Today, Meedan announced it will make its technology available for several partners who are monitoring viral misinformation shared on closed messaging apps ahead of the 2024 Lok Sabha parliamentary elections in India. 

This is a joint initiative conducted in partnership with The Quint, BOOM, Factly and Newschecker.

Fact-checking groups to use tiplines and Check for greater impact

Coalition organizations will share tipline data to find out what voters want to know about elections and polling. Partners have already been running multilanguage WhatsApp tiplines powered by Meedan’s Check software solution to both collect questions about misinformation and to distribute fact-checks and verified content. 

Given WhatsApp’s widespread use in India, these tiplines are helping to detect misinformation in its early stages, before some of these spurious claims have the chance to circulate widely on social media. 

During this initial phase, the four partner groups will share tipline data, allowing each organization to view anonymized fact-check requests from one another’s audiences and to collectively monitor the viral narratives spreading on messaging apps.

This collaborative response will support fact-checkers in their collective efforts to improve the quality of election-related online information. In turn, voters will gain access to verified and credible information at scale — and in a variety of languages.

Coalition members are enthusiastic about what the initiative can accomplish.

“Collaboration among fact-checking organizations ahead of the Lok Sabha elections will result in the accuracy and integrity of information during this high-stakes news cycle,” said Abhilash Mallick of The Quint. “I feel it will empower citizens with trustworthy insights to make informed decisions, as we might be ahead of the curve when it comes to the spread of mis/disinformation by our work in this collective.”

Managing Editor Jency Jacob of BOOM is also optimistic about the opportunities for collaboration.

“We are happy to partner with Meedan and other fact-checkers to collect additional signals that would help us to identify viral claims,” said Jacob. “Working collaboratively with other fact-checkers will help everyone as we pool our limited resources to fight the menace of disinformation.”

The Lok Sabha 2024 initiative expands on Meedan’s previous work with partners in India and builds on lessons learned from recent election projects around the world. The open-source Check platform has supported several large-scale election-monitoring projects throughout the globe over the past decade. Most recently, the CekFakta coalition in Indonesia used Check-supported tiplines to monitor election misinformation during the 2024 general election. Meedan has also shared its software for similar coalition-led efforts during the 2022 Brazilian election and the 2022 Philippine presidential election

Reach out to fact-checkers at the following organizations to verify information about the 2024 Lok Sabha elections:

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Footnotes

  1. Online conversations are heavily influenced by news coverage, like the 2022 Supreme Court decision on abortion. The relationship is less clear between big breaking news and specific increases in online misinformation.
  2. The tweets analyzed were a random sample qualitatively coded as “misinformation” or “not misinformation” by two qualitative coders trained in public health and internet studies.
  3. This method used Twitter’s historical search API
  4. The peak was a significant outlier compared to days before it using Grubbs' test for outliers for Chemical Abortion (p<0.2 for the decision; p<0.003 for the leak) and Herbal Abortion (p<0.001 for the decision and leak).
  5. All our searches were case insensitive and could match substrings; so, “revers” matches “reverse”, “reversal”, etc.

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Published on
March 27, 2024