Bolivian journalists develop chatbot to counter misinformation

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JOURNALISTS and developers at ChequeaBolivia have developed Checki, a chatbot that uses multimedia content and games to fight misinformation among young people.

The project was led by Lucas Illanes, a fact-checker with the organization and supported by the International Center for Journalists (ICFJ).

According to ICFJ, Illanes, based in Bolivia, launched this project with a grant from the centre’s Disarming Disinformation initiative, a three-year global effort supported by the Scripps Howard Fund.

The centre said he was one of the 18 people from around the world who received training and funding through the programme to test innovative ways of distributing the truth to counter the spread of misinformation.

Others who work on the project are Paola Céspedes who served as developer, Enid López as editor, Yirleyn Montaño as media literacy specialist, Sara Villanueva as outreach coordinator, and Juan Carlos Uribe as project coordinator.

“Illanes and his team spent over a month developing their initial framework. This included building a database, establishing a visual identity for the chatbot, and performing language testing before they launched their prototype in July,” the report reads.

“Their team overcame significant obstacles in the production and development of the chatbot, including several rejected API requests and having to learn an entirely new coding language.”

The process led to the creation of an interactive chatbot centered on games meant to train the user on fact-checking and verification through several levels of increasing complexity. 

The levels include games on how to identify misinformation, avoid scams on WhatsApp, verify images, conduct searches for accurate information, and quizzes on verification strategies.

Nurudeen Akewushola is a fact-checker with FactCheckHub. He has authored several fact checks which have contributed to the fight against information disorder. You can reach him via [email protected] and @NurudeenAkewus1 via Twitter.

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