Missed GlobalFact 10? Here's a lowdown of what happened at the conference

Missed GlobalFact 10? Here's a lowdown of what happened at the conference

By: Team Logically Facts&
June 30 2023

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Missed GlobalFact 10? Here's a lowdown of what happened at the conference

Image source: Pixabay

As the world battles with misinformation, South Korea hosted fact-checkers and advocates for fact-checking from 65 countries in Seoul for the 10th annual summit of the GlobalFact, an initiative that began in 2014 in London. 

Regarded as 'the world's largest and most impactful fact-checking summit,' GlobalFact 10 was hosted by Poynter's International Fact-Checking Network (IFCN) in partnership with SNUFactCheck. Over three days, beginning June 28, the summit saw keynote presentations, breakout sessions, and exclusive networking events aimed at countering misinformation.

Discussions at the summit ranged from challenges of generative AI and its potential for spreading misinformation to the tech platform's attempt at combating misinformation.  

Logically Facts was among the many participants at GlobalFact 10, where it presented key findings from its recently conducted consumer research. Here's a quick recap of what all happened in Seoul. 

Google’s tools for fact-checkers

Google unveiled a range of updates for its Fact Check Explorer tool during the “Google Fact Check Explorer Lightning Talk” session on June 28, 2023, featuring Mevan Babakar, Google's News and Information Credibility lead, and Avneesh Sud, a software engineer at Google Research, as the keynote speakers.

The company has upgraded its Fact Check Explorer tool to facilitate fact-checking using images, enabling users to search images that have already been fact-checked. The tool, introduced in response to feedback from the fact-checking community, is at a global beta version stage.

Emphasizing on image manipulation, Babar and Sud spoke about Google’s introduction of the beta version of another feature providing contextual information and timelines of images that can be used to analyze the evolution of topics over a specific period of time. It has the ability to detect and identify images even after being manipulated by overlays or edits, including text overlays. 

The Fact Check Explorer was initially launched as a joint initiative by Google Research and Google News initiative in 2018 with the aim of providing fact-checking tools to the general public. One of the key features offered by this initiative is a markup tool, enabling fact-checkers to submit claim reviews and media reviews.

How sustainable is fact-checking?

On June 28, a session called "Sustainability of fact-checking: who is stealing our data and what can we do about it?" saw a conversation around the financial vulnerability of fact-checking organizations. The session featured Clara Jiménez Cruz, Co-founder & CEO at Maldita.es and Factchequeado, Summer Chen, the Editor-in-Chief of the Taiwan FactCheck Center, and Andrew Dudfield, Interim CEO at Full Fact, who put forth the idea of fact-checkers transforming into data providers and collectively commercializing their datasets for AI training, detection patterns, and other activities. 

Chen expressed concerns regarding the government's use of data, while Cruz highlighted concerns over data theft. Dudfield emphasized their mission of ensuring that content reaches people in the places where they need it the most, with the objective of empowering individuals by providing open and accessible information precisely when they need it. Dudfield acknowledged the dynamic nature of AI and its continuous evolution, which brings both excitement and trepidation.

Chen stressed that it is the right time to engage in a conversation with AI companies, specifically addressing the need to integrate defensive mechanisms against misinformation generation into AI tools. This collaboration should involve both parties and should not compromise data security, she added. 

Debunking election misinformation across borders

A session titled “Fact-Checkers Unite: Debunking Election Misinformation Across Borders,” saw fact-checkers from Turkey, South Korea, and Brazil discuss best practices and experiences in debunking election misinformation. While focusing on the importance of fact-checking in general and drawing on examples from recent elections, the speakers deduced that similar tactics are being used to spread misinformation in each region. 

You can read our report from this session here.

The China factor

During the session, "The China factor: Unpacking the complexity of state propaganda and anti-China sentiment," representatives of Annie Lab, the Japan Fact-Check Centre, and the Taiwan FactCheck Centre, discussed China-related misinformation, as well as responses in the region.

The panelists discussed that “maintaining stability and legitimacy” and promoting Chinese President Xi Jinping’s "national rejuvenation" are key drivers for the Chinese ruling party and influence state-directed misinformation campaigns.

The panelists also spoke about how pro-China elements in Taiwan can aid the spread of Chinese misinformation narratives. In contrast, Daisuke Furata of the Japan Fact-Check Centre spoke on how the country sees less Chinese misinformation than others in the region but experiences a large number of false narratives concerning Japan in Chinese language sources.

While misinformation directed by the Chinese government and sympathetic actors is a problem, panelists also spoke on how anti-China sentiment is an issue that can aid the spread of false narratives in the region.

Musk, Twitter, and the future of misinformation

On June 30, 2023, Yoel Roth, former head of trust & safety at Twitter, covered a range of topics, including Elon Musk’s takeover of the microblogging site, Twitter’s action against former U.S. President Donald Trump during the 2020 presidential elections, and the company’s decision to rely on public content when the misinformation labels were rolled out.

