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138 million Brazilian voters are set to go to polls and choose a president starting Oct. 7 and running through Oct. 28.
Pre-election campaigns in various countries are not only an offline competition but also an online struggle. In recent years, the impact of the Internet and social networks on the final result of voting has significantly increased. Information flows through social networks entailed the emergence of a huge number of fakes and rumors. Over time, fakes have become an indispensable attribute of virtually any election and are often an effective tool for influencing electorate preferences.
Comprava project brings together journalists from 24 different Brazilian media companies to identify and explain rumors, fabricated content, manipulation tactics that might influence the 2018 presidential election campaign in Brazil. Platforms including Facebook, Twitter, Google, and NewsWhip are teaming up with First Draft, a project based out of Harvard University’s Kennedy School’s Shorenstein Center, and industry associations and news organizations across Brazil on Comprova.
Head of the Brazilian Google News Lab Marco Tulio Pires wrote in his blog: “The initiative will be a joint collaboration with First Draft, a project at the Shorenstein Center at Harvard's Kennedy School, Abraji (Brazilian Association of Investigative Journalism), Projor (Institute for the Development of Journalism), Associação Nacional de Jornais (National Newspaper Association), and 24 newsrooms and organizations. The work is crucial to the efforts of our recently launched Google News Initiative, which works alongside news organizations around the world to elevate quality information and combat misinformation.”
Comprova will monitor and accurately report on misinformation being shared across social networks, websites, and private messaging apps. It will be operated directly by a broad coalition of media companies that includes AFP, Band News, Band TV, Canal Futura, Correio do Povo, Exame, Folha de S.Paulo, GaúchaZH, Gazeta Online, Gazeta do Povo, Jornal do Commercio, Metro Brasil, Nexo Jornal, Nova Escola, NSC Comunicação, O Estado de S.Paulo, O Povo, Poder360, Rádio Band News FM, Rádio Bandeirantes, Revista Piauí, SBT, UOL and Veja.
Comprova’s aim is to identify and undermine the sophisticated manipulation and amplification techniques we are now seeing around the world. These tactics require journalists to develop new, complex skills, and all participants in the coalition will benefit from continuous training and the opportunity to share knowledge, tips, and expertise with each other across newsrooms.
The fight against fake information has taken a firm place among the problems discussed on a world scale.
In March of this year, a working group of the European Commission, set up to combat fake news, proposed the creation of a Code of Principles for online platforms and social networks.
Among the 10 key principles outlined in the report of the working group, online platforms should, for example, provide transparency, explaining the algorithm for selecting news.
Meanwhile, Germany decided to oblige social media to monitor their content. France is preparing a new law to counter fakes in elections, the UK is creating a new unit to fight fakes, and in Italy, an online service was launched to combat fake news.
In Ukraine, in January, after a scandal involving the publication by the Georgian television channel Rustavi-2 of a letter allegedly written by Petro Poroshenko in 2007 in the name of the FSB director, there were statements about the need to change legislation for the sake of "fighting anti-Ukrainian fakes". So far, the idea has not advanced further.