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A Turkish fact-checking organisation is taking its work offline to reach those who do not spend hours a day on their smartphones.

Teyit realised that because of algorithms on search engines and social media platforms, some groups do not see its regular fact-checks of viral hoaxes.

To overcome this, the organisation has been creating and displaying short videos on public transport in Istanbul, Turkey’s largest city. This made its fact-checks accessible to people from a range of different backgrounds, particularly the older generation.

"Filter bubbles cause barriers between us and communities," says founder of Teyit Mehmet Atakan Foça.

"Taking fact-checking work to offline areas where the internet connection and distraction are limited may help us reach a more diverse audience. We would like to be sure that people are being exposed to the truth wherever they go."

Since November 2019, videos debunking false claims have been shown every hour three days a week on the city’s metro system, as well as ferries and bus services.

Now, after receiving a $30,024 grant from the Fact-Checking Innovation Initiative, the team of 15 will be looking into how effective this strategy has been and expand the project into other major cities in the country, including the nation’s capital Ankara.

This will also include producing more videos for every day of the week in Istanbul and seeking a sponsor to assist with expansion.

Foça said that Teyit hopes to reach an audience of 10 million people and will be designing surveys to help assess the impact of the project.

He added that the ongoing coronavirus pandemic emphasised the need to counter misinformation and ensure the public is well informed.

This latest move follows the launch of a set of WhatsApp stickers to help empower audiences to challenge misinformation they see on the platform.

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