The Fact-Checking Innovation Initiative wants to support your next big idea
This initiative is open to the global fact-checking community and will provide grants to many recipients. Grants will be given out in three tiers:
Applications closed Dec. 8
The mission of the Fact-Checking Innovation Initiative, a joint project of the Facebook Journalism Project and the International Fact-Checking Network at the Poynter Institute, is to support innovation projects, new formats, and technologies that will help benefit the broader global fact-checking ecosystem.
Applicants’ projects should address region-specific challenges and opportunities related to fact-checking and can include both technical and non-technical solutions. Projects can focus on any of the fact-checking topics listed below and do not need to relate to a Facebook product or service. This new initiative will offer grants to 10 recipients in three tiers:
In addition to receiving monetary grants, the grantees will receive exposure at Global Fact 7 (the IFCN’s annual global fact-checking summit June 24-27, 2020 in Oslo, Norway). The IFCN, Facebook and the selection committee will also serve as a resource for grant recipients to receive ongoing advice, collaboration and a support network.
Candidates will go through two rounds of applications, at which point the remaining applications will go to a selection committee composed of a multidisciplinary group of fact-checkers and journalism experts, as well as employees of the IFCN and Facebook.
International Fact-Checking Network
Baybars Örsek is the director of the International Fact-Checking Network (IFCN) at the Poynter Institute, the premier global coalition of fact-checking organizations. He launched some internationally recognized initiatives on fact-checking and open data and had acted as a board member of the IFCN since December of 2016. In that capacity, he took an active part in overseeing the fact-checking project’s applications to join the network as verified signatories.
International Fact-Checking Network
Cristina Tardáguila is the International Fact-Checking Network’s Associate Director. She was born in May 1980, in Brazil, and has lived in Rio de Janeiro for most of her life. Since 2014, Tardáguila has dedicated her professional life to verification. She is the founder of Agência Lupa, the first fact-checking initiative in her country, and also responsible for LupaEducação, its educational branch.
Integrity Partnerships Lead
Julia leads the Integrity Partnerships team at Facebook. Her work focuses on Facebook’s programs and policies related to combatting misinformation and disinformation on the platform; including Facebook’s third-party fact-checking program, elections programming, and new misinformation initiatives. Previously, she supported the launch of the Facebook Journalism Project, and partnerships with journalists on Facebook and Instagram. Prior to Facebook, Julia worked at ABC News as a producer on ABC World News with Diane Sawyer where she oversaw the content creation for the evening broadcast, award-winning breaking news coverage, and original social-first programming.
Karen Rebelo is the Deputy Editor at BOOM Live, a fact-checking organization based in Mumbai. Karen is an investigative journalist and a fact-checker specializing in uncovering misinformation and disinformation in India.
She is also a verification trainer. In 2018, she spearheaded BOOM’s fact-checking workshops for journalists across India as part of the Google News Initiative. Karen is a former Reuters business news journalist and has reported about mining companies in the UK, the Indian stock market and the private equity space.
Deputy Chief Editor
Kate Wilkinson is deputy chief editor at Africa Check. The non-profit organization was set up in 2012 to promote accuracy in public debate and the media in Africa. Her research interests include education, immigration, crime, and viral social media hoaxes. Her work also involves training African journalists on verification and research techniques.
Africa Check’s “What’s Crap on WhatsApp?” program won the 2019 Fact Forward Fund.
Mariano Blejman created the first news innovation contest in Latin America, called HacksLabs, which supported 20 projects and prototypes on everything from analyzing drug trafficking data to apps that help people better understand which politicians match their interests in elections.
Blejman is an editor and media entrepreneur specializing in data-driven journalism. Blejman expanded his Hacks/Hackers Buenos Aires network, which connects journalists and technologists, to other parts of Latin America by running data boot camps and hackathons. To bolster these efforts, Blejman held his annual Media Party, a three-day event that attracts 500 journalists and technology innovators from around the world. for journalists and developers, each August from 2013 to 2015. At these events, journalists and technologists built and adapted tools that newsrooms can use to increase transparency and accountability.
Co-Director of the Reporters’ Lab
Mark Stencel is co-director of the Reporters’ Lab at Duke University, where he teaches journalism and tracks the growth of political fact-checking. He also is a part of the Duke Tech & Check Cooperative, which develops tools that increase fact-checkers’ impact.
