CheckFirst was formed during the pandemic as the result of a fact-checking initiative born spontaneously in France and Belgium. Its three founders met online while developing and implementing an open newsroom of fact-checkers, uniting at its peak 140 citizens, journalists and developers to collaborate on debunking Covid-19 disinformation.
The second main step of the development of Check First was the creation of a centralised fact-checking ecosystem uniting citizens, media organisations and researchers against disinformation : Canopy. Canopy is a technological hub based on an API that allows its users to work in a transparent, collaborative, secured platform.
Check First have accumulated remarkable knowledge as regards the needs of entities fighting disinformation worldwide, as founders of ODIL, the observatory of initiatives tackling disinformation in the Francophonie, an initiative of the International Organisation of the Francophonie. The observatory’s task is to list fact-checking initiatives throughout the French-speaking world in order to provide them with a network of best resources, tools and techniques.
Check First’s projects have received attention and interest from organisations such as the European Commission, CIRCOM, BBC, France Télévisions, La Sorbonne University, the University of Essex and others.
We sincerely think there is no ultimate antidote that will cure the infodemic we live in. As we all come from different backgrounds, we understand the importance of joining forces in the fight against disinformation. We truly believe in the creation of a virtuous loop between journalists, citizens, policy makers and researchers to fight fake-news : we help them connect, organize and scale up their work. Our solutions aims at instilling the same energy in projects dedicated to the fight against dis and minformation.
Our approach relies on three pillars :
Our methodology is inspired by the greatest fact-checking standards in the world. One can obviously think about the IFCN code of principle, but we also look deeply at other standards applied in different newsrooms as we believe there is no unique ideal way to be a good fact-checkers. We dig deeply into researcher’s work, media literacy content and policy makers publications to ensure a variety of sources that will lead to a plurality of references.
As we train very different profiles of fact-checkers in newsrooms all around the world, our methodology ensures the highest standards of fact-checking but remains understandable and applicable to smaller initiatives and younger journalists. We place transparency and rigorous follow-up at the core of our trainings, while ensuring safety of the fact-checkers and provide them with the latest searching tools and techniques.
Check First is also a network populated by different types of disinformation fighters. We make sure that stakeholders can work together in complete confidence. This pooling of work methods and skills creates a sharing and synergy conducting to intellectual emulation, exchange and the raising of standards in information verification.
Check First finally offers a software solution to build and enhance its network: Canopy, an ecosystem within which citizens, journalists and experts unite to counter fake news. In parallel, a collection of Open Source Intelligence (OSI) tools gives verifiers a complete, structured and organized toolbox.
We provide stakeholders of the fight against disinformation methodologies, help them create solutions. We bond them together or in projects, give them access to cutting-edge verification technologies and cooperation methodologies, as well as a secure place to keep all their work. In a nutshell, we are the link/the glue/the binder between those who fights against disinformation in any ways.
As our work is dedicated to the fight against disinformation, we place transparency at the heart of our values. We develop a network within which we ensure the security and the good cooperation among entities, in a professional way. Our core values relies on the cooperation, professionalism and honesty between members.