Disinformation is any dissemination of false or inaccurate content, data and information whose purpose is to mislead and/or confuse audiences; it is a practice that has been used throughout history to influence and position public opinion. However, in the last few years and in addition to the increasing precarity of the journalism sector and the crisis of the mainstream media model, technological advances and the massive use of the Internet and social networks have taken the problem to a new level due to a number of factors, such as the speed at which content is disseminated or the reach and segmentation of the audience.
Currently, thanks to the social networks and messaging applications, anyone with a smartphone or a computer can disseminate false content, whether intentionally or not, which can spread like wildfire. Moreover, technological advances make it possible to lend an even greater appearance of veracity to false information through the manipulation of images, videos and audios (e.g. deepfakes) or amplification marketing tools (e.g. armies of bots) designed to make content go viral automatically.
The impact of disinformation is widespread and affects the entire population, although certain groups are more vulnerable than others. Age, economic level and information consumption habits are determining factors. In Spain, it is estimated that around 86% of the population is not able to distinguish true information from false information (despite the fact that 60% of the Spanish population believes they know how to spot hoaxes).
In this context and in order to help to address this growing problem, a number of organisations and media have become specialised in the process of verifying information, by following and corroborating content and data circulating on the Internet. This process of information verification is known as fact-checking.
Although fact-checking is a common practice in journalism, in the current context it has become a fundamental process in the fight against disinformation and in limiting its spread. However, it is a slow and manual process that requires time and resources. The digitalisation of information and the increase in the speed at which contents are disseminated on the Internet require more agility and new tools that can help us to detect falsehoods and thus reduce the impact that disinformation can generate.
The objective of this call is to identify and test innovative technological solutions that can help to optimise and automate the fact-checking process, thereby contributing to reducing the spread and impact of disinformation in society.
Who can participate?
Participants must register for the call through the online form available on the Digital Future Society website: https://digitalfuturesociety.com/call-tech-against-disinformation/
As this is an international call, proposals must be submitted in English. However, proposals submitted in Catalan or Spanish will also be accepted.
• Call opening: 25th May 2021, at 12:00 PM (CEST)
• Call closure: 9th July 2021, at 12:00 PM (CEST)
• Semi-finalists announcement – 16 thJuly 2021
• Finalists announcement – 10th September 2021
• Winners announcement – 30th September 2021
In collaboration with:
Corporació Catalana de Mitjans Audiovisuals, EFE Verifica, Newtral y Verificat