FactLab, RMIT’s research hub targeting misinformation and disinformation on social media platforms, will soon expand its operations to include online verification newsroom CrossCheck.
From 2023, CrossCheck will be absorbed into RMIT FactLab, bringing its collaborative online monitoring model for journalists and policy interventions together with FactLab’s industry connections and fact-checking expertise.
Director of RMIT FactLab Russell Skelton said having the CrossCheck team at RMIT would bridge the gap between research and practice and reinforce the University’s commitment to developing critical public awareness about the origins and spread of misinformation online.
“Until now our focus has been on research, teaching and learning and specialised projects that fulfil a public need, he said.
“Dr Anne Kruger and her CrossCheck team will broaden the scope of FactLab with their expertise and respected industry connections.”
Established in 2017, CrossCheck was a central program of the misinformation non-profit First Draft. Earlier this year, First Draft’s mission moved to the Information Futures Lab at Brown University.
The newly formed RMIT FactLab CrossCheck ensures that First Draft’s work will live on in the Asia-Pacific region.
Information Futures Lab Co-Director and First Draft founder Dr Claire Wardle said RMIT FactLab is the perfect place for CrossCheck to be located.
“This partnership will ensure that more newsrooms are able to benefit from the expertise of the core team and the shared knowledge and experience that comes from the CrossCheck collaborative model,” she said.
RMIT will become founding partners and explore research collaborations with the Information Futures Lab.
Kruger said CrossCheck’s collaborations enable journalists from different media organisations to work together to more quickly sift through the influx of information and misinformation.
“But we need to do more, we need to work collectively with researchers, topic experts, governments, platforms, business and community leaders.
“We need to make use of all levers available to flood the information ecosystem and empower society to make informed decisions – RMIT is the perfect partner to help facilitate this,Kruger said.”
RMIT’s Deputy Vice-Chancellor, College of Design and Social Context, Professor Tim Marshall said having CrossCheck as part of FactLab’s remit will boost the University’s reputation as a leader in media and communication research and practice and increase opportunities for industry collaboration.
“CrossCheck will add a new dimension to FactLab’s focus on media literacy, research and training,” he said.
“It will provide an important avenue for journalists to participate in identifying false and misleading information circulating online and open up opportunities to work with colleagues at the Information Futures Lab at Brown University.”
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About RMIT FactLab
- Launched at the beginning of the COVID pandemic, RMIT FactLab is dedicated to research and public education that builds a better understanding of the fast-changing news ecosystems shaping our knowledge and our communities.
- Since then, FactLab’s signature newsletter CheckMate, has attracted tens of thousands of subscribers and has reached an audience of many millions on ABC and Apple News online platforms.
- The FactLab hub has trained journalists in the Pacific in fact-checking, embarked on tracking, tracing and debunking misinformation in the federal election and become third party fact-checkers for Meta (formerly Facebook).
- FactLab also provides research support for RMIT ABC FactCheck, which is enjoying its biggest online audience since 2017.