CrossOver tracks and measures the influence of content recommendation algorithms on social media in Belgium, exposing how they can lead to mis- and disinformation.


This project aims at monitoring, investigating, exposing and responding to the spread of dubious and nefarious content in main big platforms including Youtube, Twitter, Reddit, Google News and more.

The core idea of the project is to simulate users of 8 big platforms either by browsing these services, or looking up keywords and collecting the search results. Both these approaches give us accurate data on what content is displayed to users. The strength of CrossOver lies in the fact that data collection occurs from residential addresses, and not from data center as most research is typically conducted from. This allows our data collection to be less noticeable, if at all, by platforms and mitigates risks of the platforms altering the results of our data collection.

The project is currently active in 8 countries:

  • Belgium (where the original pilot programme was led)
  • Canada (Québec)
  • Democratic Republic of Congo
  • France
  • Mali
  • Morocco
  • Senegal
  • Switzerland (Romandie)

The current stage of CrossOver was made possible by the Mozilla Fund, through a grand awarded through the Mozilla Technology Fund.

A first part of the project was led during 15 months thanks to funding from the European Union. The geographical scope of this pilot project was Belgium, with monitoring conducted both in French and Dutch. The overall aims of the projects were:

  • monitoring and investigating disinformation operations working with the media to expose malicious actors;
  • responding to and strengthening vulnerable communities;
  • planning and developing sustainable actions against disinformation in Belgium.

The initiative brought together EU DisinfoLab, the Dutch-language media outlet Apache, the French media education association Savoir Devenir, and the Finnish start-up Check First, all of which specialise in developing solutions and methodologies to combat disinformation.

What do we do in the CrossOver project?

CheckFirst’s main task is to develop dashboards of automated content spread in Belgium. This means that we are developing tools to monitor social media platforms, starting with Google search’s auto-complete and Twitter trends and observing which content they recommend to their users. This data are publicly available, as well as the full methodology, so that anyone can see which topics appear to be the most recommended algorithmically.

CheckFirst also conducts open source intelligence investigations together with media partners and NGOs, providing our skills to support their quality journalistic work

CrossOver 2021 – 2022

In 2021 CrossOver has received funding from the European Union’s programme on the financing of Pilot Projects and Preparatory Actions in the field of “Communications Networks, Content and Technology” under grant agreement LC-01682253. This project was leaded by EU DisinfoLab with partiticipation of CheckFirst, Apache and Savoir-Devenir

CrossOver 2022 – 2023

In 2022 CrossOver have received the support of the Mozilla Technology Funds to experiment to continue expanding the CrossOver project to 7 new French speaking regions and countries.

About us

Check First is a leading Finnish software and methodologies company, spearheading adversarial research techniques. We believe that everyone should be able to understand how and why content is presented to them. We advocate for online clarity and accountability, building solutions to attain this goal. Partnering with leading institutions, regulators, NGOs and educators, we aim at curbing the spread of disinformation and foreign influence manipulations.

Our story