Hyderabad: As part of the Inter News Project, NewsMeter conducted a webinar for local YouTube channels, journalists, and content writers on fact-checking COVID-19 information. More than 40 people from diverse fields attended the webinar that was conducted on 29 August from 2 p.m to 5 p.m.

Coreena Suarez, the editor of NewsMeter, conducted the introduction session and explained the veracity of news published by NewsMeter.

NewsMeter covers a range of topics like politics, crime, business, entertainment, fact-check, and education. We also have other categories like data and investigative stories, drone journalism, and satellite journalism. Our goal is to turn data into information and information into insight. Our objective is to fight misinformation and disinformation with the help of Google News Initiative-trained fact-checkers.

Rakesh Reddy Dobbudu, the founder and CEO of Factly, was a guest speaker at the webinar. His speech mainly focused on the motivations of people who share false news. These include financial motives, ideological motives, or fame, and popularity. He also explained how false claims related to COVID- 19 have posed challenges to fact-checkers.

Not just fact-checking websites, but several mainstream media houses, government agencies, and police departments are also actively taking part in fact-checking. PIB fact-check initiative is one such example where a government body debunks false claims related to various government schemes. At the same time, police departments, through their official social media handles, debunk claims which may cause social unrest and animosity.

Another session was conducted by Satya Priya B.N, the fact-check lead, NewsMeter. The session focused on tools that help fact-checkers fight misinformation. COVID-19 “infodemic” is a fight against information that creates confusion among people, she said, adding that there are seven ways to spot misinformation; source suspicion, emotional outplay, bad language, false accounts, oversharing, fact check, and source identification.

Satya Priya explained in detail the tools used to fact-check information like Google Reverse Image Search, Yandex reverse image search, and video verification tool Invid. She also discussed photo editing software and archiving tool Wayback Machine.

One can identify misinformation and verify the credibility of the pictures or videos with tools like Reverse Image Search, Photoshop, Photopea, M.S paint, Yandex, and Invid or by adding a time filter, by observing the surroundings, and though translation, she further explained. Links can also be archived to preserve proof through Wayback Machine, she said.

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