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From the Capitol to COVID – The fight for verification continues

The scenes in the U.S. Capitol on January 6 brought an even greater urgency to discussion around the threat posed by online disinformation – and its potential for real world harm. 

Protesters broke through barricades after a stretch of tense weeks that saw the proliferation of unsupported claims of voter fraud and the rise of conspiracy theories. 

Dozens of these false claims were examined by Reuters Fact Check.

Our program identifies and tracks false information on social media, before publishing evidence-backed articles to debunk misleading narratives. We work in English and Spanish, and supply over 130 fact checks every month.

The startling events that unfolded in Washington, D.C., stirred up a frenzy of activity on social networks. Alongside authentic imagery from eyewitnesses, which was diligently verified by Reuters user-generated content (UGC) team, swirled baseless rumours and faked videos. Posts containing false information about some of the individuals involved were among the first we corrected.

All of this played out, of course, against the backdrop of a pandemic that continues to deliver its own information crisis.

COVID-19 misinformation is a focal point for Reuters Fact Check; we have published almost 500 articles unpicking myths surrounding the virus. We consult scientists, medics, healthcare providers and other experts, including our own specialist journalists, in order to form rigorously researched checks.

Our priority now is targeting COVID-19 vaccine misinformation, at a critical moment of roll-out in many regions. 

We believe our verification work is of interest to a broad range of sectors. Social networks, news publishers, authorities and businesses are increasingly aware of the need to monitor online conversations and respond with fact-based messaging where necessary.

Learn how Reuters is taking the lead in news identification, verification and  media literacy  to enable  the  real stories to be heard.