He previously worked at National Public Radio, Congressional Quarterly, The Washington Post and North Carolina’s News & Observer. At the Post, he worked on early fact-checking experiments during four presidential campaigns starting in 1992.
Assistant Professor of Practice
Journalism and Media Studies Centre
The University of Hong Kong
Masato Kajimoto, PhD, is an assistant professor at the Journalism and Media Studies Centre, the University of Hong Kong. He specialized in misinformation ecosystem research in Asia and news literacy education.
In 2019 he founded ANNIE (Asian Network of News and Information Educators) to develop teaching and learning materials specific to the region. As part of the initiative, he is currently leading a student-led fact-checking news website called Annie Lab (http://annielab.org) at the university.
Head of Automated Fact-Checking
Mevan is Head of Automated Fact-checking at the UK’s leading fact-checking charity, Full Fact. In 2016 she co-authored The State of Automated Fact-checking, and regularly speaks in the UK and internationally about misinformation, fact-checking, and civic technology.
Mevan joined Full Fact in 2014 after working at Cancer Research. Before that, she worked at Bite the Ballot, an initiative that registers young people to vote. There she launched Britain’s first-ever National Voter Registration Day. To date, this has registered over a million young people to vote.
She is fond of talking in the third person and was born in Baghdad, Iraq, to Kurdish parents.
Managing Director for the JSK Journalism Fellowships
Michael Bolden is managing director for the John S. Knight (JSK) Journalism Fellowships at Stanford University. Previously, Bolden served as the first editorial director for the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation, where he managed Knight’s content operations across its core communities and main investment areas, including journalism, the arts, cities, and technology innovation.
Bolden is a longtime member of the National Association of Black Journalists, the National Association of Hispanic Journalists, the National Press Club, NLGJA-the Association of LGBTQ Journalists, the Society of Professional Journalists (SPJ), and Sigma Tau Delta, the international English honorary. He serves on the board of directors of the SPJ Foundation, the 501(c)(3) charity that supports a free press and the educational mission of SPJ.
Tania L. Montalvo
Animal Politico’s Executive Editor. Coordinator of the project Verificado 2018, a collaborative initiative in which more than 90 allies, including national, state media, civil organizations and universities join to fight against dis and misinformation. Winner with this project of the Online Journalism Award in 2018 for Excellence in Collaboration and Partnerships, and the 2018 World Digital Media Award.
She has given fact checking and verification workshops to several media and organizations in Latin America; as well as in Mexican universities and several local media. From its beginning in 2015, she has led the fact checking project of Animal Político, the first of its kind in Mexico: El Sabueso.
She is a journalist who earned her bachelor’s degree in Journalism and Information Media from Tecnológico de Monterrey. She was born in Mexico City and she has worked in diverse media, such as El Universal, CNN and Forbes Magazine.
University of the Phillippines
Yvonne Chua is an assistant professor at the University of the Philippines where she teaches investigative journalism, data journalism and fact-checking. A veteran journalist, she co-founded Vera Files where she later launched and led Vera Files Fact Check, a spinoff from the fact-checking activity her students undertook in the 2016 elections.
In January 2019 she became the coordinator of Tsek.ph, a pioneering collaborative fact-checking initiative for the 2019 elections. Yvonne maintains the website and Instagram account FactRakers for her students’ fact checks. She has done research on disinformation, hate speech and dangerous speech.
Zoë Triska manages partnerships and strategic investments on Facebook’s Integrity and News Policies team. Before joining Facebook, Zoë worked at HuffPost for over seven years. She began her career managing the Books section, where she oversaw content strategy and publisher partnerships, wrote and edited articles, and managed the section’s social media presence. She then managed editorial strategy and product strategy for HuffPost’s 16 international editions.
The selection committee will select projects based on a number of criteria (see below).
The first round for applications has been closed! Qualified applications will be notified on December 13th with instructions to apply for the second round with detailed information.
Grant recipients will have up to 12 months from the time they receive their awards to complete their projects and submit written results report to the IFCN.
