Journalists trained on use of New Fact-check app

Toheeb Babalola

As misinformation continues to thrive and negatively impacting the society, technologists are birthing innovation to combat the menace and equip users.

At a recent Fact-checking and Digital Rights’ workshop organised by Factcheck Africa, a non-governmental organisation with zero tolerance for misinformation and disinformation in Ibadan, Oyo State, Nigeria, participants had the opportunity of being introduced to the use of “MyAIFactcheker” – an application built with an Artificial Intelligence (AI) that enables any individuals to verify the authenticity of news and statements quickly and conveniently.

The training team led by Olasupo Abideen, innovator and investor on Development and Sustainability, showcased the newly developed Fact-checking App to Fatimah Idera, a freelance journalist and certified fact-checker at Roundcheck and other participants.

The app provides the users an assessment and summary of the statement or claim they are fact-checking and let them know if such claim is ‘False or True’ through reliable and credible sources. It also evaluates sentiment analysis for the users’ queries, indicating whether the claim leans positive, negative, or neutral.

It only takes the users four steps to end misinformation and disinformation through MyAIFactCheck, which includes: (1) a click on the app link (2) Enter your claim (3) a click on Check Authenticity and (4) Review of results.

Abideen_Olasupo

After the test-run, Idẹra gives her verdit on the new app. “Yes, I have test-run it.  It is an excellent and  research-free App, in the sense that fact-checking using OSINT tools can be stressful as one is required to use at least three tools before concluding or giving a verdict. The fact that this app cuts across three things makes me  so amazed” 

Narrating the development of MyAIFactCheck with our reporter, Olasupo Abideen explained that the app is meant to ensure that the indigent people get to verify the authenticity of claims within the corners of their rooms by using the power of Artificial Intelligence.

“The issue around misinformation and disinformation is a very critical peculiar case. A lot of people will want to check as soon as possible and with the advent of Artificial Intelligence, we feel of course we should be able to incorporate AI into Factchecking, which is why we have MyAIFactCheck.  It relies on checks that have been born by credible platforms,Abideen said.

Olasupo who was once a Google Ambassador noted that he and his team formally launched Factcheck Africa months before the 2023 Nigerian General Election, and use the newest approach to tackle issues of misinformation and disinformation.

We do full training because we believe that Journalists and Advocates should arm themselves with digital rights and online safety training that will equip them for 21st century media challenges. We have grown up to having a formidable management team and presence in 36 States of the federation through our Coordinators.  Now, we are focusing on Nigerians and expanding to other West African countries. Because we are currently working on research around information in West Africa”

Other campus journalists and Social Advocates also gave their reviews of the app.

Adisa Hameed Aderemilekun, a Campus Journalist at the University of Ibadan, was really impressed when he finally usedMyAIFactCheck. “I am amazed with how swift the app is and how easy it is to operate. No hassle at all” he says

Adedolapo Adeyanju, a Campus Journalist at Obafemi Awolowo University, Ile-Ife, tested the app by inputting the claim ‘ASUU is going on strike”, and it gave him the right result. “I like the user interface of the website, it’s user friendly and direct. I also like the fact that there are sources to back up the sentiment analysis and they are linked. Fact-checking made it easy, She says

Ruth Ugbor, a Social Advocate for Slum and Rural Health Initiative gave kudos to the team of developers. She promised to use the App to train her co-workers on misinformation and disinformation.

Shuaib Nusiroh, another Campus Journalist at the University of Ibadan said, “This app is seen as one of the weapons to combat misinformation in Africa. It is also a useful device for public speakers (debaters), writers, and essayists to verify any information that might need to be put down in writing with the provision of facts”

 Habeeb Adisa, Project Manager at FactCheck Africa said the app is still under going more development  until it is officially launched, noting that anything digital has to be improved on as time moves, it is not static.

Comparing the App  with other existing Fact-checking tools, Adisa said, “there are metrics to which you compare things, for example other tools can be used in tandem with MyAIfactcheker. As a Factchecker, one tool, or source should not be what you look into to carry out a report or check, you can use as many tools as possible, while I won’t say in comparison to others I will say, we’ve developed a very good, reliable and fact tool for Fact-checking and we believe it will be a good resource for news and information verification”

He added further that the App will soon encompass the ability to check videos and pictures.

FactCheckAfrica (formerly FactCheckElection) is a non-governmental organisation with the focus to produce fact-check reports around electoral activities, accountability in governance, climate and conflicts in Africa.

“We migrated from FactCheckElection to FactCheckAfrica in a bid to be able to see other aspects that affect the citizenry and Africans in general. From our study, we try to situate issues from the root, in this sense I mean after elections what next, governance, accountability, post elections and prep election period also witness violence and misinformation is eating deep to those sectors too, so this are the reasons we enlarged our scope and moved beyond electoral fact checking to other aspects as we have it today” Adisa explained.

Africa Change Stories platform is established to tell African stories which are empowering and are at variant to stereotypical views of wars, famine, diseases. At African Change Stories, we believe narrative and angle matters. So we responsibly tell stories ethically. The platform therefore pushes forward great and energizing stories which will propel its people to consciously strive to do more. You have a story? Info@africanchangestories.org

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