It won’t have escaped your notice that factchecking is very much in the news recently due to last year’s political upheavals in both the US and UK and the suspected influence of fake news on voters. Both traditional and social media organisations are making efforts in this area; examples include Channel 4 and Facebook.
At our recent London Lucene/Solr Meetup UK charity Full Fact spoke eloquently on the need for automated factchecking tools to help identify and correct stories that are demonstrably false. They’ve also published a great report on The State of Automated Factchecking which mentions both Apache Solr and our powerful stored query library Luwak as components of their platform. We’ve been helping FullFact with their prototype factchecking tools for a while now but during the Meetup I suggested we might run a hackday to develop these further.
Thus I’m very pleased to announce that Facebook have offered us a venue in London for the hackday on January 20th (register here). Many Solr developers, including several committers and PMC members, are signed up to attend already. We’ll use Full Fact’s report and their experiences of factchecking newspapers, TV’s Question Time and Hansard to design and build practical, useful tools and identify a future roadmap. We’ll aim to publish what we build as open source software which should also benefit factchecking organisations across the world.