By Onome Amuge
Full Fact, a UK-based charity which tackles misinformation through fact-checking and campaigns, has confirmed its partnership with Nigerian fact checkers in a bid to promote credibility in information during the upcoming general election in Nigeria on February 25, 2023.
The development will see Full Fact expand the use of its AI tools to curb the spread of misinformation during the election in partnership with Nigerian fact check organisations including Africa Check, Dubawa, and FactCheckHub.
The project, buoyed by a $2 million grant from Google’s philanthropic arm, Google.org, has also been supported by seven dedicated technical Google.org fellows who worked on a pro bono basis. This has led to remarkable results, with Full Fact’s AI technology gaining a 1000 times increase in claim detection (i.e. identifying which claims are most important to fact-check) and helped scale their fact-checks to appear in 237 million search results in 2020.
The technology, developed by Full Fact since 2015, will now be used in a Nigerian election for the first time, offering instant transcription services and real-time fact-checking during debates, speeches and throughout the election process to increase the speed and accuracy of information dissemination. In addition to this, Full Fact said it will provide ongoing training and support to its local fact-checking partners during the election process.
Despite the emergence of organisations and initiatives aimed at countering the spread of misinformation and promoting accurate information in Nigeria, Full Fact noted that fact-checking still faces challenges such as limited resources and difficulties accessing information. It, however, assured of its determination to make it harder for false and misleading claims to spread and erode trust in democracy with the utilisation of its AI technology.
Full Fact AI is a suite of robust, scalable software tools designed to assist fact checkers and organisations focused on promoting accurate information. The combination of artificial intelligence and human expertise enables Full Fact AI users to effectively combat misinformation while maintaining high standards of accuracy and credibility.
Full Fact AI provides three tools to Nigerian fact checkers which include:
-The Search tool, which helps identify the most significant statements to fact check each day by monitoring online media, social media, and RSS feeds.
– The Alerts tool, which informs fact checkers of repeat instances of previously fact-checked false information, allowing them to act quickly and insert accurate information into public discourse.
-The Real-Time tool, which offers an instant transcription of election debates, interviews, and town halls, eliminating the need for manual transcription and providing a record of fact-checkable claims.
During the course of the Nigerian elections, Full Fact AI is expected to share fact checks, images, videos, and impact stories from their fact-checking service.
Will Moy, CEO of Full Fact, asserted that every vote should be an informed vote. Moy lamented how bad information spreads during an election, noting that it can’t be allowed to undermine democracy.
“Our AI tools, with support from Google.org, help fact checkers stay ahead of false claims and promote accurate information. We’re proud to support our partners in Nigeria during this important time,” he said.
Speaking in a similar vein, Dawn Dimowo, government affairs & public policy manager, Nigeria, said:”At Google.org, we’re dedicated to using our resources and technology to make a positive impact on society.” He stated further that continuing Google’s support for Full Fact in Nigeria is an exciting opportunity to help stop the spread of misinformation and promote accurate information during the election.
“This builds on our ongoing efforts to support local fact-checking initiatives. We’re proud to support this important project and make a positive difference in the world,” Dimowo added.
Opeyemi Kehinde, editor of FactCheckHub, confirmed that using the Full Fact AI tool, built in collaboration with Africa Check, has enhanced its work ahead of Nigeria’s 2023 general election.
“Since we were onboarded, our team of fact-checkers and researchers at the Nigerian Fact-checkers Coalition (NFC) have been utilising the AI platform to source claims for debunking easily. The platform also comes in handy for our live checks of political town halls and debates for candidates, especially its live transcription feature, which we hope to utilise in the days before the election,” Kehinde explained.
Kemi Busari, editor of Dubawa, said the Full Fact AI has been very helpful in the lead up to the 2023 elections in Nigeria.
“I use the tools searching for claims and even identifying persistent spreaders of falsehood. These tools, combined, would further help us as fact-checkers to hold politicians accountable and help people access accurate information about the election,” Busari remarked.
David Ajikobi, Nigerian editor at Africa check, said Full Fact’s AI Tools, which Africa Check helped develop, allows the coalition to monitor news websites, social media pages and transcribe live TV or radio to find claims to fact check.
This, according to Ajikobi, has boosted the coalition’s resolve to significantly reduce the spread and impact of election-related misinformation and disinformation.