EMIF Management Committee approved the final list of supported projects, awarding a total of € 541 107,89 for 8 new projects under the Sixth Funding Round of Boosting Fact-Checking Activities ongoing Call.

The projects will address disinformation from different perspectives, such as election-targeted disinformation, war, economic disinformation and the integration of technology, specially AI, into the fact-checking routines<.

Get to know a bit more in detail about the projects approved.

Name of the Project: The Multilingual Fact-Checker Chatbot
Lead Applicant: Newtral (Spain)
Grant Amount: €80,000

In the face of increasing misinformation, this project introduces a novel multilingual chatbot powered by Generative AI, designed to counteract disinformation by providing fact-checked information to users globally. This chatbot aims to offer real-time, conversational fact-checking assistance, transforming the way individuals interact with information validation processes.

Many fact-checkers use chatbots via platforms like WhatsApp, but the experience usually relies on directed responses and a selection of predefined choices, falling short of being a true conversation. Our project endeavors to bridge this gap, aspiring to provide users with a conversational experience akin to having a personal assistant fact-checker-like within their chat interface.

To bolster the chatbot’s comprehensiveness and adaptability, the project encourages collaboration with multiple fact-checkers, particularly across Europe, to enhance the database and check its accuracy in different target languages and diverse socio-cultural contexts. Focusing on EU regions vulnerable to disinformation campaigns, particularly those backed by foreign entities, the project emphasizes deploying this chatbot as a critical tool for accessing trustworthy information. Success in this endeavor could significantly contribute to a more informed and resilient information ecosystem in Europe and beyond.

Our primary target groups include citizens and media consumers in Albania, Hungary, Lithuania, Slovenia and Spain, who are seeking accurate and reliable information regarding the Ukraine war. By combining the latest in AI technology with a novel approach to fact-checking, this project aspires to create a groundbreaking tool that enhances how individuals interact with information. We aim to establish a new standard in the fight against misinformation, offering a “personal fact-checker” to users worldwide.

Name of the Project: The Search Barometer – A tool to understand search engine vulnerabilities ahead of the EP elections
Lead Applicant: Transatlantic Foundation (Belgium)
Grant Amount: €54,917

As the de facto gateway to the vast troves of information available online, search engines play a critical role in the modern information ecosystem. Yet to date, most of the research on information threats has focused on social media. This has left a blind spot in our collective efforts to understand the specific narratives and sources that require fact-checks and other interventions.

This project aims to address that knowledge gap by creating a tool to systematically capture and visualize search results on queries related to critical issues ahead of the 2024 EU parliamentary elections. The objective is to provide European fact-checkers and other information integrity practitioners with a near-real time look at the sources and content being shown to users across Europe when people search for topics ranging from the war in Ukraine to migration, inflation, and Euroscepticism. This will give us (and the wider fact-checking community) a barometer to assess if election-related topics are being weaponized and, more importantly, if those weaponized narratives are deserving of a fact-check based on their prominence in search results.

To accomplish these goals, this project will have four main activities. First, we will scope key terms and concepts that are likely to be targets of information manipulation campaigns before the EU elections. Next, we will build a data visualization tool to ingest and visualize daily search results generated by selected key terms on major search engines. We will then conduct a virtual training on the tool for European fact-checking partner organizations and other CSOs working on information integrity issues. Finally, we will produce briefs during the project period to highlight risks identified by our research. The goal is not only to provide our own analyses of search vulnerabilities, but also to improve the analyses of fact-checking organizations across Europe, thus improving our collective information defenses ahead of the election.

Name of the Project: ESG – Exposing Speculative Greenwashing
Lead Applicant: Voxeurop SCE (France)
Grant Amount: €78,900

This project will address critical issues surrounding green finance, with a particular focus on the misrepresentation and lack of true sustainability in investment products. With the public showing great interest in green finance, the project aims to investigate and correct the prevalence of misleading ‘ESG’ products.

Preliminary research will show that products claiming to take environmental or social factors into account are often mislabelled as ‘green bonds’ or ‘sustainable investments’. The project will take advantage of the new European regulatory framework for green finance to prevent misrepresentation. However, it recognises that banks and asset managers can manipulate semantics and misleadingly use EU green labels to present their products as greener than they are. In particular, the project will highlight how carbon emitters, including oil companies, are exploiting loose market-based voluntary standards to certify their polluting activities as green, thereby securing capital for environmentally damaging projects through financial institutions.

