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Towards A Comprehensive Map of Fact Checkers and Verification Experts in The EU

Next to fostering scientific knowledge on disinformation and helping public agents implement a respective EU Code of Practice, EDMO has another important goal: The project aims to support those who fight false and fabricated information on the frontlines almost every day, i.e.: factcheckers, verification experts, and educators. An important aspect of helping them is to make their work more visible – thereby also promoting exchange in the community and increasing overall awareness. In order to do so, EDMO is creating a detailed “map” of initiatives currently active in the battle against disinformation in the EU – no matter their size or focus.

EDMO consortium member ATC and their partner DW Innovation (the R&D team of Germany’s international broadcaster Deutsche Welle) are in charge of the documentation. While DW Innovation draws on a decade of experience in verification and data-driven journalism (DDJ) projects to create a detailed concept, ATC serves as the technical implementer and project lead. The documentation aims to include activities that:

  • focus on fact checking, verification, or open source intelligence (OSINT)
  • publish their insights to the public (via designated blogs, podcasts, videos etc.)
  • take place in the 27 member states of the EU (and in the UK, as it was still a part of the Union when EDMO was conceived)

 

What’s in a map?

A first iteration of the “map” – put in quotes since it will go beyond a couple of markers and a flat surface – is likely to be published on the EDMO website in the second quarter of 2021.

According to DW Innovation’s concept, it is going to feature:

  • an actual map with the names and locations of relevant organizations (technical features: responsive, interactive, zoomable, shareable)
  • a table with extended information on the respective organizations, such as their primary language or the year of their foundation (technical features: responsive, searchable, sortable, shareable)
  • an additional visualization providing further insights (technical features: responsive, shareable)

 

EDMO map prototype (area of detail)

 

Editorial sections describing organizations in more details and more charts are likely to be included in further iterations.

 

Online spreadsheets and dataviz software

In terms of media technology, the map/documentation will mainly rely on two components:

  • sustainable, “living” online spreadsheets that can be accessed by all consortium members – and converted into downloadable .CSV files within seconds
  • modern, web-based data visualization software able to access those spreadsheets and turn them into more appealing figures and charts via customized templates

 

Call for support

Even though the research, communication and technical processes are going well in general, ATC and DW Innovation are also facing a major challenge:

Some of the initiatives and organizations that seem both legitimate and relevant for the EDMO map are rather opaque: Site operators cannot be clearly identified – and messages sent via contact email addresses or social networks remain unanswered.

So in case you are reading this and have not yet been in touch with the EDMO project: Please write to us:

mapping@edmo.eu

Because the only good map of fact checking and verification activities is a comprehensive one.

 

Alexander Plaum