Meet Antony Cousins, CEO at Media Monitoring and Social Media Listening AI: Factmata

Factmata analyses the internet. What is happening, including the good and the bad. We aim to address the problem of information overload faced by PR and Marketing teams by making narrative monitoring available to all. Our AI-powered self-serve social media listening tool is also available for free for qualifying journalists and charities.

Designed to be easy to use, Factmata’s technology ensures even non-technical or data-driven users can still get actionable insights quickly. Narrative Monitoring uses artificial intelligence to automatically group similar online opinions into ‘Narratives’ to make sense of thousands of Tweets, Facebook posts, news articles and other forms of online content.
The Factmata Business in 2019. And what 2020 brings for us | by Dhruv  Ghulati | Factmata | Medium

How did the idea come up for Factmata?

Dhruv Ghulati was one of the founders of Factmata with two professors from Sheffield and UCL universities and one of the early developers of Wikipedia. Dhruv was at the London School of Economics doing a thesis on automated fact-checking in 2016 around the time of Brexit and the US elections, both of which generated significant amounts of fake news and other forms of harmful content. People started realising the scale of the problem, and behold, Factmata was born to solve it.

Initially, the team considered content platforms like Mumsnet or governments as their target audience, but the truth is subjective and trying to be the single gatekeeper of truth isn’t valuable, nor helpful for the problem. That is why Factmata sells the product to anyone, of any political belief, just as long as they’re responsible for the truth. We want everyone to have these advanced tools so they can police their little bit of the conversation on the internet. In that way, we can make a real difference.


How has Factmata evolved during the pandemic?

The pandemic has highlighted the potential real-world and life-threatening impacts of misinformation. Through our testing and trialing during the pandemic, we found many agencies were still paying a high price to get the data they need and then manually combing through thousands of mentions to make sense of the narratives trending and who is involved.

Hours of precious time are lost as professionals analyse and react to new misinformation trends.

We’ve also expanded our scope from simply identifying lies to flagging more types of harmful content including sexism, racism and religious attacks as the pandemic and associated societal impacts have increased online sharing by bad actors. To summarise, AI adoption is very poor, businesses are lagging and paying the price by missing crucial insights.

What can we hope to see from Factmata in the future?

We hope to be the go-to tool for journalists, PR professionals and marketers to have an enriched understanding of the conversations happening amongst their target audiences. We want to expand our client base, save them time and educate the masses on how our tool can transform the way content is produced, manufactured and distributed online.

There are also other innovations in AI that we’ve pioneered which we want to see more widely adopted, including replacing sentiment analysis with more modern automated intent analysis. We also want to see more clients making use of all 19 of our unique AI models including new ways to identify the satirical and humorous content amongst the truly harmful content.

In summary, narrative monitoring presents an exciting opportunity for our clients to see how narrative trends start, grow and who is behind them, in significantly less time.