FFDW and MuckRock Collaborate to Bring Flagship Web Resource to the Decentralized Web

Joint Project will Help Preserve Key Public Interest Documents on the Filecoin Network

Filecoin Foundation for the Decentralized Web (FFDW) is proud to announce its award to MuckRock, a non-profit, collaborative news site that gives people the tools to keep their government transparent and accountable. FFDW and MuckRock are teaming up to integrate decentralized storage technology for DocumentCloud, a platform that currently hosts over 8 million verified documents. This collaboration will expand MuckRock’s leading accountability and transparency tools to a much wider range of use cases. It will allow DocumentCloud to become a bridge for newsrooms, non-profits, researchers, and more to move key public interest documents to Filecoin, a decentralized storage network, and support preservation, publication, and analysis efforts.

DocumentCloud is a tool for journalists to find and tell stories–helping them to organize, research, annotate, and publish primary source documents. Through this project, MuckRock expects to double its network of supported organizations–reaching beyond traditional newsrooms and helping archives, researchers, civic technology organizations, and other verified contributors easily access primary source materials.

“Since founding MuckRock, it has grown from a simple record request tool to multiple platforms that reach 40 million people every month, and we’re constantly exploring how we can best serve the public as our reach expands,” said Michael Morisy, MuckRock co-founder and chief executive. “That’s become particularly important now as we’re seeing a mix of new and increasingly serious threats to public access, ranging from national censorship of news websites to the power of increasingly consolidated hosting providers to silence sensitive and embarrassing information.”

“Decentralized technologies like Filecoin are a promising avenue to answer some of these challenges, and collaborating with FFDW is a tremendous opportunity to bring decentralized technology to our network. Decentralized storage will enable more long-term and secure storage for important documents–underscoring our commitment to accountability and transparency while also helping think through important norms and best practices going forward,” said Morisy.

The DocumentCloud project will focus on three coordinated strategies, allowing MuckRock to explore and deploy decentralized storage in a measured way that builds capacity and resilience for a range of organizations helping inform the public.

Simplified Decentralization: Starting today, MuckRock is offering a preview version of DocumentCloud’s Filecoin/IPFS integration, letting all verified users choose to publish vetted documents to both DocumentCloud’s existing hosting service and to Filecoin/IPFS simultaneously. This is particularly timely as it makes it easier for newsrooms to resiliently store and share key primary source materials–even under concerted attempts to limit their distribution. DocumentCloud will also be looking to quickly expand the types of vetted civil society organizations obtaining, verifying, and publishing source documents in the public interest.

Intuitive Automation: Building off the launch of DocumentCloud’s Add-Onsfeature, MuckRock will make it easy for DocumentCloud users to automate common types of tasks, such as monitoring and archiving government websites or integrating advanced functionality, like machine learning, into their workflows. MuckRock will make it easier for journalists and researchers to scale up data gathering and analysis efforts–making data approachable for non-coders and offering powerful extensibility for developers. Throughout this phase, MuckRock will onboard an additional 750 organizations every six months, focusing on organizations that have uniquely important collections, like archives and civic technology projects, as well as organizations that face threats of internet disruption.

Collaborative Support: Finally, to help build out the next generation of journalistic, civic technology, and research innovation and make these benefits quickly available where most needed, MuckRock and the FFDW will be offering hands-on support, led by a new Filecoin Open Source Fellow dedicated to assisting and advising projects. MuckRock will also be providing $400,000 in grant and development support to a range of projects to encourage the adoption and growth of these new capabilities and the decentralized web.

“We’re proud to support MuckRock with this award,” said FFDW Board Chair Marta Belcher. “FFDW’s mission is to preserve humanity’s most important information, and this collaboration with MuckRock is a natural fit to further these efforts.”

Interested in getting involved and learning more? Register to attend MuckRock’s Hack Day. Additionally, MuckRock is currently looking for a front-end developer to build out this exciting platform and a data journalist to join their growing team.

Learn more about FFDW awards here!