February 22, 2019
Mike Matton, from the innovation area of the VRT broadcaster, was in charge of presenting the Fandango Project during the conference “Countering online disinformation” in the European Commission last January. This event was held in order to take stock of all the European projects currently working towards fighting fake news in alignment with EU Action Plan against disinformation.
Fandango was introduced along with three others projects in a panel titled “How Can Digital Technologies Facilitate the Detection and Analysis of False Information?”. Some of these are already functioning and others are in the first stages. While doing a brief presentation of Fandango, Matton highlighted the research done by the team to date and the technological tools to be developed that aim to help journalists deal with large amounts of information.
Understanding the needs of journalists has been an important first step for the project, bearing in mind that they will be the final users of the tool. VRT, Civio and AMSA, the three partners of Fandango project that are covering the journalistic area of the pilot, came to the realization that both a news verification tool and a photo/video verification tool would be of much help in tackling disinformation with this project.
The tool will utilize previous research in the field of big data and artificial inteligence to fact-check the news pieces, photos and videos. In this regard, collecting different sources of information (from social media and news articles, for example) that journalists use in their everyday work, and then applying Machine Learning to these databases, would be the next step for the pilot.
Along with Fandango, Weverify was also showcased as a recently born project that will bring together tools of four other projects for content verification. ComProp, from the University of Oxford, was the third project introduced; it is already working as a combination of social and computer science to investigate the interaction of algorithms, automation and politics. The panel closed with the introduction of Co-inform, a project that aims to build trustworthy sites for information and to create tools to foster critical thinking and digital literacy.