Call for the Fact-Checking Innovation Initiative

Deadline: 8 December, 2019


This initiative is open to the global fact-checking community and will provide grants to 10 recipients. Grants will be given out in three tiers:

  • $15,000
  • $50,000
  • $70,000


The mission of the Fact-Checking Innovation Initiative, a joint project of the Facebook Journalism Project and the International Fact-Checking Network at the Poynter Institute, is to support innovation projects, new formats, and technologies that will help benefit the broader global fact-checking ecosystem.


Applicants’ projects should address region-specific challenges and opportunities related to fact-checking and can include both technical and non-technical solutions. Projects can focus on any of the fact-checking topics listed below and do not need to relate to a Facebook product or service. This new initiative will offer grants to 10 recipients in three tiers:

  • $15,000
  • $50,000
  • $70,000

In addition to receiving monetary grants, the grantees will receive exposure at Global Fact 7 (the IFCN’s annual global fact-checking summit June 24-27, 2020 in Oslo, Norway). The IFCN, Facebook and the selection committee will also serve as a resource for grant recipients to receive ongoing advice, collaboration and a support network.


Candidates will go through two rounds of applications, at which point the remaining applications will go to a selection committee composed of a multidisciplinary group of fact-checkers and journalism experts, as well as employees of the IFCN and Facebook.


Applicants’ projects should be focused on one of the following tracks:

  1. New formats (e.g., adapting fact-checks to video, audio or other digital mediums, or offline formats)
  2. Sustainable business models (e.g., increasing the scale and efficiency of fact-checking; piloting reader support methods)
  3. Technology-assisted fact-checking (e.g., deploying new tools to automate components of the fact-checking workflow)
  4. Innovative media literacy solutions (e.g., empowering audiences to consume and share reliable information instead of misinformation)

Examples of potential projects include (but are not limited to):

  • Build a one-stop toolkit for helping fact-checkers evaluate manipulated media
  • Create a global fact-checking database (e.g., a way for fact-checkers to easily look up whether any other fact-checker has already addressed a claim)
  • Develop an innovative fact-checking/media literacy training program
  • Develop a verification training program for regional publishers
  • Develop a program to support the development of new format types for fact-checkers (e.g., videos, explainers, visuals)


Eligibility Requirements

The following individuals/organizations are eligible to apply:

  • Fact-checking organizations (or an individual who is employed by one)
  • Nonprofits/NGOs (or an individual who is employed by one)
  • Academic institutions and their faculty
  • Journalism organizations (or an individual who is employed by one)

Applicants that are not a fact-checking organization or an individual employed by one should apply with a memorandum of understanding signed by a fact-checking organization that shows the collaboration involved for the particular project.


Applicants agree that if they are awarded a grant, IFCN and Facebook may use data and information they provide in the initial application and subsequent reporting form with other fact-checking organizations.


To qualify for this initiative, the project should be more than just an idea. Applicants must be organizations or teams of at least two people who have tested their concept or developed a prototype (if applicable). Applications from individuals will be accepted if they are paired with a fact-checking organization where the project will be implemented in the 12-month time frame of the program.


Applicants agree that if they develop any code in connection with this project, they will make the code publicly available in a GitHub repository and freely available for use under an open-source license approved by the Open Source Initiative.


Each applicant/organization may only submit one application (for one project in one grant amount tier).



Selection criteria

The selection committee will review projects against the following criteria:

  • Is the project an original idea and a discrete project in the fact-checking field, and does it change the way in which information is presented and/or consumed?
  • Does the project involve collaboration with at least one other organization (fact-checking or otherwise) or utilize the expertise of another organization?
  • Does the project have the potential to meaningfully fight misinformation by increasing the availability of reliable information, improving the quality of public debate and/or reaching a wider/new audience?
  • Does the project have the potential for future growth?
  • Can the project be replicated by other fact-checkers with minor changes and still serve its original purpose?
  • Is the requested budget in accordance with the goals and scope of the project and can it be fully completed and implemented in the allocated time frame?
  • Whether or not a project focuses on a Facebook product or service will not be factored into which projects are selected.


A member of the selection committee and/or a member of the IFCN staff will be available to offer guidance and feedback during the 12-month development process. If a proposed project somehow relates to any of the selection committee members or to their past or current work, those selection committee members will not participate in that specific evaluation.


Selection committee members don’t get paid for judging projects or for mentoring them.


For more information about the Fact-Checking Innovation Initiative and submission of the application, please follow the link HERE.