Many disinformation narratives travel across borders. It is common for hoaxes, manipulated media and unverified rumors to spread widely in one country and reach others in a matter of days, if not hours.
Cooperation between fact-checkers across the European Union is therefore crucial for an early detection of potential cross-border narratives and for building on previous work for a quicker and more effective response to disinformation.
The European Digital Media Observatory promotes collaborative investigations among fact-checkers. For that purpose, it provides access to the TrulyMedia platform, a powerful technological tool for carrying out collaborative investigations developed by ATC and Deutsche Welle. Fact-checkers operating on the platform maintain full editorial independence.
Access to the platform is free. Fact-checkers have to satisfy the following criteria to be admitted, as assessed by a committee set up by the Advisory and Executive boards of EDMO.
- Focus on the European Union: Any fact-checking organisation willing to become a user of the platform has to be established in the EU and have a demonstrable focus on the EU and/or its member States in all or at least a significant part of its activities. Being a member of the EU national hubs on disinformation will be considered a sufficient demonstration of compliance with this criteria.
- Competence: Applicants will have to demonstrate competence in fact-checking and to be active projects, having published at least 15 fact-checking articles in the 3 months before the application. Being signatories of the Code of Principles of the International Fact-checking Network will be considered a sufficient demonstration of compliance with this criteria.
- Transparency: Applicants will have to disclose and avoid any potential conflict of interest, including work, consulting activities, share-owning or funding from any company or organization in the social media / digital media sphere. Applicants must disclose their organizational and proprietary structure, and be free of influence or control over them by political parties or movements.
- Ethics: Applicants must comply with the applicable rules of ethics in their area of expertise.
Workflow for assessing applications
1. Application is received.
2. Application will be sent to the external Assessment Committee, composed by 10 experts chosen by the Executive and Advisory Boards. One member will be appointed to work on the application.
3. Within four working days the Committee provides a recommendation as to whether the application should be accepted or not, marking with “Pass” or “Fail” every acceptance criterion with short comments, if needed.
4. The Committee’s recommendation is sent to a committee of three members from the Advisory Board who have three working days to reply on whether they agree or disagree to the recommendation. If a member disagrees s/he has to provide reasoning for this. If someone fails to answer within three working days, the rest of the votes are counted. If there is a draw, two more working days are provided for the third member to answer. If there is still a draw the decision is taken based on the recommendation of the Assessment Committee (which may change given the comments from the AB).
5. The result is sent to the applicant by the Secretary General, with an indication on which criteria they failed (if any) and short comments.
6. If the application has been rejected the candidate has the opportunity to appeal once within seven calendar days, with additional information addressing the rejection criteria. Upon appeal the same process described above (points 1-5) is followed and the result is considered final.
7. Accepted applications are passed to ATC, in order to proceed with providing the necessary access.