Election Misinformation: Nigerian Fact Checkers Deploy Full Fact’s AI Tools
By Modupe Gbadeyanka
Determined to fight election misinformation as the 2023 general elections in Nigeria draw closer, some Nigerian fact checkers have partnered with a UK-based charity which tackles misinformation through fact-checking and campaigns, Full Fact.
The Nigerian fact checkers coming together for this are Africa Check, Dubawa, and FactCheckHub. They want to deploy the AI tools of Full Fact to stop the spread of misinformation during the election starting February 25.
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 7 dedicated technical Google.org Fellows who worked on a pro bono basis, Full Fact’s AI technology has seen a 1000x increase in claim detection (i.e. identifying which claims are most important to fact-check) and helped scale their fact-checks to appear in 237 million search results in 2020.
The technology, developed by Full Fact in 2015, will now be used in a Nigerian election for the first time, offering 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.
Full Fact will also provide ongoing training and support to its local fact-checking partners during the election process.
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 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.
“Every vote should be an informed vote,” says Will Moy, CEO of Full Fact. “We’ve seen first-hand how bad information spreads during an election, and it can’t be allowed to undermine democracy. 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.”
“At Google.org, we’re dedicated to using our resources and technology to make a positive impact on society,” says Dawn Dimowo, Government Affairs & Public Policy Manager, Nigeria. “Continuing our support for Full Fact in Nigeria is 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. We’re proud to support this important project and make a positive difference in the world.”
Opeyemi Kehinde, Editor of FactCheckHub, said, “Using the Full Fact AI tool, built in collaboration with Africa Check, has enhanced our work ahead of Nigeria’s 2023 general election. Since we were 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. 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.”
What is Full Fact AI?
Full Fact AI is a suite of robust, scalable software tools designed to assist fact-checkers and organisations focused on promoting accurate information. The combination of artificial intelligence and human expertise enables Full Fact AI users to combat misinformation effectively while maintaining high standards of accuracy and credibility.
Full Fact AI provides three tools to Nigerian fact-checkers: the Search tool, which helps identify the most significant statements to fact-check each day by monitoring online media, social media, and RSS feeds; the Alerts tool, which informs fact-checkers of repeat instances of previously fact-checked false information, allowing them to act quickly and insert accurate information into public discourse; and the Real-Time tool, which offers an instant transcription of election debates, interviews, and town halls, eliminating the need for manual transcription and providing a record of fact-checkable claims.
Kemi Busari, the editor of Dubawa, said, “Full Fact AI has been very helpful in the lead-up to the 2023 elections in Nigeria. I use the tools to search for claims and even identify persistent spreaders of falsehood. These tools, combined, would further help us as fact-checkers to hold politicians accountable and help people access accurate information about the election.”
David Ajikobi, Nigerian editor at Africa check, said, “Full Fact’s AI Tools, which Africa Check helped develop, allow the coalition to monitor news websites and social media pages and transcribe live TV or radio to find claims to fact check. This has boosted the coalition’s resolve to significantly reduce the spread and impact of election-related misinformation and disinformation.”
During the course of the Nigerian elections, Full Fact AI will share fact checks, images, videos, and impact stories from their fact-checking service.