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Tech nonprofit's 'fact-checker,' 'misinformation tiplines' project received $5.7M from federal government: Report
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Tech nonprofit's 'fact-checker,' 'misinformation tiplines' project received $5.7M from federal government: Report

A technology nonprofit firm's "fact-checker" and "misinformation tiplines" project received $5.7 million in 2021 from the federal government, the Daily Caller News Foundation reported Monday.

Government spending data revealed that the National Science Foundation awarded a multimillion-dollar grant to Meedan for a project titled "Fact Champ Fact-Checker, Academic, and Community Collaboration Tools, Combating Hate, Abuse, and Misinformation with Minority Led Partnerships."

Part of Meedan's Co-Insights research project aims to build "misinformation tiplines" as a means of "supporting free speech," according to its website.

"We are working to promote a healthy and inclusive public sphere online in which everyone — including historically marginalized and minoritized groups — can equally participate," Meedan's website states.

"Our overarching goal is to empower people to understand and evaluate the information they see online. We do this by building tools such as 'misinformation tiplines' that people can choose to consult if they want to learn more about a given piece of content," it adds.

According to Meedan, "disinformation" is "too often out-of-sight from mainstream misinformation response efforts."

"Co·Insights brings together community organizations, academics, and fact-checkers to address misleading and harmful narratives. In this way we're fostering interracial solidarities, greater understanding, and better democracy," the nonprofit claimed.

Meedan's fact-checking efforts seek to identify and track long-lasting narratives instead of focusing on one claim at a time.

"This approach can move the status quo away from content moderation and towards an approach more akin to email spam detection or local antivirus software," it explained.

Check, a Meedan product, allows users to "instantly deliver fact-checks" through WhatsApp, Messenger, Telegram, X, and other apps. According to the nonprofit, Check has become "the global leader in fact-checking and annotation software for collaborative fact-checking projects."

"Misinformation is destabilizing elections, slowing pandemic recovery, entrenching climate change denial, and creating civil unrest and violence," Meedan stated in a December blog post. "Meedan's team is actively countering this challenge by building open-source software that enables local partners to organize and scale collaborative efforts to discover and address that harmful misinformation, particularly in closed messaging spaces during critical public and civic moments."

The nonprofit tech firm received a $500,000 grant from the Patrick J. McGovern Foundation to further develop the Shared Feeds feature for Check. The foundation, which has backed left-leaning groups, is funded by the New Venture Fund, an organization tied to the dark money group Arabella Advisors.

Neither Meedan nor the NSF responded to the DCNF's request for comment.

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