2019 General Excellence in Online Journalism, Micro Newsroom finalist

Aos Fatos

About the Project

Aos Fatos is Brazil’s benchmark fact-checking organization. Launched in July 2015 by a journalist and a developer with scarce funding and the ambitious mission of shedding light on what is true and what is false in politics, Aos Fatos has grown to be one of the most innovative websites in Latin America. Since 2015, our team covered two elections, a presidential impeachment, a World Cup and the Olympics with verification and data driven approach.

However, what makes Aos Fatos stand out from other media outlets in Brazil and abroad is its technology-savvy team that adds up automation solutions to a creative approach. It results in groundbreaking, innovative ways to tackle misinformation, such as conversational bots, monitoring bots, cartoons and a well developed use of social media.

During the last year, Aos Fatos launched four strategical projects:

1. “@fatimabot“. @fatimabot is Aos Fatos’s robot on Twitter and it is an arm of a broader project called Fátima. Fátima is a play on ”FactMa”, an abbreviation for Fact Machine, which it is the head and the voice of Aos Fatos’s artificial intelligence initiative. On Twitter, it is a web application that monitors tweets with links to false or distorted news and information and responds with a didactic and empathic message, pointing to a link and a brief description of its fact-check. It is an innovative ”guerrilla check” strategy: Aos Fatos intends to hack strategies of proliferation of misinformation by appropriating its technological tools.

2. “Fátima chatbot on Messenger”. Fátima works under the premise that a Facebook user has to be capable to fact-check information autonomously, without intermediaries. This way, Fátima’s main purpose is to raise awareness on how to consume information in a smart, skeptical way. The Messenger chatbot assists its users, through continuous interaction, by giving them specific tips on how to debunk fake photos, videos, hoaxes, rumours, news, statements.

3. “All of president Bolsonaro’s statements, fact-checked”. The concept is simple: it is a database of all the statements made by President Jair Bolsonaro since his inauguration on January 1, 2019. The fact-checks are done daily by Aos Fatos’ editorial team. Our journalists map Bolsonaro’s channels on social networks, his interviews and his speeches in order to publish regular reports on the veracity of the president’s statements. The project allows our readers to make a diagnosis of all the president’s statements: all of them are organized by theme, media, date and number of times they were repeated. This way, it is possible to know which are the false or distorted statements that are most emphasized by Bolsonaro, as well as to understand which are the subjects that guide the Brazilian president’s public facet.

4. “Tweets from Bolso”. Aos Fatos, in partnership with ICFJ (International Center For Journalists) TruthBuzz program, has developed a tool that allows anyone to make easier and faster searches in the Twitter account of Brazil’s president Jair Bolsonaro, while also keeping an archive of all his tweets and retweets, even if they are erased from the official account.