Frequently Asked Questions

Find the answers to all of your questions right here! 

General

We’re building dubio because we’re fed up with the amount of fake news circulating on the Internet, and we believe that a community-driven platform to identify fake news is the most promising approach to addressing this issue. 

Currently, companies such as Facebook, Twitter and Google rely mainly on independently accredited fact-checking organisations to identify and debunk fake news. These organisations are doing excellent work, but they simply don’t have the resources or manpower to review all problematic content, and they are disproportionately based in Western Europe and North America. With dubio we want to ensure that fake news is identified quickly, reliably and worldwide.

Users sign up to the platform and select the content they want to fact-check from our input feed of suspicious content. After fact-checking the content and submitting their review, our back-end algorithms assess the user’s reliability and – if the user has a sufficiently high Reliability Score – their findings are then submitted to ClaimReview, which signals the fact-checking results to platforms such as Facebook, Twitter and YouTube. 

We submitted our concept for a community-driven platform to identify fake news to the EUvsVirus Hackathon (the largest hackathon ever, with over 20 000 participants and 2164 submissions) and won the first prize in the category “Mitigating fake news spreading”, receiving €10 000 in prize money from our sponsor Vodafone Germany Foundation. 

We then had the opportunity to connect with corporate and academic partners during the EUvsVirus Matchathon. As a result, we now have a team of 5 Academic Advisors (with backgrounds in fact-checking, intelligence gathering and mathematics) and we’re invited to participate in the upcoming CEU InnovationsLab Incubator Programme. We also received $6500 in AWS credits, as well as free stock credits for Adobe Stock, and expanded our team with 4 new members. 

At the moment we’re powering ahead with the development of our MVP, we’re working out a business plan in collaboration with our European Commission business coach, and we’re expanding our network through fact-checking conferences and through the European Innovation Council’s COVID-19 Platform. 

We aim to have our MVP finalised by the end of this year, in order to start user-testing. We plan to launch the platform to the public in February 2021.

Our Team

Our team currently consists of 11 coders, designers and marketing / business analysts from 9 different countries (Belgium, Israel, Germany, Ukraine, Poland, the UK, the US, Canada and Venezuela).

Yes! If you’ve got relevant skills in coding, design or marketing / business development and want to contribute to limiting the spread of fake news, don’t hesitate to get in touch. What we’re still looking for most urgently are additional front-end designers / developers.

In order to ensure that we’re aware of current trends and best practices in the field of fact-checking, we’ve assembled a team of Academic Advisors. To advise us on business development, we have the support of a business coach from the European Commission as well as two external mentors.

Since we’re all working on this project as volunteers, we have a loose organisational structure, and assemble ad hoc teams for particular aspects of dubio’s development, depending on each team member’s background, expertise and time commitment. Thomas is dubio’s team lead, Gustavo is our back-end lead and Ronnie is front-end lead. We hold a biweekly “all hands on deck” team meeting, as well as weekly back-end / front-end meetings.

Currently: the interwebs! We intend to establish dubio as a non-profit based in Antwerp, Belgium in the coming weeks. 

At the moment the dubio team is just an assembly of motivated individuals, contributing to a project we all believe in! We intend to establish dubio as a non-profit in the coming weeks.  

Our Users

Our platform is targeted at smart, critical people who value truth and fairness, who enjoy the “detective” work / puzzle of researching and debunking false information, who relish the feeling of belonging to a like-minded, engaged community, and who have a couple of hours to spare to make a real positive impact to cleaning up the Internet – by identifying and limiting the spread of fake news!

We will start by reaching out to existing public fact-checking communities such as the Active Measures, Fake News, and DisinformationWatch subreddits, as well as the Mimikama, Desintox and FakeNewsNao Facebook groups. These groups typically have thousands of members from all over the world, who are already fact-checking online content. Unfortunately they generally work in isolation: results are shared within the community, but there is no easy process for signalling these results to companies such as Facebook, Twitter or Google. With dubio we want to streamline the work these community fact-checkers are doing, and ensure that their research has a real impact. The positive feedback we received from existing public fact-checking communities encourages us that we are on the right track and that there is indeed a sizable target user-group for this type of platform. Another track for attracting initial (test) users will be reaching out to communities of university students and journalists. 

Once we’ve gone through initial user-testing, resolved initial hiccups and have our platform up and running, we will start attracting a wider user-base through our network and through online marketing campaigns. We also want to create some media hype around our platform by launching “Fact Checking Marathons” (see below: How will you keep users engaged?).

We have several strategies to encourage user-engagement:

Gamification: Users can climb the fact-checking ranks and leaderboards, assemble teams, obtain badges for different achievements, unlock new platform features as they progress, etc. Despite the serious work our community members are carrying out, the process of fact-checking should be fun!

Community Component: We want our users to know they are a part of an engaged, like-minded community that is really having a significant impact addressing the issue of fake news. To this end we will have a community resources page with various tools and guides to facilitate and improve users’ fact-checking, we will have community forums where users can discuss the content reviews they submitted, we will have a metrics page to illustrate each individual user’s, as well as the community’s impact as a whole, etc.

Fact-checking Marathons: We will organise monthly weekend-long fact-checking marathons to which users can sign up as individuals or as a team to compete for prize-money by fact-checking as much content as possible.

To get a basic idea of the functionality the dubio platform will offer, you can try out the mockup Adobe XD prototype of FakeMash (dubio’s old name) which we submitted to the EUvsVirus Hackathon.

That would be great! Just drop us an email expressing your interest at dubio.platform@gmail.com and we’ll be sure to keep you posted.

Project Development

We’re hosting our platform on AWS (EC2, S3, Elastic Beanstalk), using MySQL for databases, Python for our back-end algorithms, ASP.NET for front-end implementation, Miro for front-end user stories, Figma for front-end design and HTML5 / CSS for front-end development.

Yes, if we identify bottlenecks or gaps in our development pipeline we will share requests for contributions on GitHub, JOGL and ChangeMakers. 

Yes, Vodafone Germany Foundation awarded us €10 000 in prize money for winning the EUvsVirus Hackathon. We are currently applying for additional funding to continue developing our MVP. 

Our team members are working on this project as volunteers, so our current operating costs are relatively low. However, to keep our platform sustainable long-term we’re considering different revenue streams: 1) subsidies, grants, donations and funding calls and 2) funding from third-party fact-checking programs at for instance Facebook.

Yes, we currently have an offer to join the one-year CEU InnovationsLab Incubator Programme starting in September.