Factal, the new product, notifies customers in real time about incidents anywhere in the world that could pose a risk to company facilities and employees. If a shooting, natural disaster, or civil unrest erupts near an address deemed important to a client, Factal’s technology will surface that information. Then its team of journalists will verify the incident, add relevant context, and notify the customer in the product’s dashboard.
Factal is trying to find the middle ground between automated detection of newsworthy signals from social media offered by companies such as Dataminr and the 24/7 breaking news operations found in large newsrooms. Services such as Dataminr offer real-time alerts of incidents and news events around the world and use machine learning and other technologies to quickly surface them and notify customers. It’s one of several incident alert products that target corporate security teams.
Factal argues it’s different in part because it makes journalists a key part of its process. The company has three former Breaking News editors on staff with plans to hire more.
Factal’s use of journalists to produce data for corporate customers bears some similarity to NewsGuard, another startup made up of news veterans. Its goal is to fight online misinformation by using a team of journalists to produce “reliability” ratings for the 7,500 top English language websites in the US. NewsGuard hopes its ratings will be used to shape buying decisions by advertisers and integrated into social and search platforms to reduce the spread of false and low-quality information.