Chequeado is an Argentine non-profit digital media outlet that is dedicated to the verification of public discourse, the fight against disinformation, the promotion of access to information and the opening of data in Latin American societies. It is the main project of La Voz Pública Foundation and the first Latin American media outlet to fact check public debate and disinformation. They scrutinize and verify political statements to mitigate manipulation and corruption, produce explainers to put various issues on the public agenda in context, and carry out journalistic investigations on important but little-discussed issues. To retain independence, Chequeado relies on four sources of income: payment for content and other activities, corporate donations, individual donors, and international grants. Monetizing their social capital, they receive income when Chequeado content is used in other publications, and charge fees for workshops and events on verification techniques. They hold a yearly fundraising event, La Noche de Chequeado, sponsored by private companies, journalists, academics, etc. Chequeado also has a regular volunteer program and invites the public to verify facts and provide evidence on their open platform Chequeo Colectivo.

COVID-19 Response

Chequeado developed a fact-checker dashboard, Chequeado Coronavirus, to dispel rumors on the transmission, origins, and treatments of COVID-19 in order to combat misinformation that leads to ethnic discrimination and sows distrust in evidence-based medicine. Chequeado coordinates the efforts of LatamChequea Coronavirus, an initiative that gathers 35 organizations from 18 countries in the region to counter disinformation. Following this work, in partnership with UNESCO Chequeado developed PortalCheck.org, an online platform to fight disinformation on COVID-19 in Latin America. It also created a national network, RedDES, with more than 30 media outlets to spread verified information on COVID-19 around Argentina.

Theory of Change

Fact-checking public figures and popular news creates better informed discourse, critical to democratic accountability in Latin America.

Activities

Chequeado’s Newsroom Media Team uses fact checking and data journalism to make news sourcing and data collection more open and transparent to the public. They present the results of their fact-checking on their website and on mainstream radio and TV media outlets, and have developed a daily podcast. Chequeado maintains a Whatsapp number and interactive website platforms that users can contact to ask for news verification. Their Innovation Team also developed Chequeabot, an online tool that identifies statements needing fact-checking from articles and videos and allows users to flag statements for checking. In addition, their Education program produces material to teach others, especially young people, about data literacy and fact-checking of online information.

Results

Chequeado’s methodology has been adopted by the majority of fact-checkers in Latin America. It has a strong presence on social media, with more than 300,000 followers on Twitter, 94,000 on Facebook and 52,000 on Instagram. Through their four streams of fundraising, their 2020 income was $1 million. To increase data literacy for youth, Chequeado developed fact-checking lessons for Model United Nations programs, which reached 10,000 students between 2016 and 2018, as well as a MOOC for teachers. Chequeado is also part of the International Fact-Checking Network Steering Committee, working on how to make fact-checking tools more accessible to all demographics.