Roth spoke candidly about Musk and mentioned having a conversation with him about elections. He said Musk understood the challenges of social media and real-world harm and articulated that he did not want Twitter to become the cause of violence during electoral periods. 

Yoel also acknowledged that Twitter never had the resources that other platforms had and that their stance was different when he was at the company, which was not relying on independent fact-checkers.

Meta reaffirms dedication to fact-checking

A panel discussion on June 29 focused on Meta’s strategy to combat misinformation. Kaitlin McCulley, the manager of Meta's Integrity Partnerships program, affirmed Meta's unwavering dedication to fact-checking despite recent cutbacks and staff reductions

Meta stated that it prioritizes upcoming elections in countries like Pakistan, Bangladesh, Indonesia, India, and the U.S., recognizing the challenges they pose and the necessity of supporting existing partners with tools for efficient fact-checking. Trushar Barot, leading Meta's fact-checking partner program in India, highlighted the significant risk associated with the Indian election due to its scale and digital nature.

The panel also addressed the challenges of generative AI and its potential for spreading misinformation. Barot and McCulley sought feedback from fact-checkers to identify gaps and risks in dealing with AI-generated content. Meta relies on fact-checkers to track and address misleading AI content across platforms. Despite financial challenges, Meta reiterated its dedication to fact-checking, with a focus on partnerships and seeking guidance to enhance their visibility and tracking capabilities.

The invasion of Ukraine and the spread of Russian disinformation

On June 29, Ika Ningtyas, from Tempo Fact-check Indonesia revealed that their organization has been closely monitoring the impact of propaganda and misinformation since Russia’s invasion of Ukraine in February 2022. Between February 2022 and May 2023, they debunked a total of 77 instances of misinformation, with Facebook being the primary platform of focus due to its partnership with Meta. 

Ningtyas added that misinformation thrived on several significant topics, including Indonesia-Russia relations. False claims of enduring closeness between the nations and Russia's previous involvement in Indonesian conflicts spread widely, with misleading content propagated by anonymous accounts on Facebook and TikTok.

The influence of propaganda is attributed to anti-USA sentiments, a limited understanding of the conflict's geopolitical context, biased media framing, and low historical literacy.

In a separate session the same day, Fakenews.pl and other organizations identified seven main narratives prevalent in countries like Poland, including refugees, war events, and the negative consequences of sanctions.

In Poland, the focus between February and October 2022 was found to be complex historical events such as World War II, the Volhynia massacre, and the issue of Ukrainian refugees. These narratives were intertwined with fears of Ukrainization, with certain far-right parties and politicians spreading conspiracies about COVID-19 and vaccines. These ideas were further connected to notions of a New World Order aiming to dismantle Poland and establish a new country. However, speakers stated that the disinformation campaign has not been successful in Poland thus far, with high support for Ukraine and refugees being welcomed in, the situation may change as Ukraine fades from the news spotlight and the disinformation tactics evolve. 

Findings from Logically Facts’ new research

On June 28, Logically Facts’ own Lorena Martinez and Katherine Watson presented key findings from a recent survey. The survey involved over 6,000 consumers in the U.K., U.S., and India, exploring their perspectives on fact-checking, media, social platforms, and technology.

The study, Logically Facts' Global Research Report, found that trust in media varies, with 22 percent of those surveyed stating a lack of trust in all media. Social media platforms like YouTube and Facebook are slightly more trusted, particularly among men. In India, YouTube and WhatsApp emerged as more trusted sources. Seventy-four percent of respondents were familiar with fact-checking, although awareness declined with age. Additionally, 72 percent agreed that inaccurate information undermines society and politics.

The survey also identified the most significant concern being the potential harm caused by misinformation, impacting health choices, human rights, and inciting violence.

How can misinformation be tackled at speed and scale?

Jaskirat Singh Bawa, Global Head of Fact-checking at Logically Facts, and Sam Watson, the Senior Product Manager, were the speakers in a session held on June 30. The session highlighted Logically Facts' AI-powered detection capabilities and Logically Intelligence platform, focusing on their applications in fact-checking.

Bawa emphasized technology's role in streamlining fact-checking processes and highlighted the impact of the 2016 U.S. elections, which led to social media giants implementing programs like third-party fact-checking. The interactive session engaged the audience with questions about fact-checking priorities and time allocation. 

Watson introduced Logically Intelligence (LI), a tool that detects online misinformation, threats, and offensive information operations. LI collects and analyzes data from platforms like Facebook, Google, Instagram, Twitter, TikTok, and WhatsApp. He further explained how machine learning segments data and presents insights through charts, thus aiding fact-checkers in identifying viral claims. Watson also stated that Logically Facts is developing a tool to extract claims and search for relevant news and scientific articles, enabling faster fact-checking. 

Bawa highlighted that though the generated information might not be entirely suitable for public consumption, it can be supported by editorial excellence to rapidly debunk claims, adding that the platform has the potential to greatly minimize research time during the fact-checking process.

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Global Fact-Checks Completed

We rely on information to make meaningful decisions that affect our lives, but the nature of the internet means that misinformation reaches more people faster than ever before