Repustar, a new fact-checking platform, announced the launch today of a significant initiative to combat election-related misinformation. The main goal of the initiative—dubbed #MakeFactsCount—is to recruit one thousand volunteers to monitor social media threads looking for possible misleading links or stories about voting and elections, and give them the tools to intercept the misinformation.
Volunteers are being recruited through an advertising and promotional campaign that has already launched on social media channels including Facebook and Twitter. They will be encouraged to download the free Repustar app so they can perform their mission most effectively.
“Our goal is to mobilize a skilled group of volunteers to become the front line in the defense against misinformation in the critical four weeks before some of the most consequential and contentious elections in recent U.S. history,” said Chandran Sankaran, Repustar Founder and CEO. “We want our volunteers to keep an eagle eye on their social media feeds every day leading up to November 3 and beyond, as voting results are finalized. Using the tools we provide, their job is to protect their digital neighborhoods and squelch misinformation as soon as it arises.”
Volunteers are encouraged to “patrol” their personal social media feeds looking for suspected misinformation. When volunteers encounter misinformation, they will be trained to send the link of the page to the Repustar app, which will automatically provide the most relevant published fact-checks from Repustar or other reputable fact-checking outlets. Volunteers can then share those findings into the comment stream below the original post. New fact-checks will continually be published into the Repustar platform in response to claims found by the volunteers.
“We’re giving volunteers a concrete way to address the misinformation that’s clogging everyone’s social media channels,” added Repustar editorial director, John Marcom, a former reporter for The Wall Street Journal and Forbes, who later led the international businesses of Time Inc. and Yahoo.
Free weekly Zoom seminars for volunteers conducted by Marc Ambinder, an expert on election security and disinformation, are another feature of the #MakeFactsCount initiative. He will discuss best practices for identifying misinformation, how misinformation travels and what to do when encountering suspected misinformation.
The seminars begin today and will run weekly through the election. Repustar staff will also supplement the seminars with other hands-on training sessions.
Repustar is a platform for the world’s fact-checkers to allow them to be seen and heard by consumers who want to verify the truth of claims they encounter on social media and elsewhere. Repustar relies on a unique social-media-connected publishing platform that simplifies and opens up the process of fact-checking to the growing number of professional fact-checking organizations as well as the many thousands in the general public who are fact-checkers at heart. The company was founded as a Benefit Corporation in 2019 in the context of a growing global misinformation crisis that is forged in social media.