The content and conduits of misinformation vary greatly depending on their language of dissemination. In Hispanic communities in the United States, false information tends to propagate mostly on WhatsApp because that’s where Spanish-speaking audiences consume their information, says Clara Jiménez-Cruz, CEO of Maldita.es and co-organizer of Factchequeado, a new initiative aiming to tackle Spanish-language misinformation in the U.S.
Cruz first took notice of this in 2019, when she noticed an influx of misinformation in Spain spreading through WhatsApp that originated from the Latin community in the United States. That’s when she reached out to Laura Zommer, the Argentinian editor-in-chief of Chequeado, the first major fact-checking organization in South America. But a particularly busy presidential election, and a subsequent global pandemic, put off their partnership until recently.
“We imagine that the project can give the general idea to researchers, and Big Tech and public policy creators, that disinformation is not necessarily the same in different languages,” Cruz said.
Chequeado has also studied the flow of Spanish-language misinformation from the United States to Latin America. In an investigation about how false content in the United States reaches Latin America, Chequeado details the export of U.S. COVID-19 misinformation that subsequently impacted countries like Mexico, Spain and the Dominican Republic.
“Our goal is to partner in a way with the legacy and well-known English fact-checkers … to bring more awareness to issues that local media might be covering,” Zommer said.
They’re also putting together a small newsroom, headed by Natalia Guerrero, a journalist and Nieman fellow. For Factchequeado, it is fundamental to create verified content in Spanish, targeted at underserved communities to limit the impact of mis- and disinformation, and it aims to do that through a network of small and big collaborators alike.
“We’re establishing alliances and a model of collaborative journalists, through hyper-local media to legacy media to distribute our verified content,” Guerrero told Factually. “Because there is content that only goes viral in the small communities that you never hear of. We want to be able to know what is around there, and we can do it through these collaborations.”
Factchequeado will be launching tomorrow in Austin, Texas at the 2022 International Symposium of Online Journalism.
- Associated Press: AP FACT CHECK: Trump distorts Obama-Biden aid to Ukraine (English)
- The article details the lengths the Obama administration went to provide aid during Ukraine’s separatist conflict.
- Reuters: Fact-check: No evidence World Economic Forum chairman said internet must be reformed (English)
- A conspiracy theory is circulating that Klaus Schwab, chairman of WEF, is predicting imminent internet reform, as part of the ‘Great Reset.’ “The internet must be reformed, there is too much misinformation out there. This will be the next step for the Great Reset,” the false attribution reads.
From the news:
- Studying — and fighting — misinformation should be a top scientific priority, biologist argues. Evolutionary biologist Carl Bergstroms shares his views on the wide world of misinformation, network theory and information spread on social media through the lens of evolutionary biology. (Science, Kai Kupferschmidt)
- If someone shares your politics, you’re less likely to block them when they post misinformation. Here’s an interesting write-up on a Journal of Communication study with about 1,000 participants, which suggests that social media users are more likely to block contacts for sharing misinformation if the contact’s political ideology differs from their own. Left-leaning participants were more likely to cut contact, the study found, while right-leaning participants were more likely to tolerate the false information. (Nieman Lab, Shraddha Chakradhar)
- An anti-Russian ‘disinformation operation’ has singled out a Finnish university but it’s unclear why A disinformation campaign targets Russian students at the University of Helsinki, deploying thousands of messages calling for sanctions on Russian students and staff. The motive and source of the campaign areis both unknown. (Euron News, Tom Bateman)
- It’s no shock that TikTok serves users Ukraine misinformation An interesting discussion of Ukraine misinformation and the enigmatic TikTok algorithm. One study mentioned found that new users on Tik Tok were shown misinformation about Ukraine within 40 minutes of signing up, regardless of whether they did anything to trigger the algorithm. (New Statesman, Sarah Manavis)
From/for the community:
- “Acaba Doğru Mu” is a new digital media literacy course for Turkish citizens from MediaWise and Istanbul Bilgi University, with editorial support from Doğruluk Payı and Teyit. The WhatsApp-based course teaches fact-checking techniques and debuted during a live event in Istanbul, Turkey. Featuring FOX Çalar Saat anchorman İsmail Küçükkaya, the course offers 10 days of lessons aimed at teaching Turks how to separate fact from fiction. https://www.poynter.org/mediawise/international/turkey/
- IFCN wrote about Rappler, and the Philippine government’s fight against fact-checking and independent media. The Philippine DOJ is currently exploring numerous legal pathways to stymie Rappler’s coverage. https://www.poynter.org/reporting-editing/2022/philippine-government-suspend-rappler-maria-ressa/
- A selection of the more prominent fake news stories detected in Spain. Newtral: https://www.newtral.es/bulos-rusia-ucrania-conflicto/20220224/
- Maldita.es spots an uptick in COVID-19 deniers propagating misinformation over Telegram. https://maldita.es/malditobulo/20220316/telegram-deniers-covid-russia-ukraine/
Events and training:
- Next week is International Fact-Checking Week! Since International Fact-Checking Day falls on a Saturday this year, we’ve scheduled webinars throughout the week of April 4, on subjects ranging from our grant initiatives, the collaborative fact-checking project #UkraineFacts, to community efforts to tackle the harassment of fact-checkers. Guests include our verified signatories at Maldita.es, VoxUkraine, Verify Sy, Ghana Fact, Vera Files, Science Feedback, Jagran New Media, Vishvas, EFE Verifica, and Liputan6. Learn more at https://factcheckingday.com/
Thanks for reading. If you are a fact-checker and you’d like your work/projects/achievements highlighted in the next edition, send us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org by next Tuesday.
Corrections? Tips? We’d love to hear from you. Email us at email@example.com.