Finding the truth on the internet is too hard. We want Metafact to help you..
Access to information is not the problem anymore - we are all drowning in it. But in our daily feed of headlines, search links or social media posts, how do we know the difference between fact and opinion? It's simply too hard.
To solve this, we need a different kind of web platform where:
- people can question anything
- evidence matters more than clicks
- experts are valued, not ads
- independence is everything, not ideology
- open knowledge with no paywalls.
We are building that platform and we welcome all of you to join us on this journey!
Story so far:
In April 2018, we built a prototype fact-checking platform called Metafact - where we match verified scientists and experts to answer and review factual claims asked by users. Many experts share the facts openly and freely for everyone to learn, discuss and republish.
The prototype is working well - we've hosted hundreds of fact-checks and thousands of answers from over 11,000 verified experts in over 380 fields and 555 institutions.
Since our alpha launch we've been working with experts to make the platform easy for them to review and answer questions. The next stage is to build a membership model and platform where we can grow.
We are now introducing our beta membership via Kickstarter - to attract 500 founding members. So what do members get aside from the kudos of supporting science:
- Ask Metafact: Members get to ask Metafact questions. We match hundreds of verified experts in the community to review factual claims asked by our members. Although anyone can ask a question on Metafact, we prioritise and promote members questions first.
- Monthly 'Sessions': Every month we will host a Metafact 'Session' where members vote on a topic or issue important to them (eg. vitamins, Alzheimer's Disease, Hurricanes or Black Holes) - we invite experts to share the facts so everyone can learn and discuss in real-time.
Founding members also receive insights and curated content from our own in-house scientific editors including:
Metafact Weekly. A curated weekly intelligence digest - where we distill the most important facts & myths coming from the platform - with a little dry humour. This contains sections including:
- Dinner Conversation: where we help you respond to popular claims to give you the facts to share. For example: "When someone says “Microwaving food makes food toxic”, you can say - that is 100% false according to experts - it simply excites water molecules"
- Talk Nerdy to Me:where we invited prominent experts to write a longer article explaining the facts around a popular claim.
- Consensus: where we summarise expert answers made from many experts around a question from members.
Metafact 'Verified.' A digital quarterly magazine of trusted facts curated by top experts- for members to read, enjoy and share.
Founding members are very special, since they will also be able to offer ideas and feedback on the design and development of the membership platform.
Who is the Team?
Our team is based in Sydney and San Francisco.
The technical team:
- Dr Ben McNeil (co-founder) is a long-time climate scientist from Princeton & UNSW.
- Ernie Lie (co-founder) is a computer engineer and CTO.
- Barry Jiao (co-founder) is a computer engineer and leads design.
The Advisory Board currently consists of:
- Professor Ian Frazer (Science advisor) is a clinical immunologist and co-inventor of the cervical cancer vaccine.
- Fiona Macdonald (Media advisor) is CEO of ScienceAlert with over a decade of experience in science journalism.
- Jeff Bleich (Policy advisor) is a diplomat and the former US ambassador to Australia.
- Ruchika Sahai (Education advisor) is an educator, writer and entrepreneur.
- Tamar Wilner (Misinformation Advisor) is a global expert on internet misinformation, who is writing a PhD on it from University of Texas.
What will your pledge support?
Your funds will directly support real scientists to help curate the questions and answers within their fields for members and the wider community. We plan to initially hire part-time scientific editors in 5 broad fields:
- Health - Food, Nutrition & Lifestyle
- Medicine - Diagnosing, treating and preventing disease
- The Mind - Neuroscience & Mental Health
- Environment & Energy - Climate, Clean Tech & Pollution
- Technology & Society - How technology is shaping our future
Your funds will also be used to design and develop the membership platform.
Some things we plan to develop for members:
- Members will be able to follow topics and facts within a daily feed so they can better engage and learn in areas important to them.
- Members will have the ability to Ask Metafact questions quickly on any device and receive notifications when they get answered.
- Metafact 'Sessions' as part of the membership portal to allow Q&A's around a topic of interest to members.
Risks and challenges
We've been working on developing and launching Metafact for over two years and have successfully launched the alpha platform in April 2018. You can see it at metafact.io. Since then we've been able to host hundreds of questions and thousands of answers from experts across the world. We've got a fantastic team and the success so far means the risk for the next phase of the project is genuinely low.
We do have items to send members including cards, stickers, hard-copy books (for schools). These will all be ordered and sent from Sydney or San Francisco - backers will be updated if any unforeseen delays in producing or sending them occurs.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
- (28 days)