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SNU FactCheck Wins Human Technology Award at Asia Future Forum

Dec 06, 2018

SNU FactCheck website
SNU FactCheck website

On October 31, SNU FactCheck, created by the SNU Institute of Communication Research, received the Human Technology Award at the 9th Asia Future Forum in Seoul, Korea.

The Human Technology Award was created to promote and accelerate technological breakthroughs that improve the human condition. Award-winning technologies were selected through multi-faceted evaluation of their social impact and values.

Created as a means to combat the problem of “fake news,” SNU FactCheck is non-political, non-profit public information service that provides the public with news that has been vetted and verified by participating media companies. Launched in 2015, SNU FactCheck is the first of its kind in Korea.

“As more powerful technological tools are being created, the digital divide is only widening. Now, more than ever, information literacy is a relevant and important issue,” one of the forum judges said. “SNU FactCheck addresses this issue by providing a convenient platform that encourages users to actively make their own judgements about the claims news organizations have reviewed and uploaded.”

Currently, 27 newspapers, broadcasting, communication, and online media companies are participating in the platform and over 1,000 verified facts have been accumulated. Relevant news items are assessed by the participating media companies on a scale ranging from "not factual at all" to "completely factual.” If there is a large disparity in the ratings a particular post, the news is labeled “controversial.”

EunRyung Chong, director of the project at the SNU Institute of Communication Research said that the platform is designed to “challenge fake news while still allowing the media to have a collaborative, uncensored dialogue.”

“It is important for the public to understand why one institution decides a claim is true and another institution might decide it’s false,” Chong explained.

“People might criticize us and say that [this methodology] is confusing, but we know the truth has many sides,” she said. “For the past two decades in Korea, there has been a great deal of partisan media outlets that rarely agree on the same points. As an educational institution in the public sector, we believe that our role is to mediate between them.”

Written by Frances Seowon Jin, SNU English Editor,
Reviewed by Professor Travis Smith, Department of Asian Languages and Civilizations,