It will also highlight the alarming trend of companies contributing to deforestation in developing countries raising capital in Europe thanks to inflated green ratings. Non-binding EU requirements will be scrutinised for their contribution to these divergences from a robust green finance system. The project aims to expose these loopholes, advocate for stronger regulation and promote transparency in the green finance sector. It will use methods including in-depth research, analysis of regulatory frameworks and awareness raising through media channels. The ultimate goal will be to create a more reliable green finance system, ensuring that investments truly contribute to environmental and social well-being.

Name of the Project: Fighting the hybrid war in Latvia 2024
Lead Applicant: DELFI JSC (Latvia)
Grant Amount: €35,700.40

The project “Fighting the hybrid war in Latvia 2024” aims to address the vulnerability of Russian-speaking minorities to disinformation, given their post-Soviet past and proximity to Russia. It targets socially and economically active Latvian audiences, particularly those in rural areas, and Russian-speaking audiences locally and abroad. Our goal is to combat disinformation by providing reliable news, enhancing fact-checking capacity, and reaching critical audiences. Recognizing the prevalence of misinformation among older generations lacking the skills to discern false information, we aim to use the internet, especially the widely visited Delfi.lv portal, to disseminate articles debunking misinformation.

Acknowledging the vulnerability of the Russian-speaking population, particularly post the Russian invasion of Ukraine, we aim to establish Delfi.lv RUS as a credible and popular source of information to counter disinformation. Highlighting the lack of AI techniques for detecting false information in Latvia, we emphasize the reliance on human resources for fact-checking. Strengthening cooperation with the International Fact-Checking Network (IFCN) is crucial. This allows the translation and distribution of articles in English and Russian, broadening our reach and enhancing the fight against disinformation campaigns.

Our outlined activities include exposing disinformation related to Russia, Belarus, and the war in Ukraine, along with cases on local Latvia topics. Strengthening cooperation with the IFCN, disseminating articles to Latvian and Russian audiences, and raising awareness through advertisements, social media posts, and online discussions are key elements.

Name of the Project: Capacity Building in Newsrooms: Verifying Facts in Times of Deepfakes and Disinformation
Lead Applicant: Fojo Media Institute at the Linnaeus University (Sweden)
Grant Amount: € 80,000

The project “Capacity Building in Newsrooms: Verifying Facts in Times of Deepfakes and Disinformation”, led by Fojo Media Institute at Linnaeus university, Sweden, aims to combat (AI-generated) disinformation by enhancing fact-checking and digital verification skills in European newsrooms. It plans to develop online tools for verification and fact-checking, and foster skills in open-source investigations (OSINT). The project will train participants from different newsrooms across Scandinavia plus Ukraine in content verification technologies and network analysis tools, expecting to establish a solid network of fact-checkers also beyond the duration of the project. Partners Bellingcat, CASM Technology, and Factiverse will provide technology to boost fact-checking abilities.

The project includes four workshops over 12 months, encouraging participants to develop joint cases and fact-checking projects. The goal is to recruit 10-20 individuals from Scandinavia and Ukraine, enhancing capacity building and spreading new skills in newsrooms. The project anticipates a significant impact, with Fojo keeping toolboxes available for future fact-checkers. The overarching aim of the project is to contribute to capacity building in what can be called advanced media forensics: collaborative practices to explore open (digital) sources, apply visual forensics for image verification, all in all serving to reconstruct spaces where truthful journalistic narration can be established, and where the epistemic chaos of the contemporary information landscape can be effectively countered in media. We expect that knowledge exchange and introduction of toolboxes will be implemented by independent factcheckers outside and inside newsrooms by the end of the project period and that we will have laid the ground for a solid network for future collaboration among factcheckers in Europe.

Name of the Project: Truth in Polling
Lead Applicant: Europe Elects (Germany)
Grant Amount: €78,912.50

Europe Elects, an organisation with 10 years of experience in serving the public with critically reviewed polling data, is expanding its activities with the “Europe Elects: Truth in Polling” initiative, the goal of which is combating the spread of misinformation and disinformation in the field of polling across Europe. The project is meant to address a number of critical needs in the public sphere, including:

  1. The need for an independent organisation to monitor political polling activity.
  2. The need for a systematic review of European political pollsters.
  3. The need for a public report that speaks to these issues.

