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Tackling COVID-19 Infodemic: fact-checking and debunking initiatives

ESMH against disinformation

 🇪🇺 European Institutions

• How can you recognise disinformation and how can you help stop it from spreading? What is the EU doing about it?
• European Parliament – EP Official page ‘How to recognise and tackle Covid-19 myths’
Assessment of the code of practice on disinformation
• EUvsDisinfo – Flagship project of the European External Action Service’s East StratCom Task Force
• EEAS special report: Short Assessment of Narratives and Disinformation Around the COVID-19 Pandemic (Update Dec 2020 – April 2021)
• Join Research Center – JRC AI text mining software open-source and available for the fact-checking community
• European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC) – ‘Countering online vaccine misinformation in the EU/EEA’

🌍International Organisations

World Health Organization
Managing the COVID-19 infodemic
Coronavirus disease (COVID-19) advice for the public
WHO Myth Busters
Viber against disinformation on Coronavirus
Resolution of 18 May 2020 – mentioning the need ‘to continue the work in providing science-based information for action, and in countering misinformation and disinformation’


Resource Center of Responses to Covid-19 – Actions to support media, enhance access to information, and leverage digital technologies in the fight against the pandemic.



VERIFIEDUnited Nations initiative – to combat the growing scourge of COVID-19 misinformation by increasing the volume and reach of trusted, accurate information.

📰 Media, fact checkers, academia & private initiatives

EU DisinfoLAB
Platforms’ responses to Covid-19 mis & disinformation.
Narratives on disinformation in Europe

Reuters Institute for Journalism
Report – An ongoing infodemic: How people in eight countries access news and information about Coronavirus a year into the pandemic.
Factsheet ‘Types, sources and claims of COVID-19’ – Sample of 225 pieces of misinformation rated false or misleading by fact-checkers and published in English between January and the end of March 2020, drawn from a collection of fact-checks maintained by First Draft.
Report – Survey data collected in late March and early April 2020 to document and understand how people in selected countries accessed news and information about COVID-19 in the early stages of the global pandemic.
Article – Listening to what trust in news means to users: qualitative evidence from four countries.

First Draft
Searchable Archive of Coronavirus Debunk – collating output from more than 70 organisations sourced from Google’s Fact Check Explorer tool and Poynter’s International Fact-Checking Network (IFCN), including debunks in more than 20 languages which are searchable in English.
Under The Surface – Covid-19 vaccine narratives, misinformation and data deficits on social media.
Vaccine misinformation reports : April 2021, May 2021

CoronaVirusFact/Datos Coronavirus Alliance – Poynter’s International Fact Checking Network: 100 fact-checkers in 45 countries publishing in 15 languages.
Politifact coronavirus ‘Truth-O-Meter’.
FactChat: collaborative project to unite U.S. fact-checking organizations with two major Spanish-language news broadcasters to fight mis/disinformation during the 2020 presidential campaign.

Coronavirus Misinformation Tracking Center
In 4 languages (EN, FR, DE, IT).It lists all the news and information sites in the U.S., the U.K., France, Italy, and Germany that we have identified — 179 up today — as publishing materially false information about the virus.
Report on the top COVID-19 myths—and how they emerged and spread across the internet.

Global Disinformation Index (GDI)
It aims to disrupt, defund and down-rank disinformation sites, collectively working with governments, business and civil society and operating on three core principles of neutrality, independence and transparency. A special section is currently devoted to coronavirus.

Fact check Coronavirus verification HUB.
Languages : English, French, Spanish, Portuguese
Infodemic Covid-19: visual analysis of disinformation in Europe.

Advice on how to practice ‘information hygiene’.

Infodemic Observatory
About 100M public messages have been collected and analysed to understand the digital response in online social media to COVID-19 outbreak.

Report on Covid-19 Infodemic, a preliminary analysis of data on the global online conversation surrounding the coronavirus pandemic.

The Journalism and the Pandemic Project
A large-scale survey mapping the impacts of COVID-19 On journalism worldwide.

Research briefings
by Africa Check, Chequeado and Full Fact: exploring two major issues for fact checkers globally: conspiracy theories and communicating uncertainty.

Forum on information and democracy
250 recommendations on how to stop infodemic

ALLEA discussion paper
Fact or Fake? Tackling Science Disinformation.

Science Up First
A national initiative that works with a collective of independent scientists, researchers, health care experts and science communicators. It shares the best available science in creative ways to stop the spread of misinformation. COVID-19 Vaccine Media HubA global resource for journalists and fact-checkers, providing a hub for the latest scientific information, expert opinion and evidence-based research on COVID-19 vaccines.

💡 Initiatives in the EU Member States & UK

🇪🇸 Spain
Science Flows – project to analysed hoaxes on Covid-19. With the collaboration of Agencia SINC, Maldita Ciencia, Health Without Hoaxes and the Association to protect the patient from pseudoscientific therapies.
Maldito Bulo – a collection of common circulating hoaxes on coronavirus, in Spanish
Salud Sin Bulos.

🇮🇹 Italy
Valigia Blu – an Italian network of journalists renowned for producing quality information based on fact and data, with a special page gathering news on Coronavirus.

🇩🇪 Germany
CORRECTIV – To combat the flood of falsehoods circulating via WhatsApp, Correctiv created an online portal for the public to submit examples of possible misinformation. The team is debunking up to 25 examples of misinformation a day.

🇫🇷 France
Conspiracy Watch – Press service entirely devoted to inform about conspiracy theories. It has a current focus on Covid-19.

🇦🇹 Austria, 🇧🇪 Belgium and 🇩🇪 Germany
Lie Detectors – Tackling the infodemic initiative: distance-learning adapted format to respond to the coronavirus pandemic.

🇬🇧 United Kingdom
FullFact – Coronavirus devoted page.

⚙️ Useful handbooks & tools

George Mason University, Center for Climate Change Communication
How to spot Covid-19 Conspiracy Theories handbook
Debunking handbook 2020

European Journalism Center
‘Verification Handbook for Disinformation and Media Manipulation’

COMPACT Comparative Analysis of Conspiracy Theories
Guide to conspiracy theories

The COVID-19 Vaccine Communication Handbook A practical guide for improving vaccine communication and fighting misinformation

Report by Sense about ScienceTalking about conspiracy theories

The ESMH team has gathered and selected different initiatives tackling the ongoing COVID-19 Infodemic*. Please note that this list is by no means exhaustive. We gladly welcome suggestions of additional valuable and reliable sources.’

* Infodemic WHO definition: an over-abundance of (both accurate and false) information, therefore going beyond disinformation.

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