Never before have researchers, journalists and media and information literacy professionals worked together to address the multiple ailments plaguing the information space. DE FACTO intends to open up a plural, open and independent space to put into perspective the challenges of information in the digital age by facilitating verification, analysis and media education. Its ambition is to promote the quality of information, the diversity of public debate, the development of critical thinking and the regulation of digital platforms.
The digital revolution has revolutionised the way information is produced and consumed. Those who produce it no longer have complete control over how it is read. Those who read it are no longer sure whether they can trust those who promote it. Often rich and original, digital information can also be erroneous, viral or misleading. After having been invested with many hopes, the digital revolution is now arousing mistrust and panic. Are we locked in echo chambers? Don’t fake news run the risk of destabilising citizens’ political choices? Do platform algorithms amplify controversy and polarisation of opinion? Faced with these upheavals, the DE FACTO site offers to help us see more clearly by closely associating the practice of fact-checking, the analysis of the transformations of the digital public space and the education of all audiences in order to better discern the risks as well as the promises of new digital information circuits.
Who manufactures DE FACTO?
DE FACTO associates Sciences-Po, whose médialab and the School of Journalism have been studying for many years the transformations of the information ecosystem, AFP, which has developed fact-checking activities in 80 countries in the last four years in more than 20 languages, and CLEMI (Center for Media and Information Education) which organises in particular the Press and Media Week at School in schools.
The vocation of DE FACTO is also to set up an open network of researchers, journalists and media education professionals. Sciences Po leads a network of researchers in numerous French universities and will help to make research work on the transformation of information in the digital age visible. The AFP brings together on the DE FACTO site most of the major French fact-checkers including “Liberation, 20 minutes and les Surligneurs”, as well as Radio France’s public audiovisual fact-checkers. CLEMI is working to set up a network of partners (media, journalists, associations, priority education networks) committed alongside it in media and information education, producers of resources and content in media and information education.
Why DE FACTO?
The quality of information is an essential public good for our democracies. It depends on those who produce it, but also on the way it circulates and the way in which audiences appropriate it. At a time of great digital transformations, our information ecosystem is often stifled by over-sized controversies, binary debates opposing the camp of reason to gullible people, by the attention-grabbing mechanisms of digital platforms. By checking, analyzing and helping everyone to better understand the information, DE FACTO offers to help us breathe better and be critical and inquisitive.
The European network
DE FACTO is the French side of a larger European collective: EDMO – for European Digital Media Observatory. EDMO supports independent networks working on disinformation. In addition to DE FACTO, EDMO is also launching 7 other hubs across Europe, all co-financed by the European Commission under the Connecting Europe Facility (CEF) program.
EDMO is coordinated by a consortium led by the European University Institute in Florence (Italy), in partnership with Athens Technology Center (Greece), Aahrus University (Denmark) and the fact-checking organization Pagella Politica (Italy).