The 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 early 2020, World Health Organization (WHO) announced a new threat to the struggle of the COVID-19 pandemic. The latest threat of the spread of misinformation, which is called “infodemic” by WHO, can be explained as the people’s struggle to find accurate information and reliable sources during crises due to the information overload. Infodemic creates an obstacle for the people who need and search for guidance in crises, becoming a public health problem. Recently the researches show that, in Turkey, fake news and misinformation are widespread. False beliefs and conspiracy theories are widely spread around the people, as we witnessed in the COVID-19 case.
The climate of fear and anxiety in the COVID-19 pandemic could cause an increase in hate speech and discrimination among the people. In social media, people are stuck in echo chambers. They seek out information that reinforces their existing beliefs and thoughts. Because of the bots and algorithms in social media, people tend to accept the information they encounter without questioning quickly. In today’s world, information is spreading online, and learning practises go beyond the classroom. People need fundamental life skills to find and realize accurate information on the internet. The infodemic training is developed as an online tool to meet the need to increase 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.