FactWatch is a signature project of the Center for Critical and Qualitative Studies (CQS) for promoting Media Information Literacy (MIL) and raising awareness about misinformation, disinformation, fake news, and rumors in Bangladesh. FactWatch is managed by the CQS under the editorial guidance of Dr. Sumon Rahman.
FactWatch was established in 2017 with initial funding from the American Center that covered the costs for the first year. The project garnered global recognition in 2020 as it entered into a significant partnership with the International Fact-Checking Network (IFCN), becoming the first fact-checking organization in Bangladesh to do so. In the following year of 2021, FactWatch became the first organization in Bangladesh to enter into a partnership with Facebook as a Third-Party Fact-Checker.
FactWatch is committed to teaching individuals to develop critical thinking skills to enable them to better identify and judge the reliability and credibility of information they encounter through various mass media and social media platforms and to become better informed about the world in which they live. In the long run, the project aims to help people make well-informed decisions about their lives and society.
FactWatch is dedicated to training a generation of skilled fact-checkers who will not only be leaders in debunking fake news, misinformation, and disinformation in the news media industry in Bangladesh but also strive toward promoting media literacy, news literacy, and data literacy in the country.
Year in Review: 2021
Most Commonly Found False and Misleading Claims:
- Misrepresenting Old Content (Photo/video/text) by Sharing and Offering It in a Different Event
- Character Assassination/honor Killing
- Antivaccine Campaign
- Copy-paste Journalism Without Verifying Sources
- Anti-government Propaganda
- Altered Content for Creating Different Meaning (Was Found in Most Political Events)
- Religious Fanaticism & Supremacy
Looking through about 365 false and misleading claims, FactWatch found that media celebrities were the most frequently targeted individuals, and the most frequently circulated rumors and fake news were about ‘Coronavirus’ in 2021. The highest number of rumors and fake news (49) was debunked in July and the lowest was in May (7). Despite a slowdown from last year, 'Coronavirus' remained the most dominant topic of the year, followed by topics such as the communal attack in Comilla, honor killings, Omicron, buying land on the moon, and Afghanistan. Visuals, images, and videos were the most preferred medium for sharing false/misleading claims last year. Political claims, the most dominant category of false claims in the previous year, were predominantly shared with images, while communal claims were most frequently shared with videos.