The project is to use a variety of methods to fact-check pollsters and poll data, including but not limited to:

  1. Deepened dialogue with political pollsters in countries of the European Political Community with the goal of reviewing their work collaboratively with them.
  2. Identifying patterns and possible conflicts of interest related to ties between pollsters and third parties, which may involve interviewing sources, reviewing public records, and more.
  3. Reviewing methodology, which includes looking at the sample size, the sampling method, the weighting method, and the question wording.
  4. Checking the pollster’s track record, which includes looking at how accurate their polls have been in the past.

The target audiences of the project are European citizens, Journalists and media professionals, Policymakers and government officials, and Researchers and academics.

Europe Elects wants to publish its findings in a public report featuring a review of European pollsters engaging in political work, which then can be used by all democratic stakeholders with an interest in public opinion data.

Name of the Project: Debunking Deceit: Defend Ukraine and EU Against Malign Mis/Disinformation
Lead Applicant: Context.ro (Romania)
Grant Amount: €77,700

The project brings together investigative media group Context.ro and fact-checker experts of Misreport team, in an effort to research, factcheck and debunk the top 10 anti-Ukrainian and anti-EU propaganda narratives related to Ukraine which are disseminated by Russian sources and malign nationalist-extremist forces. These are severely impacting Romanians’ support for Ukraine, its refugees, as well Romanians’ backing for EU’s policies in the current context generated by Russia’s war against Ukraine.

In a unique formula composition in Romania and in Ukraine, this program will bring together Ukrainian, Romanian and British reporters, information warfare fact-checkers and web experts who will use modern investigative technology. The teams will analyze and write 10 in depth analyses which will be promoted in a thorough social media campaign to Romanian speakers in Romania, Moldova, Ukraine and Western Europe, as well as to Ukrainian refugees and stakeholders.

Ultimately, the program aims to alter the malign informational eco-chambers promoting anti-EU and anti-Ukrainian propaganda by exposing the networks and the malign players, as well as the readers to new, correct, verified and documented information. Both team members, Context and Misreport, have lately convinced Facebook/Meta to delete several pages spreading false information in Romania and in Europe.

Name of the Project: Fact checking the 2024 UK general election
Lead Applicant: Full Fact (United Kingdom)
Grant Amount: €54,977.99

The next UK general election provides an opportunity to increase Full Fact’s output, reach new audiences and inform millions of people across the UK with accurate information, all while maintaining the usual high standards of accuracy, independence, and impartiality.

Lack of faith in politics is regularly among the top ten most important issues facing Britain according to the UK public, and the repeated misuse of facts is eroding trust and interest in politics. This is all evidence that fact checking is needed to inform the UK public with trustworthy information, increase scrutiny for people in positions of power and rebuild trust in democratic life.

With the ‘Fact checking the 2024 UK general election’ project, we will deliver a set of initiatives aimed to fact check a wider range of claims, disseminating our pieces through traditional and online media. In particular, we will carry on with our regular fact checking activities, analyse parties’ manifestos, and partner with media broadcasters to live fact check public debates. We will also produce short videos and update the public through a daily live blog.

An additional objective of the project is to increase the visibility of our content, ensuring that our fact checks are more regularly picked up by major national media broadcasters. By achieving this, Full Fact would wield greater influence in urging policymakers to reform political practices and enact legislation addressing misinformation, leading to an improved media information environment.

AI tools developed by Full Fact, will be used to monitor the debate and scale up the impact of our fact checking. Full Fact AI makes it easier and quicker for our fact checkers to narrow down the most salient things to check each day. We select claims according to the scale and severity of harm they can cause, prioritising those with the greatest potential for harm. Ultimately, our fact checking and reports are used to improve research and the information ecosystem in Europe and worldwide.

Updated on 15 march 2024

Cookies settings

Cookies Selection

This website uses cookies to improve your browsing experience, security, and its website performance. We may also use cookies to share information on social media and to display messages and advertisements personalised to your interests, both on our website and in others.