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Google supports Full Fact to build automated factchecking tools

17th Nov 2016 | Mevan Babakar

In August we released our white paper The State of Automated Factchecking claiming that within 12 months, and with the right funding, we could have an automated factchecking tool in the palm of every willing journalist.

Now Google’s Digital News Initiative has awarded Full Fact €50,000 of prototype funding.

The final application we sent was for “FACTS: Factchecking Automation and Claim Tracking System”. The first fully automated end-to-end factchecking system.

There are two modes to it. One identifies claims that have previously been factchecked and provides short accurate verdicts straight away.

The second, and most innovative mode, factchecks claims automatically using Natural Language Processing and statistical analysis—something never done before. And this will all happen in real-time.

Not only are more claims being made than ever before, but they can now spread faster than ever too. Factchecking must keep up and automation can help.

A lot of people on both sides felt lied to during the referendum. What's worse is that many people think it's inevitable they will be lied to. Only about 1 in 5 of us generally trust politicians or journalists to tell the truth. We all need tools that help us choose when to trust and when not to trust claims we hear. Otherwise, it’s too easy just to switch off completely and be cynical about everything.

As well as generous support from Google, our automated factchecking work so far has been supported by two of the UK's leading smaller technology companies: Bytemark's generous donation of high-powered hosting, and the expertise of both Bytemark and open source search specialists Flax.

We still need a lot more funding to fully realise these products. If you'd like to support our roadmap in big ways or small, or are a developer who would like to work on them, please contact Mevan Babakar on mevan@fullfact.org.

Read more:

  • TechCrunch Full Fact aims to end fake news with automated fact checking tools
  • Wired Google is helping Full Fact create an automated, real-time fact-checker
  • The Guardian Fake news clampdown: Google gives 150,000 to fact-checking projects  
  • Engadget Full Fact wants to automate fact checking to fight fake news
  • Independent Google funds automated fact-checking software in bid to fight fake news
  • Nieman Lab Fact-checking and data-driven projects among winners of Google’s Digital News Initiative funding

We aim for our factchecks to be as accurate and up-to-date as possible. If you think we've made an error or missed some relevant information, please email team@fullfact.org.