- Priority Area Supporting Research into Media, Disinformation and Information Literacy Across Europe
- Year 2022, 2023, 2024
- Country Italy
- Project Status Ongoing
This project brings the Analysis of Competing Hypotheses (ACH) methodology to the fact-checking domain to counter and control for cognitive bias in the fact-checking process. The project will develop a new generation of digital tools based on ACH to empower and improve fact-checking organisations’ decision-making processes. The project begins with a qualitative assessment of fact-checkers understanding and identification of cognitive bias. The project will then leverage these insights to inform the design of a digital infrastructure to improve fact checkers’ decision-making processes towards impartiality (de-bias fact-checking tool). The usefulness of these tools will be then assessed through feedback provided by the fact-checkers and observing potential changes in public visibility of the enhanced fact-checks combining qualitative and quantitative methodologies. This project is therefore focused on the verification process itself by taking inspiration from the intelligence community’s approach. The intelligence community has developed tools such as the Analysis of Competing Hypotheses (ACH) approach to improve decision-making and reduce bias related to intelligence assessment. Applying ACH to fact-checking would allow an understanding of the potential cognitive biases throughout the verification process. Fact-checkers may, for example, suffer from “confirmation bias”. As such, they may be exposed to the risk of not considering alternative hypotheses and therefore prioritising supporting rather than conflicting evidence. Our overall aim is to develop structured analytical techniques using argument technologies that implement ACH. We believe this will enhance impartiality in the post-hoc fact-checking process and increase the effectiveness of offering the public the means to sift truth from fakery.