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New Year's Revolution:
Battling Fake News + Disinformation Together
Fake news and disinformation present major threats to the world - and it's only getting worse. According to researchers from the Oxford Internet Institute, disinformation campaigns occurred in at least 70 countries in 2019, a significant increase from 28 in 2017. On the digital literacy front, a recent report from the Stanford Graduate School of Education shows that high school students in the U.S. have a very hard time discerning fact from fiction.

So is there any hope? Yes! The good news is that the world is waking up to this threat and looking for innovative solutions that could prove effective at countering disinformation campaigns.

In India, WhatsApp is extremely popular with more than 500 million using the platform. It's transformed daily life around the country. However, despite its many benefits, fake news, phony videos, doctored photos and violent content on the platform have been connected with a string of deaths in the country since 2017. 

Here's where the good news comes in. MetaFact, an Indian startup, says it's found solutions to this problem by using natural language processing, combining linguistics and computer science, to help detect, monitor and counter phony stories on WhatsApp. MetaFact’s fact-checking tool is meant to extend to newsrooms “the power to detect and monitor fake news in real time, sifting through all the data cacophony that is generated online,” wrote MetaFact’s founder Sagar Kaul in an email.

At PeaceTech Lab, we work diligently to stop the spread of hate speech, fake news and disinformation online through workshops, social media monitoring and peace media programs. We’re cranking it up a notch at the start of this new decade, working closely with organizations like the National Association for Media Literacy Education (NAMLE) to launch a new series of media literacy workshops in the United States and around the world targeting educators, journalists and technology professionals. Stay tuned.

Tim Receveur | PeaceTech Exchange Director

With the Oscar’s right around the corner, now is definitely the time to binge some movies.

And we have one you should add to your list:
Jusan iisi (The scent of Sagebrush).

At our PeaceTech Exchange in Central Asia, we supported three promising mini projects that use tech to counter violent extremism. One of the honorees was this documentary by Zhuldyz Tuleuova, which tells the story of families of foreign fighters in Kazakhstan as they make the tough transition from Syria back to their home communities.

Ready to watch? Then grab that popcorn, kick up your feet and press play!

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