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French newsrooms unite to fight election misinformation with the launch of CrossCheck

CrossCheck is a collaborative verification project that will help voters to make sense of what and who to trust online

Crosscheck

Today, we are proud to announce the launch of CrossCheck with Google News Lab. CrossCheck is a collaborative journalism verification project that aims to help the public make sense of what and who to trust in their social media feeds, web searches and general online news consumption in the coming months. Facebook will also support CrossCheck through dedicated tools and media literacy efforts that will help to explain the verification process and keep relevant audiences up to date with confirmed and disputed information relating to the election.

CrossCheck brings together expertise from media and technology industries to ensure hoaxes, rumors and false claims are swiftly debunked, and misleading or confusing stories are accurately reported. With the French presidential election as its primary focus, journalists from organizations across France will work together to find and verify content circulating publicly online, whether it is photographs, videos, memes, comment threads or news sites.

The public will be encouraged to participate by submitting questions and links to disputed sites and social content for CrossCheck to investigate. These questions will all be listed and answered on a dedicated CrossCheck website.

Developed from ideas initially shared at a First Draft Partner Network meeting in September 2016, CrossCheck has been designed in consultation with local and national newsrooms in France. Seventeen newsrooms have already joined the project and early partners include AFP (Agence France-Presse), BuzzFeed News, France Médias Monde (via les Observateurs de France 24), France Télévisions, Global Voices, Libération, La Provence, Les Echos, La Voix du Nord, Le Monde, Nice-Matin, Ouest-France, Rue89 Bordeaux, Rue89Lyon, Rue89 Strasbourg, Storyful and StreetPress.  Each participating newsroom will contribute their own experience, resources and regional knowledge to speed and strengthen the verification process, and to ensure that accurate reports reach citizens across the country and beyond. CrossCheck partners, including a number of international news organizations, will ultimately make use of these reports in their own articles, programs and social media output.

CrossCheck will be using a variety of tools and technology platforms including:

  • CrowdTanglea tool that will help early discovery and monitoring of social content that is relevant to the election
  • Spike, NewsWhip’s technology for spotting and predicting breakout stories, social posts and viral events.
  • Google Trends to surface searches about candidates and campaign claims in real time from all over the country
  • Hearken‘s Engagement Management System to gather and respond to questions submitted by the public
  • Meedan’s Check, a collaborative verification platform
  • SAM’s social media CMS, workflow tools and upcoming Social Newswire
  • Le Monde’s Le Décodex, a growing database of more than 600 news sites that have been identified and tagged as “satire,” “real,” “fake,” etc.

The project benefits from the collective learnings and experience gained by First Draft and Google News Lab through their involvement in Electionland, a joint initiative to surface and report evidence of voter suppression around the US election in November 2016.

As with Electionland, selected students will receive training to use a combination of pioneering newsroom technologies and advanced search techniques. CrossCheck will invite volunteers from CFJ and Science Po Journalism School in Paris to take part. CrossCheck editors from participating newsrooms will then summarize and add context to each claim, creating a live feed of shareable report cards on the CrossCheck site. This feed will be overseen by the Agence-France Presse.

First Draft Founding Partner Bellingcat will map patterns and behaviors within the misinformation ecosystem as part of a wider research relating to the European elections. Timely reports and graphics produced by Bellingcat will feature on the CrossCheck site throughout this project.

CrossCheck will be live on Monday, February 27. Newsrooms and journalism students who are interested in taking part in CrossCheck should email [email protected] for more information.

Become a CrossChecker

Share your own debunks once the project goes live and your work will feature on our soon to launch CrossCheckers page, once it has been verified by our team. For more information follow @CrossCheck on Twitter, like @CrossCheckFrance on Facebook and sign up to our First Draft email list (select Français).

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