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Collaboratively fact-checking the election in Argentina

More than 80 media outlets and technology companies are collaborating to debunk misinformation and offer verification training in Argentina.

More than 80 media outlets and technology companies in Argentina have formed a collaborative fact-checking project called Reverso, to debunk misinformation leading up to their general election in October. The project will also be hosting verification training sessions in 11 Argentine provinces.

There are many interesting lessons here in how to maximize resources and impact by working collaboratively with other organization and the community, but it’s worth highlighting the organization put in place in order to have consistency and quality control.

To maintain the quality of fact checks, especially among media outlets that haven’t previously dabbled with the format, Reverso is implementing a two-tiered partnership system: producers and diffusers. The former will take an active role in the fact-checking process, helping Chequeado produce original content, while the latter will simply redistribute fact checks created by producers.

There are other benefits in collaboration that Reverso will leverage, particularly when debunking misinformation reported from closed networks, such as WhatsApp. The tech organization will provide Reverso access to its API and has done similar work with Comprova, a similar collaborative effort that took place in Brazil in 2018.

Since WhatsApp is encrypted, the only way fact-checkers can find hoaxes and distribute their debunks is by asking users to send in potential rumors and then forward resulting fact checks to their groups. Having multiple fact-checkers manning that tip line was key for Comprova, which was the first project to experiment with the WhatsApp Business API, to catch potentially far-reaching rumors.