Annenberg received $ 750,000 grant to identify the origins of disinformation about the AAPI community

Credit: Zihan Chen

The National Science Foundation has awarded FACT CHAMP, the Annenberg School for Public Policy’s new collaboration, a grant of $ 750,000 to identify the origins of disinformation about Asian American and Pacific Islander communities.

FACT CHAMP, which stands for Fact-checker, Academic, and Community Collaboration Tools: Combating Hate, Abuse, and Misinformation with Minority-led Partnerships, aims to bring together fact-checkers and researchers with communities to fight disinformation and discourse of hate.

Jonathan Corpus Ong, associate professor of global digital media at the University of Massachusetts at Amherst, said the initiative was timely due to the recent increase in hate crimes against members of the AAPI community.

“This project seems urgent, because it is truly an intervention that engages in the tragedies that have spurred the #StopAAPIHate movement,” Ong said in the Annenberg press release.

FACT CHAMP will be a pioneer in exploring the intersection between communication, data and computing, and artificial intelligence, in order to research disinformation and find effective solutions, according to a Meedan press release, a technology-driven, fact-checking nonprofit that is part of the partnership.

The University of Massachusetts Amherst, the University of Connecticut, Rutgers University and AuCoDe, a start-up that detects and analyzes disinformation using artificial intelligence, is also part of the partnership.

Meedan’s research director Scott Hale said in Meedan’s press release that collaborations between IT and social science can lead to the creation of new tools and approaches to tackle disinformation.

The FACT CHAMP project is the most recent in a series of efforts by the Annenberg School to combat disinformation about minority groups. His project Factcheck.org was created almost two decades ago and was used earlier this year to fight misinformation about the COVID-19 vaccine in the Hispanic community in the United States.

After conducting research for phase I of the project, the FACT CHAMP team will come up with their phase II plan. If selected to move forward, the collaboration will earn an additional $ 5 million in funding to apply its research to real-world problems.

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