Fact-checkers meet in Capetown, share strategies to fight fake news

Fact-checkers meet in Capetown, share strategies to fight fake news. [PHOTO CREDIT: Akintunde Babatunde]
Fact-checkers meet in Capetown, share strategies to fight fake news. [PHOTO CREDIT: Akintunde Babatunde]

With fake news becoming a global threat to effective circulation of accurate news, Factcheckers from around the world will hold the global fact checking conference at the University of Cape Town’s New Lecture Theatre, from June 19-21.

The annual summit, which started in London in 2014, is an opportunity for journalists, academics and technologists to come together to network and exchange new insights and past experiences.

When the first Global Fact-Checking Summit took place in London in 2014, the world of fact-checking was significantly smaller than it is today.

Only about 30 active fact-checking organisations dedicated to fighting fake news attended that event.

According to the organisers, Global Fact 6, holding in South Africa, is the first time the event will be holding on the African continent.

Global Fact 6 will address some of the most important issues in fact-checking and misinformation, including: Impact and reach of fact-checking, misinformation on different platforms, monetisation and revenue sources, new formats for fact-checking, acceleration and automation of the fact-checking process.

The event will also act as a breeding ground for ideas that can grow into tangible, large-scale projects in the years to come.

The International Fact-Checking Network will host Global Fact 6 in partnership with Africa Check, a global leader in fact-checking.

It is made possible thanks to funding from Craig Newmark Philanthropies, the Duke Reporters’ Lab, Luminate and the Open Society Foundations.

The three-day fact-checking conference had previously been held in London (2014 and 2015), Madrid (2016), Buenos Aires (2017) and Rome (2018).

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The group of more than 200 participants includes 70 people from Europe, 60 from Africa, 55 from Asia, 44 from North and Central America, 16 from South America and five from Oceania.

Also on Tuesday, The African Network of Factcheckers had their second coalition meeting where the future of fact checking in Africa was discussed.

The event tagged “Building non-partisan fact-checking on the continent” was held on June 18, 2019, Cape Town, South Africa.

Carina van Wyk, TRi Facts Head of Education and Training, Africa Check said the meeting was necessary because “the continent as a whole is in crisis and the only way we can solve the problem is ensuring that fact checkers from across Africa have a solid network where their work can be strengthened and experiences and tools to make fact checking more effective are shared”.

“Following Africa Facts 1 in November 2017, an open network of African fact-checkers was established to share knowledge and lessons learned, and provide practical support to develop the practice of non-partisan fact-checking. Africa Facts 2 aims to further foster independent, non-partisan fact-checking organisations in African countries and help in assisting organisations to apply to become International Fact-Checking Network signatories,” she said.

The meeting had Rosemary Ajayi, Research Director, Digital Africa Research Lab talk about “The importance of fact-checking in the fight against mis- and disinformation in Africa” where she showed the participants how fake news affected the 2019 elections in Nigeria.

Ebele Oputa, Deputy Editor and Project Officer, DubawaNG had a presentation on “How to choose what to fact-check”

She also explained the roles Dubawa played during Nigeria’s 2019 general elections where they successfully carried out over 20 on-the-spot verification of fake news.

DubawaNG is the first indigenous National Fact Checking platform in Nigeria. It’s an initiative of the Premium Times Centre for Investigative Journalism.

Facebook officials were also at the event to talk about Facebook’s commitment to help end fake news in Africa.

Keren Goldshlager, Global News Integrity for Facebook, and Guido Buelow, Strategic Partner Development News for Europe, the Middle East and Africa, Facebook, said the efforts at Facebook to minimise the spread of misinformation is necessary because “Facebook considers it as a responsibility”.

“Our platform is a major social messaging platform, we have seen how many people have used it to spread one kind of misinformation or the other, since we can’t be all over, we decided to create “Facebook’s third-party fact-checking partnership” to empower fact checking organizations go monitor and report fake news being spread on the platform.”

Other issues discussed at the event include: How to fact-check effectively, Funding fact-checking in Africa, and applying to become an IFCN signatory: the challenges and benefits.

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