Check First and the Mozilla Foundation partner to extend watch on algorithmic content recommendation

CheckFirst is proud to announce that it has been awarded by the Mozilla Technology Fund to continue running CrossOver for a year in 7 more regions.

Check First was awarded by the Mozilla Technology Fund (MTF) to continue expanding the CrossOver project to 7 new French speaking regions and countries. The project has been monitoring how users are exposed to algorithmic content recommendation on big social platforms. As one of the eight top-quality projects selected by the MTF, CrossOver is committed to focusing on an emerging, under-resourced area of technology with real potential for impact: auditing tools for recommender systems.

The first iteration of the CrossOver project emphasised how recommender systems have become an integral part of our daily lives, and we feel it is imperative that we hold the platforms using them accountable. Auditing processes are crucial to building such accountability, and CrossOver is dedicated to developing and implementing these processes.

To achieve this, CrossOver will continue to simulate social media and big platform users to collect data about recommended content. The collected data will then be compared to data provided by the platform’s own APIs, where available. In order to facilitate this monitoring process, CrossOver is partnering with volunteers who will host the monitoring devices at their residential addresses.

Currently, CrossOver is monitoring Twitter, YouTube, Facebook pages and groups, Google search predictions, Google News, Reddit, Odysee, and Mastodon. However, the project is constantly expanding its scope and exploring new avenues for data collection and analysis.

In addition to the current monitoring efforts in Belgium, CrossOver is building on the pilot project and adding monitoring devices to seven French-speaking countries around the world. These countries include Canada (Québec), Democratic Republic of the Congo, France, Mali, Morocco, Senegal, and Switzerland (Romandie). With the help of partners from the investigative media sector, CrossOver will focus on a range of issues such as Russian influence, energy crisis and costs, inflation, the war in Ukraine, and the COVID pandemic and health issues.

Overall, CrossOver is committed to developing and implementing auditing tools for recommender systems in order to promote accountability and transparency around their use. Through its expanding reach and ongoing efforts, CrossOver is poised to make a real impact in this critical area of technology.

About us

We empower the fight against disinformation. Check First is a software and methodologies company founded by a developer and two journalists. We focus on creating the best tools and practices for the peculiar job of countering and monitoring fakes and influence campaigns, and gain time in the process by fostering collaboration. Our best asset is the complementarity of our founding team, making us approach problems in a comprehensive and innovative way.

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