11 November 2023
Dalil, Siren’s AI powered platform countering information disorder, will receive support through the Scale-up Program of the Paris Peace Forum, the conference organisers announced 11 November 2023.
The Program will better enable Dalil to tackle information disorder by raising its visibility, connecting the team with likeminded stakeholders worldwide, and strengthening internal capacities through mentorship, peer learnings and interactions.
Dalil is one of 10 projects selected for this year’s Scale-up Program, and one of 53 global initiatives that showcased their work at the two-day Forum’s “Space for Solutions.” The showcased projects all propose innovative ways to build common ground in a world of rivalry – the theme of the Forum’s 2023 edition.
Commenting on Dalil’s selection, Theodore Caponis, who leads the project at Siren, said: “As information disorder becomes part of our daily lives, it grows harder to address challenges that require a collaborative approach and informed decision making. False narratives that undermine our evaluative standards and sow distrust between groups are being disseminated with alarming ease and speed. As a result, we need quicker access to reliable information. This is where Dalil fills the gap. The Scale-up Program will help secure the sustainability of the project, enabling us to better understand Dalil’s market, tailor the platform and business model accordingly, and expand the user base.”
Countering information disorder through AI
Dalil enhances the efficiency of the fact-checking process, providing crucial support for fact-checkers battling information disorder. The platform uses AI to accelerate news monitoring and content verification. Using clustering models to group information by theme and volume, Dalil makes it easier to see what’s trending across a range of outlets and geographies. It additionally offers users the possibility to search through this content. Dalil can pull content from most webpages and is currently scraping 350 news outlets, mostly from the Arab world, with more to be added in the future.
In the verification space, Dalil integrates different analysis tools for assessing the trustworthiness of images, videos, and text – eliminating the need for users to juggle between different resources or apps. It currently offers more than 10 open-source image and video verification tools that enable users to evaluate whether content has been repurposed or digitally manipulated. One of the unique aspects of the platform is Dalil Check, a discourse analysis tool that enables users to measure the level of subjectivity within a given text, and the degree to which it deploys rhetorical devices aiming to influence readers. This enables fact-checkers to rapidly hone in on questionable content, increasing their efficiency and productivity.
Since its inception, one of the project’s main objectives has been to improve the effectiveness and resilience of the Arab Fact-Checkers Network (AFCN), a grassroots network convening fact-checking units and freelancers from around the region. It has been doing this through capacity building, awareness raising interventions, and by developing the Dalil platform.
Overall, the project has contributed to a significant increase in the capabilities of regional fact-checkers, who face significant challenges. The project partners Arab Reporters for Investigative Journalism and the Jordan Open Source Association have delivered tailored trainings and workshops on digital security, fact-checking techniques, and open-source investigations to more than 165 fact-checkers from the region. Eighty-nine percent of those who received training reported an increase in knowledge and skills. Having started with seven fact-checking organisations last year, the platform has also grown and now has more than 120 active users from 30 fact-checking organisations across 10 countries.
Still, this is relatively small given the task at hand and the challenge posed by information disorder. Showcasing the project at the Paris Peace Forum is a great opportunity to develop synergies with those who want to enhance trust and safety in the digital world, and to gain inspiration on how to make the platform as useful as possible, for the widest possible group of stakeholders.
Dalil is funded by the European Union through the Service for Foreign Policy Instrument. It forms a key part of the Arab Fact-Checkers Network (AFCN) Innovation & Resilience project, which is implemented by a consortium led by Siren Associates, alongside partners Siren Analytics, Arab Reporters for Investigative Journalism, and the Jordan Open-Source Association.