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2018 Excellence in Collaboration and Partnerships winner

Verificado 2018

About the Project

Verificado 2018 is a collaborative election reporting initiative to debunk viral and potentially harmful misinformation around the 2018 elections in Mexico. Verificado is the largest ever collaborative initiative of its kind in Latin America, with over 90 partners from media, academia and civil society working together to debunk viral misinformation, fact check politicians’ claims and verify reports on the electoral process.

In Mexico’s biggest ever election – over 10,000 candidates are running for federal and local office – only a collaboration of this size and scope could address the real risk that voters could be swayed by disinformation shared on social networks such as Facebook, Twitter and WhatsApp. Verificado’s mission is simple: to debunk disinformation and provide accurate and credible information to voters to help them participate meaningfully in Mexico’s democratic processes.

Verificado was launched in March 2018 by AJ + Español, Animal Político and Pop-Up Newsroom, with support from Facebook Journalism Project and Google News Initiative. In the first 11 weeks of the project, Verificado has amassed over 330,000 followers on Facebook and Twitter, and content produced by the project has been viewed millions of times by audiences across Mexico.

Our coalition is unique, comprising partners from 28 of Mexico’s 32 states. Each founding partner brings something specific that makes Verificado a ground-breaking initiative. AJ+ Español leads the first multimedia desk, educational content and WhatsApp line; Animal Político supervises the newsroom and leads the presidential debates’ fact-checks; and Pop-Up Newsroom designs and adjusts roles, responsibilities and collaborative workflows, using human-centered design methods.

The Verificado launch workshop, facilitated by Pop-Up Newsroom, was attended by over 100 journalists from across Mexico, who worked with senior editor and the project management team to co-design the collaborative verification process and content production workflow.

We build on previous collaborative reporting initiatives such as Electionland and CrossCheck, developing new strategies and approaches for the Mexican context:

  • We are the first initiative of this kind with a dedicated, high quality multimedia production desk, led by AJ+ Español. We create compelling content tailored for each platform, exploring fresh, creative formats to present our debunks and encourage the audience to share them.
  • We are also the first initiative to incorporate an education vertical. We produce visuals and articles that tackle digital, electoral and verification issues, to further help our community to navigate the complex electoral news ecosystem. Educational videos have been viewed over a million times at the time of writing.
  • For the presidential debates, we setup a special fact-check team of around 50 journalists and experts, promoting collaboration between civil society and the media. Our fact-checks have high impact on our audience and presidential candidates, leading the online post-debate discussion.
  • We have a WhatsApp account, through which we are taking advantage of all the platform’s features to engage our audience, build a community, and find viral claims and media being shared on closed networks.
  • We also have a hashtag #QuieroQueVerifiquen (#IWantYouToVerify), where we receive requests for verification of claims and media.