#FakeHunter app to fight COVID-19 disinformation released

Wary of the detrimental impact of disinformation abounding in the time of coronavirus crisis, the Polish Press Agency (PAP) and GovTech Polska, the Polish government's technology agency, are launching the #FakeHunter mobile app to fight fake information about the coronavirus epidemic.

In early March, the World Health Organization (WHO) said that the COVID-19 crisis had been accompanied by a huge "infodemic," or global deluge of information. Some news items are true, others are not. Together they form an explosive mixture that causes confusion and panic among the public.

The lives and health of millions of people and the condition of millions of businesses depend on reliable information, both in Poland and globally, PAP and GovTech say in a news release.

PAP and GovTech's #FakeHunter programme aims to verify content published on the internet and reveal untrue news items related to the coronavirus. To this end, the two institutions are launching a special mobile app through which every internet user will be able to report a piece of news for verification and then receive a reliable answer, verified by opinion leaders and PAP experts.

All verified reports will be included in a special news service linked with the #FakeHunter app.

"Over 300 volunteers joined the fight against disinformation following our special recruitment process. Some of them have already been trained in fact-checking and operating the system. Together with a team of PAP experts, they will verify doubtful information on the coronavirus, submitted by internet users. The project is open-ended, one could say that it is only the first stage of the whole system's development," said PAP head Wojciech Surmacz.

"#FakeHunter is a bold step in the combat against disinformation. The project aims to fight the common enemy in the face of the infodemic. We encourage all internet users and journalists to take part in the initiative and use our tool to jointly address this challenge," said Justyna Orłowska, the PM's high representative for government technology.

You can download the #FakeHunter app at https://fakehunter.pap.pl/.

The programme partners include Demagog, DO OK, Objectivity and Amazon Web Services.

The Polish Press Agency is the biggest news agency in Poland, with 250 journalists and news photographers reporting on domestic and foreign events 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

GovTech Polska is a task force operating within the Polish PM’s Office. It seeks to engage the community in introducing innovation to the public sector. GovTech works with technology companies and citizens to jointly modernise public administration and find ways of using technology to accomplish tasks undertaken by the government.

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