Applicants’ projects should be focused on one of the following tracks:
- New formats (e.g., adapting fact-checks to video, audio or other digital mediums, or offline formats)
- Sustainable business models (e.g., increasing the scale and efficiency of fact-checking; piloting reader support methods)
- Technology-assisted fact-checking (e.g., deploying new tools to automate components of the fact-checking workflow)
- Innovative media literacy solutions (e.g., empowering audiences to consume and share reliable information instead of misinformation)
Examples of potential projects include (but are not limited to):
- Build a one-stop toolkit for helping fact-checkers evaluate manipulated media
- Create a global fact-checking database (e.g., a way for fact-checkers to easily look up whether any other fact-checker has already addressed a claim)
- Develop an innovative fact-checking/media literacy training program
- Develop a verification training program for regional publishers
- Develop a program to support the development of new format types for fact-checkers (e.g., videos, explainers, visuals)
The following individuals/organizations are eligible to apply:
- Fact-checking organizations (or an individual who is employed by one)
- Nonprofits/NGOs (or an individual who is employed by one)
- Academic institutions and their faculty
- Journalism organizations (or an individual who is employed by one)
Applicants that are not a fact-checking organization or an individual employed by one should apply with a memorandum of understanding signed by a fact-checking organization that shows the collaboration involved for the particular project.
Applicants agree that if they are awarded a grant, IFCN and Facebook may use data and information they provide in the initial application and subsequent reporting form with other fact-checking organizations.
To qualify for this initiative, the project should be more than just an idea. Applicants must be organizations or teams of at least two people who have tested their concept or developed a prototype (if applicable). Applications from individuals will be accepted if they are paired with a fact-checking organization where the project will be implemented in the 12-month time frame of the program.
Applicants agree that if they develop any code in connection with this project, they will make the code publicly available in a GitHub repository and freely available for use under an open-source license approved by the Open Source Initiative.
Each applicant/organization may only submit one application (for one project in one grant amount tier).
The selection committee will review projects against the following criteria:
- Is the project an original idea and a discrete project in the fact-checking field, and does it change the way in which information is presented and/or consumed?
- Does the project involve collaboration with at least one other organization (fact-checking or otherwise) or utilize the expertise of another organization?
- Does the project have the potential to meaningfully fight misinformation by increasing the availability of reliable information, improving the quality of public debate and/or reaching a wider/new audience?
- Does the project have the potential for future growth?
- Can the project be replicated by other fact-checkers with minor changes and still serve its original purpose?
- Is the requested budget in accordance with the goals and scope of the project and can it be fully completed and implemented in the allocated time frame?
- Whether or not a project focuses on a Facebook product or service will not be factored into which projects are selected.
A member of the selection committee and/or a member of the IFCN staff will be available to offer guidance and feedback during the 12-month development process. If a proposed project somehow relates to any of the selection committee members or to their past or current work, those selection committee members will not participate in that specific evaluation.
Selection committee members don’t get paid for judging projects or for mentoring them.
Terms and conditions
This grant is subject to full terms and conditions, including, without limitation, the following terms:
- The recipients will have 12 months to develop and launch their projects.
- A representative for each grant recipient must commit to making a presentation about the project at the Global Fact 7 conference in Oslo, Norway.
- Each grant recipient is expected to schedule three quarterly assessment sessions with an adviser from the selection committee and/or a member of the IFCN staff.
- Any code a grant recipient develops in connection with this project will be made publicly available in a GitHub repository and freely available for use under an open-source license approved by the Open Source Initiative.
- Each grant recipient must provide IFCN with two short narrative reports and two financial reports: one of each at the midpoint of the project (about six months in) and one of each after the end of the 12-month project term. These documents will be made publicly available.
- The awarded amount will be delivered to the applicable grant recipient in two different payments: 50% at the beginning of the project term and the remaining 50% after the midterm narrative and financial reports are approved. (If your project requires a different distribution, please inform.)
Seven projects — one each from South Africa, Peru, Italy, Turkey and Serbia, and two from India, — were announced as winners on Feb. 28, 2020.
