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Responsible Technology Australia

Impact Fund: The Misinformation Medic Campaign

Impact Fund: The Misinformation Medic Campaign

In light of the ongoing COVID-19 crisis, a new and arguably more infectious pandemic has emerged – misinformation. From conspiracy theories linking 5g ...





01/04/2020 > 30/06/2020


  • Strengthening Democracy - Public policy / research / advocacy


  • General population


In light of the ongoing COVID-19 crisis, a new and arguably more infectious pandemic has emerged – misinformation. From conspiracy theories linking 5g towers with disease spread, to posts promoting hot water or bleach as remedies, misinformation has quickly and dramatically reached every corner of the world by capitalising on the fear and confusion of communities in these uncertain times.

Whilst it might be easy to blame a malicious actor or an ignorant end-user, responsibility for the immense scale and spread of this content lies with the social media platforms, namely Facebook (Facebook, Instagram and WhatsApp), Google (Youtube) and Twitter.

These platforms make their money through advertising, and so are designed to serve you the most engaging content – which tends to be sensational, outrageous and conspiratorial – to keep you on their websites, regardless of factual accuracy or harm caused.

There is an opportunity to leverage the unprecedented proliferation of misinformation through the COVID crisis to engage Australian audiences on the impact of misinformation, to provide individuals with the knowledge and awareness to better spot misinformation, and to mobilise support for holding the social media platforms responsible.

Responsible Technology Australia have developed a campaign called The Misinformation Medic, which is an interactive online quiz that takes people on a journey engaging and informing them on the threats of misinformation. The quiz gauges how well the user can spot real COVID misinformation and gives them a ‘diagnosis’ score with matching tools to help them better spot it in the future. The campaign aims to empower individuals, but is very explicit that while we are all susceptible to misinformation, the responsibility for it lies with the social media platforms.


The asks of the campaign to the social media platforms are:

1. Live List - To maintain a public list of the most viral COVID-19 content to allow health officials, journalists and the public understand what misinformation is spreading and in which online communities, in order to create effective responses.
2. Circuit Breaker - To institute a function that identifies COVID-19 content that is starting to go viral and pauses the algorithm from amplifying it until it has been fact-checked.


1. Raise awareness amongst the Australian public about the serious and tangible harms misinformation causes in times of crisis.
2. Mobilise public audiences to demand social media platforms take responsibility for the way their design and business model enables and amplifies false content.
3. Alignment with key politicians on the ask.
4. Engagement of key influencers both to mobilise audiences, but also to increase pressure on the platforms

If we are able to get social media users to care that social media platforms are amplifying COVID-19 misinformation, then we can build a public constituency to signal to the government that there is public support (and political cover) for progressive policies that lead to better public oversight and regulation of the exploitative data practices of digital platforms.

Profile of Responsible Technology Australia

Responsible Technology Australia

Responsible Technology Australia is an independent organisation committed to countering the exploitative data practices of digital platforms, and the harms they cause to our democracy. We seek to ensure the safety of Australian citizens online whilst advocating for an ethical business ecosystem that values innovation and competition.


TOTAL BUDGET: $240,000
Funding sourceAmount
Impact Fund pledge$15,000
Funding gap to reach Impact Fund target$35,000
Matched funding from Luminate for Impact Fund contributions$50,000
Expense itemAmount
Animation Video Production $18,500
Creative development & Copywriting$34,000
Tool Development (chatbot, ad experiment etc)$8,000
Paid Media + Influencer Strategy$79,000
Earned Media Strategy + Execution$4,000
Ongoing Campaign & Strategy Team Staff Costs$88,000

Support Impact Fund: The Misinformation Medic Campaign

Got a question about this project or ready to contribute? Contact our Philanthropy & Impact Team.


As a broker of change, we invite social change initiatives to apply for funding. Eligible proposals are shared with our giving community via our Granting Opportunities directory.