Non-profit

Science Feedback

Website:

sciencefeedback.co

Formation:

2015 [16]

Type:

Environmentalist-aligned “Fact-Checking” Service

President:

Emmanuel Vincent

Science Feedback is a left-of-center publishing organization that operates the blogs Climate Feedback and Health Feedback. Both websites publish opinion articles claiming to assess the scientific merit of popular media articles and scientific claims.

Background

Science Feedback, registered as a not-for-profit organization in France, was formed in 2015 by Emmanuel Vincent, a French academic with a background in oceanic weather science. [1][2]

The organization has two projects, which appear to constitute all of its activity: Climate Feedback and Health Feedback. Both projects are operated as standalone websites, which publish opinion articles claiming to evaluate the veracity of media coverage and claims involving environmental or health science respectively. The authors of these review articles, according to the organization’s website, are required to have a PhD in a relevant discipline and at least one article published in an academic journal. [3] Notably, although contributors are required to have PhDs, only one editor out of the three listed on Science Feedback’s website appears to have a PhD. [4][5]

Relationship with Facebook

The organization is one of Facebook’s seven United States-based “fact-checking partners,” which the company uses to deem whether or not content is “False.” Content that garners such a designation, according to Facebook’s help guide for media and publishers, will “appear lower in News Feed,” or will be “filtered out of discovery surfaces on Instagram.” Furthermore, “repeat offenders,” pages or websites that regularly publish content rated false, can become, according to the same guide, restricted by “having their distribution reduced,” “ability to monetize and advertize removed,” and “their ability to register as a news Page removed.” [6]

According to the news website Axios, Facebook’s relationship with Science Feedback is notable because some consider the organization to be partisan, particularly a number of conservatives who disagree with the characterization that Science Feedback “fact-checks news and information primarily based on whether it is rooted in science,” and instead argue, “climate change is not a settled science.” [7] In that vein, conservative periodicals that Science Feedback has criticized include the Daily Wire and the Daily Caller. [8] [9]

Funding and Institutional Support

In 2015, Science Feedback received a “Data & Democracy Grant” from The Center for Information Technology Research in the Interest of Society, a research instituted operated by the University of California. In that vein, the organization’s Climate Feedback project was supported by the Center for Climate Communication at the University of California, Merced between 2015 and 2017. [10]

During this period, in 2016, Science Feedback ran a crowd funding campaign through Indiegogo to raise money for the Climate feedback project, ultimately raising $32,544. [11] Notably, the money was donated to the project through the University of California, Merced, making the donations tax deductible in the United States. Following the end of the campaign on May 28, 2016, donations can still be made to Climate Feedback project through the University by way of its Sierra Nevada Research Institute. [12]

In 2018, Science Feedback received a “microgrant” from The Credibility Coalition, a left-of-center journalistic organization funded by the Google News Initiative, Facebook Journalism Project, and Twitter. [13] The organization is also the recipient of a “flash grant” from the Shuttleworth Foundation, a nonprofit philanthropic organization based in Durbanville, South Africa. [14][15]

References

  1. “Science Feedback.” DonorBox.org. Accessed January 6, 2019. https://donorbox.org/support-science-feedback?default_interval=m&amount=15&hide_donation_meter=true ^
  2. “Team members, advisors and contributors.” Science Feedback. Accessed January 6, 2020. https://sciencefeedback.co/team-advisors-contributors/ ^
  3. “Scientists, got onboard!” Science Feedback. Accessed January 6, 2020. https://sciencefeedback.co/for-scientists/ ^
  4. “Team members, advisors and contributors.” Science Feedback. Accessed January 6, 2020. https://sciencefeedback.co/team-advisors-contributors/ ^
  5. “About.” Science Feedback. Accessed January 6, 2020. https://sciencefeedback.co/about/ ^
  6. “Fact-Checking on Facebook: What Publishers Should Know.” Facebook. December 16, 2020. Accessed January 6, 2020. https://www.facebook.com/help/publisher/182222309230722 ^
  7. Fischer, Sara. “Facebook adds 2 new fact-checking partners.” Axios. April 17, 2019. Accessed January 6, 2020. https://www.axios.com/facebook-fact-checking-partners-poynter-087404bc-42f0-40c8-b570-6a45a1d6bd63.html ^
  8. “Daily Caller uncritically reports poorly supported conclusion of satellite temperature study.” Climate Feedback. December 4, 2017. Accessed January 6, 2020. https://climatefeedback.org/evaluation/daily-caller-uncritically-reports-misleading-satellite-temperature-study-michael-bastasch/ ^
  9. “Daily Wire article misunderstands study on carbon budget (along with Fox News, The Telegraph, The Daily Mail, Breitbart…).” Climate Feedback. September 21, 2017. Accessed January 6, 2020. ^
  10. “Partners, Funders & Donors.” Science Feedback. Accessed January 6, 2020. https://sciencefeedback.co/partners-funders-donors/ ^
  11. “Climate Feedback: A guide to reliable climate news.” IndieGogo. May 28, 2016. Accessed January 4, 2020. https://www.indiegogo.com/projects/climate-feedback-a-guide-to-reliable-climate-news–2#/ ^
  12. “Give Now.” UC Merced. Accessed January 4, 2019. https://securelb.imodules.com/s/1650/index.aspx?sid=1650&gid=1&pgid=474&dids=160&bledit=1 ^
  13. “Funding Support.” Credibility Coalition. Accessed January 6, 2020. https://credibilitycoalition.org/ ^
  14. “Partners, Funders & Donors.” Science Feedback. Accessed January 6, 2020. https://sciencefeedback.co/partners-funders-donors/ ^
  15. “Annual Report of the Shuttleworth Foundation Trusts.” Shuttleworth Foundation. 2007. Accessed January 6, 2020. https://www.shuttleworthfoundation.org/reports/SF_2007AR.pdf ^
  16. “How you can help.” Climate Feedback (archived page). Archived May 27, 2018. Accessed October 8, 2019. URL: https://web.archive.org/web/20180527163636/https://climatefeedback.org/contribute/. Archived: https://www.influencewatch.org/app/uploads/2019/10/climate-feedback-donate-page-archived.-10.08.2019.pdf. ^

Directors, Employees & Supporters

  1. Eric Michelman
    Major Donor
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