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Mehmet Atakan Foça
Source: Ashoka

Misinformation Spreads Faster Than Coronavirus: How A Social Organization In Turkey Is Fighting Fake News

This article originally appeared on Forbes

Journalist Mehmet Atakan Foça started Teyit (“confirmation” in Turkish) in 2016 to address misinformation propagated by media organizations and social media users. We spoke with him this week to learn more about what his fact-checkers are working on during the Covid-19 crisis.

Mehmet Atakan Foca

Ashoka Fellow since Jun 2017

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Ashoka insight

The pandemic has made the problem of misinformation visible to everyone. It’s suddenly a problem people care about because they see how it directly affects their health, safety, and livelihoods. The conventional model of entrepreneurship hasn’t helped us at this moment. We need new systems, new approaches and mindsets, new leaders.

Collaboration is essential. We are part of the International Fact-Checking Network and the Coronavirus Facts Alliance. We are in daily contact to understand what’s trending, and where. When a false claim emerges somewhere in the world, it can easily travel to all countries, across language groups. The priority for all of us is to contain potentially viral claims. If we arrive too late, they can spread and cause harm. So we try to figure out and predict the peak point for misinformation—it can look and behave like a virus and it can be as dangerous.

Our main strategy is to invite users and organizations to join us. We want many changemakers working on this problem with us in the future.