Fighting fake news and misinformation during protests and the spread of pandemic Covid-19

Jul 25, 2020




- Ms. Zeina Al-Majri, Director of "Falso" Platform from Tunisia.

- Mr. Ahmed Primo, Executive Director of "Taakkad" Platform from Syria.

- Mr. Amr Abu Samra, Head of Investigations Department in "Da Begad?" Platform from Egypt.

- Mr. of Bahar Jassim, Spokesman of "Tech 4 Peace" from Iraq.


They were interviewed by: Mr. Waleed Ali, Director of Protection Organization for Digital Rights from Iraq


The First Session was from 2: 00 pm - 3: 30 pm.


The session began with the words of Zeina Al-Majri, from "Falso" Platform, about fake news and misleading information and how citizens are misled, mentioning a real incident of rumors that was believed by police, citizens and state officials spread during the Covid-19 epidemic and the period of the lockdown in Tunisia, as she talked about fake pages which Tunisians consider reliable sources, while they broadcast fake news in the critical times and crisis when they cannot be quickly or easily confirmed.


From his part, Amr Abu Samra, from "Da Begad?" Platform, focused on techniques and platforms used to combat fake news and use them properly, and mentioned that the role of citizens is never to publish news about which they are uncertain and to verify them by checking the date of publication, details and photos of the news. An example, news about Covid - 19 should have scientific sources so it's preferable to depend on people specialized in medical field.


While the speaker Ahmed Primo, from "Taakkad" Platform, talked about the misleading content, as the Syrian regime used a misleading picture of the protesters when the system was imposed that the protesters were armed groups and affiliated to Al-Qaeda and the terrorist organization (ISIS). He also talked about some governments, including the Indian government, when Muslims in India were accused that they spread Covid -19 virus and was distributed to the public, thus the Muslims were exposed to violence because of this kind of fake news.


On his side, Bahar Jassim, one of the members of "Tech 4 Peace" page (competent to detect fake and bogus news) talked about fake rumors and news that have spread during the Covid-19 epidemic and October protests in Iraq, saying that during this period, more than 2000 news were sent to "Tech 4 Peace" by citizens to verify them. He added that Google has stopped many applications and does not accept posting any news except from reliable sources.


Many questions were asked by the participants and the most important one was, are fake news limited to the awareness of society or the lack of government action taken against those news?


Ahmed Primo answered, saying that awareness is different from one area to another and not every page on Facebook is a platform for posting correct content information, mentioning that user awareness lies in verifying the information.


Another question was asked on how to verify fake news in official sites? And how to avoid fake news?


Bahar Jassim answered the question, saying: There are applications that work on revealing fake news including "Tech 4 Pace" application.