FactCRICIS: European Fact-Checking Response in Climate Crises

  • Active
  • Programme: Other
  • Call: PA – Preparatory Action – CNECT/2023/9375026
  • Start date: 01.05.2024
  • End date: 31.10.2025

FactCRICIS sets out to increase the capacity of European fact-checking organizations to identify and debunk disinformation narratives related to climate change and other crises by employing cutting-edge technological tools and expert research.

Project coordinator: EFCSN
Project website: efcsn.com/fact-cricis
CORDIS website: N/A
Social Media: X(Twitter), LinkedIn
Participants: EFCSN (along with 21 member organizations), Maldita, Newtral, Ontotext, Science Feedback, TU-Dortmund 

Contact: Andrey Tagarev

Project Overview

Climate change is a global threat that affects us all, yet climate denialism and mis/disinformation narratives continue to gain traction and reach wider audiences through new communication technologies and platforms, hindering effective climate action. Fact-checkers play a crucial role in countering this challenge by detecting and exposing such campaigns and narratives.

The FactCRICIS project brings together the European fact-checking community, namely the European Fact-Checking Standards Network (EFCSN) and 21 of its member organizations along with research, tech, and data organizations. These form a distinctive cross-border initiative to identify and debunk disinformation campaigns related to climate change and other crises, fostering more coordinated responses. 

The consortium will collaborate to develop a comprehensive resource pack: a combination of climate research and data expertise coupled with technological resources tailored to fact-checker needs. A major outcome of the project will be a centralized database of climate-related mis/disinformation and corresponding fact-checks. They will be enriched with sophisticated metadata to provide first-of-their-kind insights into false claims about climate change and related policy issues. The long-term sustainability and adaptability of the package of resources is set to be evaluated through a 9-month piloting period with verified EFCSN member organizations.

Overall, FactCRICIS has the ambition to bring innovation to fact-checking experts in Europe, with the project serving as a model for future programmes to improve fact-checking operations beyond climate matters to the broader variety of mis/disinformation challenges.

Ontotext’s Role

Ontotext will develop and integrate a number of data enrichment features into the mis/disinformation database. Building upon the research and technological capabilities it has achieved in innovation projects like vera.ai and VIGILANT, the company will complement the content fed into the database with relevant metadata to search by. They will also leverage algorithms for event extraction that identify mentions in text of real-life events related to climate change (for example, wildfires, drought, and many more). 

In addition, AI-assisted clustering of reused content and repeated claims will be implemented to contribute to narrative representation and discovery. All these enhancements will optimize the database functionality and boost its value for fact-checking organizations in their fight against climate mis/disinformation.

From a sustainability perspective, the technological resources developed in the project will have the potential to easily expand to handling data on various other topics beyond climate change so that FactCRICIS results could be adapted and used in the fight against mis/disinformation across other initiatives and programmes in Europe.

This project is co-funded by the European Union under grant agreement No: LC-02869427. Views and opinions expressed are however those of the author(s) only and do not necessarily reflect those of the European Union or the European Commission. Neither the European Union nor the European Commission can be held responsible for them.



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