March 27, 2020

It’s been a week since the CoronaVirusFacts / DatosCoronaVirus Alliance made public its database, offering to citizens around the world the truth about 800 hoaxes circulating in more than 45 countries about COVID-19. Today, the database is twice as big with more than 1,500 fact-checks coming from 61 nations.

Since  March 19, new fact-checking organizations from across the globe have been added to the alliance and contributed to the largest database ever created about the coronavirus mis/disinformation.

To offer verified information about this pandemic, fact-checkers are now collaborating over 16 time zones using three simple tools: A listserv, a Slack group and a shared Google spreadsheet.

Thanks to the support offered by The Poynter Institute, it is now possible to sort and filter fact-checks by countries and organizations. Another feature lets users sort by the most recent posts.

In March, one of the most popular global rumors was about helicopters spreading chemicals over cities to disinfect or eradicate the novel coronavirus.

Alliance members such as Lead Stories (in English) and Nieuwscheckers (in Dutch) have published round-ups listing how many countries have been affected by this hoax and where it has traveled.

The oldest version of the rumor Nieuwscheckers could find dated from March 10 and was in Italy. On March 14, it was found in Malaga, Spain. And in the span of two weeks, the story spread to New York City, Oman, Argentina, Malaysia, among others.

On Monday, I joined Cristina Tardáguila, the associate director of the IFCN, as a project manager for the CoronaVirusFacts / DatosCoronaVirus Alliance. I’ll be helping members of this great group in their tireless work.

Last year, I coordinated FactCheckEU, another IFCN project on the European parliamentary elections. I can already say that the sheer volume of falsehoods and the speed with which COVID-19 content spread over the world is incomparable.

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  • Is there any API for accessing this database? The fact-checker is need of the hour and various platforms (mine included) would love to have this information integrated with existing applications/apps.