Six fact-checking groups have come together in India to launch ‘Ekta’, a consortium of Indian fact-checking groups certified by the International Fact-Checking Network (IFCN) to share verified information, insights and trends related to the 2021 Legislative Assembly elections in India. Ekta means "unity" in Hindi.
Between 1 April and 3 May 2021, Ekta will focus on misinformation related to elections in Assam, Kerala, Puducherry, Tamil Nadu and West Bengal. Beyond the elections, Ekta will focus on misinformation on other issues impacting citizens in India.
Through sharing verified information and insights, Ekta will:
- Help citizens in India access verified and fact-checked information on WhatsApp tiplines through crowdsourcing suspicious messages, rumours and queries
- Share insights, trends and patterns related to misinformation that will be made available through a centralized web site
- Deploy technology to address misinformation at scale during large events of public interest such as elections
- Create an impactful consortium model that continues to collectively address mis/disinformation beyond elections.
Ekta brings together AFP Fact Check, BOOM Live, Factly, India Today Fact Check, Vishvas News and WebQoof. All the participating groups are part of Facebook’s third-party fact-checking program with Meedan. This program integrates the Check fact-checking tool with the WhatsApp Business API to receive and respond to messages at scale.
Ekta first came together as a coalition between newsrooms and fact-checking groups in November-December 2018 to fact-check misinformation related to the 2018 Rajasthan Assembly elections. The Ekta consortium in 2021 will use this experience as a pilot to improve future collaborations and share findings with other fact-checking groups, newsrooms and civil society organizations across regions, issues and languages.
All participating groups will share highlights of their fact-checking in the form of articles, data reports, research insights, blog posts and podcasts. The website aims to build an information network between organizations working on providing credible and verified information and citizens seeking such information.
WhatsApp users across India can send suspicious messages, rumours and election-related queries for fact-checking to the following WhatsApp tiplines:
- AFP Fact-Check +91 95999 73984
- BOOM Live +91 77009 06588
- Factly +91 92470 52470
- India Today +91 73700 07000
- Vishvas News +91 95992 99372
- WebQoof +91 96436 51818
For more information or specific queries, please contact:editors [at] ekta-facts.com
- 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.
- 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.
- This method used Twitter’s historical search API
- 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).
- All our searches were case insensitive and could match substrings; so, “revers” matches “reverse”, “reversal”, etc.