Infodemic Training Project aims to contribute to civic engagement, transparency, accountability and media literacy by developing a sustainable online training tool to increase project target groups’ capacity of fact-checking in various forms of misinformation and knowledge about the COVID-19. The online tool, available for use in university lectures, NGO training, and the internet/website, will focus on developing an understanding of misinformation and dealing with misinformation, fake news, and other problems.
In the early 2020, World Health Organization (WHO) announced a new threat to the struggle of COVID-19 pandemic. The new threat of the spread of misinformation, which is called “infodemic” by WHO, can be explained as the people’s struggle to find an accurate information and reliable sources during the time of crises due to the information overload. Infodemic creates an obstacle for the people that need and search for a guidance in crises, and it becomes a public health problem. Recently the researches show that, in Turkey, the fake news and misinformation are very common. False beliefs and conspiracy theories are widely spreaded around the people as we witnessed in COVID-19 case.
The climate of fear and anxiety in COVID-19 pandemic could cause the increase of hate speech and discrimination among the people. In social media, people are stuck in echo chambers in which they seek out information that reinforces their existing beliefs and thoughts. Because of the bots and algorithms in social media, people are also tend to easily accept the information that they encounter without questioning.
In today’s world, information is spreading online and learning practises go beyond the classroom, so that people need a real life skills to find and realize the accurate information on the internet. The infodemic training is developed as an online tool to meet the need to increase an awareness of misinformation and to build up fact-checking skills for the participants.
Infodemic training will be the first example of a free and open online tool that collects data, research, and sources about infodemics. Moreover, it will be the first Turkish training tool that focuses on the COVID-19 case that aims to struggle with misinformation and empower the target groups to learn fact-checking skills.