Elections: Google commits $2m on fight against misinformation
By Stellamaris Ashinze
Google.org has announced a grant of two million dollars for Nigeria Fact Checkers to leverage Artificial Intelliegence (AI) to fight against misinformation at the forthcoming general elections.
Dawn Dimowo, Government Affairs and Public Policy Manager, Google Nigeria, said this in a statement on Wednesday in Lagos.
Dimowo said that Full Fact, a UK-based charity, would partner with some organisations to fight misinformation during the forthcoming general election in Nigeria.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that Full-Fact tackles misinformation through fact checks and campaigns.
Dimowo said that Google.org would continue to use its resources and technology to make a positive impact on society.
She said that continued support for Full Fact in Nigeria was 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 as Google is proud to support this important project and make a positive difference in the world.
‘’Collaborating with International Fact Checking Network (IFCN) members Africa Check, Dubawa, and FactCheckHub, Full Fact will expand the use of its AI tools to stop the spread of misinformation during the election.
‘’The project made possible by a $2 million grant from Google’s philanthropic arm, Google.org, has already seen remarkable results.
‘’With the support of seven dedicated technical Google.org Fellows who worked on a pro bono basis, Full Fact’s AI technology has seen a 1,000x increase in claim detection.
“That is identifying which claims are most important to fact-check and help scale their fact-checks to appear in 237 million search results in 2020,’’ she said.
According to her, the technology developed by Full Fact since 2015, will be used in Nigerian election for the first time.
Dimowo said that the technology would offer 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.
She said that Full Fact would also provide training and support to its local fact-checking partners during the election process.
According to her, despite the emergence of organisations and initiatives aimed at countering the spread of misinformation and promoting accurate information in Nigeria, fact-checking still faces challenges such as limited resources and difficulties in accessing information.
‘’However, with the help of AI technology, Full Fact is determined to make it harder for false and misleading claims to spread and erode trust in democracy,’’ she added.
Will Moy, the Chief Executive Officer Full Fact, said that every vote should be an informed vote.
“We have seen firsthand how bad information spreads during an election and it should not be allowed to undermine democracy,” Moy said.
According to Moy, 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.
Opeyemi Kehinde, Editor, FactCheckHub, said that using the Full Fact AI tool, built in collaboration with Africa Check, had enhanced the work ahead of the general election.
Kehinde said that since being 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.
He said that 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.
Kemi Busari, Editor, Dubawa, said, Full Fact AI has been very helpful in the lead up to the elections in Nigeria because of the tools searching for claims and even identifying persistent spreaders of falsehood.
Busari said that these tools, combined, would further help fact-checkers to hold politicians accountable and help people access accurate information about the election.
David Ajikobi, Nigerian Editor at Africa Check, said that Full Fact’s AI Tools, which Africa Check helped to develop, allows the coalition to monitor news websites, social media pages and transcribe live TV or radio to find claims to fact check.
Ajikobi said that this had boosted the coalition’s resolve to significantly reduce the spread and impact of election-related misinformation and disinformation.
He said that during the course of the Nigerian elections, Full Fact AI would share fact checks images, videos, and impact stories from their fact-checking service. (NAN)(www.nannews.ng)
Edited by Ifeynwa Okonkwo/Chinyere Joel-Nwokeoma