Online rumours and misinformation in Northern Ireland

Online rumours and misinformation in Northern Ireland
by Dr Orna YOUNG
13 May 2021

Recent events in Northern Ireland have resulted in a renewed focus on the role of online rumours and false information in increasing inter-communal tensions and violence, particularly in interface areas of Belfast and specific areas of L~Derry. In Northern Ireland, where political, social and economic debate is often delineated along lines of perceived communal affiliation, false information and rumours have the potential to increase communal division and alienate communities from political processes and debates. Continue reading Online rumours and misinformation in Northern Ireland

FactCheckNI to boost graphical impact through Open Data Fund win

FactCheckNI is delighted to be among eight winners receiving a boost from the Open Data Fund which encourages innovation in the reuse of data on the Open Data NI portal.

Our £5,000 grant from the overall £40,000 fund will be used to commission effective and attractive data visualisation to augment our existing work in tackling online disinformation around COVID-19.

Since the start of the pandemic, FactCheckNI has produced nearly 50 fact checks and explainer articles focussed on COVID-19, many utilising open data about testing, deaths and vaccines.

During this global health emergency, the ‘infodemic’ of misinformation and disinformation can mean the difference between life and death. The quality and accuracy of the information and data we consume matters on an immediate and global scale.

FactCheckNI’s executive director Dr Orna Young explains:

“Trusted and accessible data has an important role to play in countering mis/disinformation. As fact checkers, we understand that the publication of fact check articles is of limited value without a strong effort to disseminate this trusted information.

“Last year we collaborated with undergraduate students at Ulster University who demonstrated how talented and imaginative designers could bring the data we write about to life.

“This investment will help us boost our impact and develop our design capacity by working with these experts in data visualisation to ensure we most effectively communicate our existing and newly produced fact checked articles focussed on COVID-19 and data.”

FactCheckNI will extend its existing relationship with data visualisation specialists at Ulster University’s School of Communication and Media to bring the stories behind data to life and convey them in engaging and shareable graphics that will complement new and existing data-rich articles about COVID-19.

COVID-19 conspiracy theories: how to have ‘the talk’ 

COVID-19 conspiracy theories: how to have ‘the talk’
by Dr Orna YOUNG
11 December 2020

Any discussion of COVID-19 and the development and introduction of vaccines to combat it invariably gives rise to talk about conspiracy theories. “Is it part of a global ‘plandemic?’ Are the vaccines being introduced to track us?” We have all seen these types of comments and discussions taking place online. Continue reading COVID-19 conspiracy theories: how to have ‘the talk’ 

Overcoming closed borders: opening up fact-checking solutions

Overcoming closed borders: opening up fact-checking solutions
Interview with Giovanni ZAGNI (Director, Pagella Politica)
by Allan LEONARD
24 November 2020

“I haven’t seen some of my colleagues in six months,” remarked Giovanni Zagni, director of Pagella Politica, based in Milan. Conducting this interview via Zoom was a salutary reminder of unprecedented times in which we are living — never before have so many people globally have had to attempt to conduct their work, commerce, research, and collaboration remotely. Fact checkers may be more accustomed to applying their digital skills from anywhere — online access permitting — but remote camaraderie is a new phenomenon. Continue reading Overcoming closed borders: opening up fact-checking solutions

FactCheckNI awarded funding by Joseph Rowntree Charitable Trust

FactCheckNI awarded funding by Joseph Rowntree Charitable Trust
14 September 2020

FactCheckNI, Northern Ireland’s first and only dedicated fact-checking service, has been awarded funding by the Joseph Rowntree Charitable Trust to conduct our work entitled “Empowering People Through Facts”. The Joseph Rowntree Charitable Trust (JRCT) aims to fund work which will contribute to the ongoing transformation of the Northern Ireland conflict. Continue reading FactCheckNI awarded funding by Joseph Rowntree Charitable Trust

Telling stories with data: FactCheckNI session at Global Fact 7

Telling stories with data: FactCheckNI session at Global Fact 7
by Allan LEONARD
29 June 2020

As part of the annual summit of the International Fact-Checking Network, FactCheckNI hosted “Telling Stories with Data” at Global Fact 7, an online session that explored the use of data in news and information presented to the public. I moderated the conversation between John Campbell (Business and Economics Editor at BBC Northern Ireland) and Niall O’Neill (statistician at the Northern Ireland Statistics and Research Agency (NISRA)). The session aimed to impart an appreciation of the importance of the integrity of trustworthy official data sources and the benefits that this has for fact-checking organisations, through good working relationships with statistics agencies. Continue reading Telling stories with data: FactCheckNI session at Global Fact 7