March 25, 2022

ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. (March 25, 2022) – MediaWise, the digital media literacy initiative of the nonprofit Poynter Institute, has developed a new microlearning course that teaches Turkish citizens how to identify and steer clear of misinformation online.

Geared toward older Turks, the free WhatsApp course was created with support from Meta and in partnership with the Faculty of Communication at Istanbul Bilgi University.

“The safety of people using Meta platforms is one of our biggest responsibilities,” said Sezen Yeşil, head of public policy, Turkey, and Azerbaijan at Meta. “With this 10-day training, all our users, especially adults, will have the opportunity to learn how to prevent the spread of false news and how to identify them from different perspectives.”

Once a day, for 10 days, participants receive WhatsApp messages with lessons such as recognizing misinformation, identifying manipulated images, understanding algorithms, verifying credentials, and talking with friends and family who share misleading information on social media. The course is based on MediaWise’s digital-first training for senior citizens in the United States.

“Today, generations that were not born into the information society can unintentionally become an intermediary in the spread of disinformation with their past habits,” ​​said Halil Nalçaoglu, dean of the Faculty of Communication at Istanbul Bilgi University. “The program is an awareness project that will cover a large part of society and encourage those to adopt a lifelong principle of continued education.”

MediaWise debuted #AcabaDoğrumu during a launch event in Istanbul, Turkey, on March 24, at the iconic Energy Museum — the former Silahtarağa Power Plant. 

WATCH THE REPLAY: Hear fact-checking experts discuss misinformation.

The event featured two panel discussions on misinformation and its dangerous impact on democracies worldwide with experts in academia and journalism, including Turkish journalist and Fox TV anchor İsmail Küçükkaya, who serves as a MediaWise Ambassador and guides Turkish participants through the course.

“I feel really proud to have contributed,” Küçükkaya said. “I have learned from this program, and I want everyone to learn from this program.”

Attendees included U.S. Consulate press attaché Eric Atkins and other digital media specialists from the office, along with former CNN Turk editor-in-chief Ferhat Boratav. People’s Republican Party İstanbul MP Onursal Adıgüzel was also in the audience.

MediaWise, Doğruluk Payı, Teyit, Istanbul Bilgi University and Meta staff pose in the historical Energy Museum — a relic of the Ottoman Empire — on Bilgi’s campus March 24, 2022. (Özde Karadağ/Istanbul Bilgi University)

MediaWise program manager Alex Mahadevan joined representatives from local fact-checking partners Teyit and Doğruluk Payı to discuss the importance of being a responsible user of the internet and social media platforms. 

“I think right now in the world, if you look at anything awful or terrible that is happening — the climate crisis, the coronavirus pandemic and threats to democracy and the rise of fascism — the things that are driving those are disinformation,” said Mahadevan. “We can trace a lot of society’s harms back to lies, and that’s why I’m very excited about this international project. The only way we can overcome those societal ills is with a coalition of fact-checkers, academics, educators, and then taking those lessons and putting them in your hands — in the power of citizens — to be more savvy digital citizens and participants in democracy.”

Click here to register for the Turkish course or visit to learn more. 

Media Contact:

Tina Dyakon
Director of Marketing
The Poynter Institute

About The Poynter Institute

The Poynter Institute for Media Studies is a global leader in journalism education and a strategy center that stands for uncompromising excellence in journalism, media, and 21st-century public discourse. Poynter faculty teach seminars and workshops at the Institute in St. Petersburg, Florida, and at newsrooms, conferences, and organizations around the world. Its e-learning division, News University, offers the world’s largest online journalism curriculum, with hundreds of interactive courses and tens of thousands of registered international users. The Institute’s website produces 24-hour coverage about media, ethics, technology, and the business of news. Poynter is the home of the Craig Newmark Center for Ethics and Leadership, the Pulitzer Prize-winning PolitiFact, the International Fact-Checking Network and MediaWise, a digital information literacy project for young people, first-time voters, and senior citizens. The world’s top journalists and media innovators rely on Poynter to learn and teach new generations of reporters, storytellers, media inventors, designers, visual journalists, documentarians, and broadcasters. This work builds public awareness about journalism, media, the U.S. First Amendment, and discourse that serves democracy and the public good. Learn more at

About MediaWise

MediaWise is a social-first digital media literacy initiative of the nonprofit Poynter Institute. The program teaches people of all ages and backgrounds how to responsibly engage with online content in the age of information overload. The fact-checking enterprise was created in 2018 to empower citizens to find trusted sources and make sense of the vast amount of information at their fingertips. We bring simple, yet effective, digital media literacy tools to people where they are — whether they’re on Facebook, Instagram, YouTube, Twitter or TikTok or in one of the five countries where MediaWise operates — and walk them through every step to determine what’s real and what’s not on the internet. Through MediaWise, everyone can do their part to reduce the spread of misinformation and elevate the truth. Follow MediaWise on social media to learn how to debunk viral claims and be more critical consumers of online information. Explore programs and be part of the solution at

About İstanbul Bilgi University

Adopting the principle of ‘Non scholae, sed vitae discimus’ (learning not for school but for life), İstanbul Bilgi University took its place within the Turkish system of higher education as a civil corporation after the application made by the Bilgi Education and Culture Foundation on June 7, 1996, and the subsequent approval by the Turkish Grand National Assembly as per the Law number 4142.

The university currently has more than 20,000 students and near 45,000 alumni, over 1,000 academicians; 7 faculties, 3 institutes, 4 schools, 3 vocational schools, and 150+ programs that provide education to its associate, undergraduate and graduate students. For more information, visit

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