1) Africa Check / Info Finder (South Africa)
From March-October 2020
Info Finder is Africa Check’s response to a lack of access to accurate data in Africa. It provides reliable facts and sources on 14 topics, ranging from health to governance. The tool contains more than 250 facts from Kenya, Nigeria, Senegal and South Africa, presented in an easy-to-understand Q&A format. We plan to expand Info Finder in two ways: by building it into a repository of facts gathered from fact-checkers’ work across Africa; and establishing a data helpdesk for journalists.
Liesl Pretorius, project leader:
“Info Finder targets the supply side of (mis)information. We’re making facts available in one place through partnerships and starting a help desk to make it easier for journalists to find reliable data.”
2) Ideosync Media Combine / On Air and #FactChecked! (India)
From May 2020 to April 2021
In today’s post-truth world of deep fakes, media literacy is an essential skill. Access to reliable information is critical and fundamental. Those marginalized by geography or by their social and economic situation are entitled to receive this information in their local languages and dialects and in a manner that overcomes barriers of literacy and digital access. This project is about people’s right to reliable fact-checked information.
Venu Arora, project leader:
“Our project brings a unique oral media and information literacy curriculum delivered across India through community radios, fact-checking locally circulating misinformation and strengthening local media capacity.”
3) Istinomer / ‘Fact-check Me!’ extension (Serbia)
From March 2020 to February 2021
The ‘“Fact-check Me!” extension for web browsers will enable readers of the most popular Serbian news portals to easily and with just one click communicate with Istinomer journalists. They can suggest politicians’ and public officials’ statements or potentially fake news from media articles for Istinomer fact-checking. The app will show the visual distinction between false news and credible facts within articles from different media outlets that have been fact-checked by the Istinomer.
Milena Popovic, project leader:
“This is yet another effort to use innovation to scrutinize politicians’ and public officials’ statements and promises, and equip citizens with tools to raise demand for accountable performance of their representatives.”
4) OW DataLeads / First Check (India)
From April 2020 to March 2021
First Check is a unique collaborative project in terms of its format and approach. It is a fact-check arm of the award-winning Health Analytics Asia and is devoted to fact-checking misinformation related to health and medicine. This initiative is an attempt to bring journalists, doctors and technologists together with an aim to identify and combat medical misinformation, hoaxes, unscientific medical advice and dubious claims.
Nabeela Khan Inayati, project leader:
“Health misinformation is an emerging public health emergency.Our initiative is a critical starting place and a leverage point for building collaboration between journalists and non-journalists (doctors, in our case) to fact-check medical misinformation.”
5) Pagella Politica / The Fact-Checking Engagement Project (Italy)
From April 2020 to April 2021
Every day, facts struggle to compete with sensationalistic headlines, fake content and misleading political propaganda. So fact-checkers ask themselves how they can reach more people, with more engaging content. The Fact-Checking Engagement Project will answer this question. Thanks to a new platform and a handbook, our project will help fact-checkers reach the highest number of people of all ages around the world, collecting best practices, success stories and practical tips.
Giovanni Zagni, project leader:
“If you are a fact-checker, The Fact-Checking Engagement Project will help you make your work more valuable, and bring it closer to readers. If you are a reader, you will find that fact-checking can be an immersive, engaging and impactful experience.”
6) Salud con Lupa / Lupa Colectiva (Peru)
From March to December 2020
The Lupa Colectiva (the “magnifying glass collective” in English) is an initiative focused on discrediting false claims about public health and medicine published online. The project will offer the public explanations and contextual data to promote rigorous, critical thinking about public health and medicine. It’s the first public health fact-checking project for Spanish speakers based on collaboration among journalists, health professionals and citizen contributors.
Fabiola Torres, project leader:
“This system of collaboration among journalists, health professionals and citizen contributors is an important first step to start a process of education about health literacy in Latin America.”
7) Teyit /All roads lead to truth (Turkey)
From April 2020 to March 2021
The main target of the project is to make fact-checking work and media literacy skills accessible by using the screens on the transportation lines of the four biggest cities in Turkey, in which nearly 30 million people live, as a medium. It allows us to reach daily passengers who are more diverse in transportation vehicles rather than the followers who are tailored by social media algorithms.
Mehmet Atakan Foça, project leader:
“With this project, we will put our fact-check and how-to videos to screens which the passengers look at. Ensuring this is important in a polarized country where passing over the echo chambers and exposing the people with truth is harder than ever.”