FactCheck: Sign up to The Journal's monthly newsletter about misinformation trends

See how we’re fighting misinformation and disinformation every month.

LAST UPDATE | Sep 28th 2021, 5:00 PM

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BEFORE THE CORONAVIRUS pandemic, Ireland had very low levels of misinformation.

From February 2020, false stories began to do the rounds on WhatsApp and social media – some were even passed by word of mouth. 

During those initial months of lockdowns, the false claims had brief moments in the sun before dying off, ready to be replaced by the next and latest false claim. At that point, we weren’t sure if misinformation would take hold permanently or fade away once Covid was under control. 

We’ve learned a lot in the intervening periods, on top of what we knew since we established our factchecking unit in 2016. 

At the moment, we’re seeing a resurgence and a repackaging of misinformation that was circulating last year, as well as the already large amounts of ‘fresh’ false posts that are being published every day on the social media platforms. 

This makes it seem even more likely that misinformation is not just going to disappear in Ireland when Covid runs its course. It has taken root at this stage. It has nestled in to our social media platforms, grown huge audiences on Facebook, in particular, and has spread out in the real world too, as we’ve seen at protests in recent months (as well as one outside our own office). It’s so embedded that we’re seeing cover versions of the early hits.  

That’s part of the reason we’ve started a newsletter. We want to have a place where we can document what’s happening with misinformation in Ireland; to zoom out and look at the bigger picture, to point to trends in factchecking, and to ask questions about what is going on here. 

Our first edition looked at the trends our FactCheck unit saw in August and how Ireland compares with other countries in the EU. 

Hopefully you’ll come away each month feeling a bit smarter but also thinking about what exactly can be done to fix this mess. So sign up here to receive the email at the end of each month: 

Author team