fact-checking organizations to work together. FactChat presents the unique opportunity for up-and-coming, Spanish-speaking fact-checkers to learn from the more experienced English-speaking fact-checkers. The IFCN is grateful to all its partners in this trailblazing collaboration.
Since September, FactChat’s members have been connected — day and night — through a robust email listserv and an active Slack channel, coordinated by the IFCN’s associate director, Cristina Tardáguila, and the program manager for this project, Laura Weffer.
Based on the content produced by the various teams, the IFCN publishes weekly reports looking at trends and discussing ways the public can arm themselves in the fight against electoral mis/disinformation. Read the reports below
Meet the U.S fact-checkers and the two Spanish-language organizations that make up this collaboration:
(12 members: AFP, Check Your Fact, FactCheck.org, LeadStories, MediaWise, PolitiFact, Science Feedback, Telemundo, The Dispatch, The Washington Post Fact-Checker, Univision, USA Today)