SEOUL, SOUTH KOREA — Meedan is proud to announce its award with Agência Lupa, Aos Fatos, Projeto Comprova, Estadão Verifica, and Universo Online (UOL) for Most Innovative and Impactful Collaboration at Global Fact 10. 

This marks Meedan’s second consecutive year supporting the winning partners of the coveted award. 

In preparation for Brazil’s presidential election in October 2022, the five leading Brazilian fact-checkers— Agência Lupa, Aos Fatos, Projeto Comprova, Estadão Verifica, and Universo Online (UOL)—created Confirma 2022 with Meedan to respond to electoral misinformation on WhatsApp. Click here to read more about the project, which was facilitated and funded by WhatsApp.

“This collaboration involved reaching audiences where they’re at—on closed messaging networks. It also pioneered a successful model for two-way, on-demand information sharing between audiences and fact-checkers, and provided a potential for fact-checkers to develop further audience engagement and retention on messaging platforms,” said Ed Bice, CEO of Meedan. 

This combination of innovative technology and cross-sector partnerships resulted in a project that collected thousands of anonymous audience questions and requests for fact-checks, and distributed thousands more fact-checks to voters via six WhatsApp tiplines, all powered by Meedan's Check

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Critically, the coalition’s work drove the misinformation response effort of the nonpartisan Brazilian electoral authority, the Tribunal Superior Electoral (TSE). The TSE distributed the coalition’s fact-checks to its massive WhatsApp audience, increasing the reach of the fact-checkers as well as the impact on the information environment ahead of the election.

On top of the core fact-checking collaboration a second group of collaborators then analyzed the project’s anonymized audience questions and content in order to better understand WhatsApp misinformation trends about the questions people asked and claims they encountered online. 

Because the fact-checkers responsible for monitoring the tiplines are routinely exposed to harassing and graphic content, this coalition also took efforts to center mental health throughout the reporting and debunking process. Collaborators prepared and delivered a well-attended and interactive mental health workshop in Portuguese that addressed the specific challenges of online fact checking work.

“This virtuous cycle of engagement and fast-paced information exchange was made possible through technological innovation and the willingness of this project’s coalition partners to trust each other and collaborate for this important political moment,” said Pierre Conti, Meedan’s Director of Product.  “When a strong and credible coalition of partners uses technology to distribute quality information to exactly where citizens spend much of their time (on WhatsApp), the impact can be magnified manifold.”

Tags
Elections
Misinformation
Fact-Checking
Election Trends
Tipline

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.

References

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Published on
June 30, 2023