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TheJournal.ie has joined a worldwide project of factcheckers debunking claims about Covid-19

We’ll now have access to hundreds of factchecks by other international newsrooms.
Mar 20th 2020, 3:43 PM 16,502 47

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THEJOURNAL.IE CAN ANNOUNCE that it has joined a worldwide network of factcheckers who are aiming to counter misinformation about Covid-19.

This project, called the #CoronaVirusFacts Alliance, comprises more than 100 factcheckers around the world and it is the largest collaborative factchecking project ever.

Ireland is one of a number of countries that has seen a huge amount of misinformation about the coronavirus, and TheJournal.ie’s FactCheck project has been debunking claims since the end of February. 

Now we’ll be able to pool resources with other factchecking organisations, track false claims as they spread across other countries, access factchecks from newsrooms across the world, and have our factchecks published in other countries too. 

That’ll mean suspect claims about the effects of anti-inflammatory drugs, the need to stockpile food and drinking water every 15 minutes will all be less likely to gain traction both here and abroad. 

The network has already debunked over 1,200 claims, and you can check out our coronavirus factchecking partners on this Twitter list, or by searching the hashtag #CoronaVirusFacts. 

But importantly, we still need our readers to alert us to any suspect claims they see about Covid-19 online.

If you’ve gotten a message on WhatsApp or Facebook or Twitter about coronavirus that you’re not sure about and want us to check it out, message or mail us and we’ll look into debunking it.

You can WhatsApp us on 085 221 4696, or send an email to answers@thejournal.ie.

FactCheck is the only Irish fact-checking resource independently audited and verified by the International Fact-Checking Network, which is co-ordinating this factchecking alliance. You can read the network’s code of principles here.

For information on how FactCheck works, what the verdicts mean, and how you can take part, check out our Reader’s Guide here. You can also read about the team of editors and reporters who work on the factchecks here.

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There is a lot of false news and scaremongering  being spread in Ireland at the moment about coronavirus. Here are some practical ways for you to assess whether the messages that you’re seeing – especially on WhatsApp – are true or not. 

STOP, THINK AND CHECK 

Look at where it’s coming from. Is it someone you know? Do they have a source for the information (e.g. the HSE website) or are they just saying that the information comes from someone they know? A lot of the false news being spread right now is from people claiming that messages are from ‘a friend’ of theirs. Have a look yourself – do a quick Google search and see if the information is being reported elsewhere. 

Secondly, get the whole story, not just a headline. A lot of these messages have got vague information (“all the doctors at this hospital are panicking”) and don’t mention specific details. This is often – but not always a sign – that it may not be accurate. 

Finally, see how you feel after reading it. A lot of these false messages are designed to make people feel panicked. They’re deliberately manipulating your feelings to make you more likely to share it. If you feel panicked after reading something, check it out and see if it really is true.

TheJournal.ie's coronavirus newsletter cuts through the misinformation and noise with the clear facts you need to make informed choices. Sign up here


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Stephen McDermott

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