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A fact-checker’s life: Exposing fake news and communalism, surviving social boycott

May 16, 2020 10:07 AM IST

As technology majors and media houses gear up to fight fake news, fact-checkers at the forefront face the social backlash and soul-crushing battle.

Shweta Bhandral

In April 2018, Google News Initiative (GNI) held its first train-the-trainer fact-checking workshop in India with 35 journalists from across the country. Attending that four-day seminar at Google’s Delhi office certified me as a fact-checker and verification trainer.

There was an urgent need for this education. The years 2017-2018 had seen 29 people die of mob lynching in India. Most of these incidents happened because of disinformation and misinformation – or ‘fake news’ – spread through social media and messaging apps.

Fact-checker Shweta Bhandral at a seminar in Ahmedabad.