UK misinformation fighter selected as Google AI grantee

Full Fact is just one of 20 'tech for good' organisations that will split the $25 million fund

Google HQ

The UK fact-checking charity Full Fact has been named as one of the 30 grantees of the Google AI Impact Challenge (GAIIC) at Google's annual I/O developer conference in Mountain View, California.

The GAIIC forms part of Google's AI for Social Good program which aims to harness the world's leading technology specifically in AI to help solve some of the most pressing societal and economic issues the world faces today.

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Of the 2,602 applications, just 20 organisations were chosen as the shared recipients of the $25 million grant. Other recipients included New York State University which aims to optimise emergency service responses and Pennsylvania State University for its deep learning tools that are helping to predict locations and times of natural disasters.

"Forty percent of the applications came from organizations with no previous experience with artificial intelligence, which is still a developing concept in the social impact field," said Google. "Our job, as we thoroughly vetted the applications, was to choose the best projects based on feasibility, potential for impact, scalability and the responsible use of AI".

The Full Fact charity has been working on automated fact-checking since 2013 and has partnered with other companies to build and deploy technologies on three continents.

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"Over the next three years, we'll use artificial intelligence to dramatically improve and scale global fact-checking efforts, working with international experts to define how artificial intelligence could transform this work, developing new tools and deploying and evaluating them," said Full Fact. "In three years, we hope our project will let individual citizens and internet users place trust with confidence, help internet companies make fair and informed judgements at scale, and enable policymakers to better understand how they can respond to misinformation while robustly protecting free speech".

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Google's six-month AI Challenge Accelerator will begin next week in San Franciso where all the grantees will be invited to participate in a customised program delivered by Google Developers Launchpad.

Here, Full Fact and the other recipients will receive consulting from Google Cloud, mentoring from Google AI experts, opportunities to attend exclusive events and different training courses.

The company has received funding from Google on two previous occasions, it received an initial 20,000 from Google in 2018 to support the fact-checking work and then received a further 210,445 from the tech giant for the charities role in supplying tech for Google Search.

Full Fact also struck a deal with Facebook in January to start fact-checking the content that's uploaded to the embattled social network as part of its anti-misinformation campaign now it has finally reached the UK.

"People will be told if a story they've shared, or are about to share, has been checked by Full Fact," said the charity. "They'll be given the option to read more about the claim's source -- but won't be stopped from sharing anything. False content will appear lower in news feeds, so it reaches fewer people".

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The charity will only be checking images, videos and articles and when users share content, they will be prompted whether or not said content has been approved by Full Fact. Satirical and opinion pieces will be exempt, the charity said.

In other news from the I/O conference, Google announced a huge list of privacy-focused features, following on from Facebook's latest commitment to greater privacy controls from the company.

But instead of just declaring change like Zuckerberg did, Google actually showed us what it plans to do, introducing its incognito mode almost everywhere, updated policies on handling cookies, modular security updates and more.

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