AI startup Factmata has raised over $200,000 in crowdfunding, including from the co-founder of Twitter, just two weeks after it launched its campaign on Wefunder.
Factmata, which uses AI to detect harmful online narratives, is crowdfunding to ensure the business is held accountable by a broader range of society in the development of its algorithms. It’s currently on track to raise half a million in funding from more than 500 individual investors.
Among them is the co-founder of Twitter Biz Stone, who has been a long-term backer of the tech startup, having participated in Factmata’s $1 million seed funding round in 2018.
When making his investment Stone said: “The power everyone has around the world to create blog posts, articles, comments, videos, and social media posts has emerged only in the last twenty years. The web is such an amazing environment and it’s now bumping into a centuries old, critically important part of democracy – news.”
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“Along with all the fantastic aspects of the web come new problems like bias, misinformation, and offensive content to name a few. It can be confusing and difficult to cut through to the trusted, truthful information. That is why Factmata is such an important part of the future of our web.”
The latest round of investment will be used to promote Factmata’s newly developed ‘Narrative Monitoring’ product, which enables brands to save time analysing thousands of Tweets, Facebook posts and news articles to identify and track non-brand narratives that threaten to cause real reputational harm.
Brands, along with their PR and marketing agencies, currently rely on human effort to make sense of their quantitative volume and sentiment scores. By automating this analysis through its proprietary AI technology, Factmata’s platform can provide this data instantly and at scale and act as an early-warning threat detector.
Factmata will also use the capital boost to launch its new content scoring technology in the programmatic advertising exchanges, enabling media buyers to avoid their ads being placed on websites containing unsafe or harmful content.
According to Factmata’s joint research with Silver bullet earlier this year, brands are currently spending almost $1 billion a year on ads that could be funding racism, amongst other forms of harmful content.
In April this year, Factmata appointed a new CEO, Ant Cousins, to lead on taking Factmata’s technology to market. Cousins has deep experience in combatting harmful narratives having experience in counter-terrorism communications for the British Army in Afghanistan and across the Middle East – and throughout the ‘social media revolutions’ of the ‘Arab Spring’.
On raising the funding Cousins said: “There’s too much harmful content being created and shared for our current human-centric fact checking and moderation models to deal with. We need to move towards identifying the underlying narratives that cause these posts to better identify and combat hate, online harm and reputational damage.”
Factmata was founded by Dhruv Ghulati, a Forbes 30 under 30 and Techstars alum, who gained notoriety for his cold email to Mark Cuban, which raised $500,000 to get the company started.
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