Project Verified vs disinformation


Project Verified

When social media became the source of information for most of its users, it did not exempt the platform from false and misleading information. Most of the youth today, especially those who are not equipped with critical thinking skills, are susceptible to fake news and conspiracy theories proliferated on social media. They easily share it without checking its source.

Some groups have launched various projects to help educate the public on the ill effects of fake news. French B. Bandong and his fellow alumni from Kaya Natin-Academy for Young Leaders have conceptualized “Project Verified” to help combat disinformation and misinformation on social media.

“It all boils down to knowing where it all comes from and where it may lead things to. From there, we can understand that disinformation, as a whole, requires a personal intervention to stop it. Disinformation feeds on amplification through sharing it. When we know how disinformation works, we know how to cut it,” French said, the Project Executive Head of Project Verified.

Project Verified is one of the community projects of Kaya Natin-Academy for Young Leaders Alumni that aims to address disinformation while integrating the established values of the local community. The project selects 15 student leaders and campus journalists from Sarangani Province and General Santos City through an online application process, which would be screened by the selection committee. Selected participants would undergo a month-long virtual training that aims to equip them with the mindset, skills, techniques, and tools necessary to improve their information environment. The project runs from October to November 2020. Project Verified was launched online on October 3, 2020. The application and selection process of participants will begin from October 7 to October 17.

Kaya Natin Academy for Young Leaders aims to build a new generation of Filipino leaders committed to the pursuit of good governance and civic engagement. The program focuses on empowering and equipping young Filipinos with knowledge and skills that will enable them to understand and forward values of freedom, human rights, and social justice in their respective contexts. It is one of the projects of Kaya Natin – a non-profit and non-government organization that promotes good governance and ethical leadership in the Philippines.

The team is originally composed of five youth leaders from different parts of the country, namely French B. Bandong (Project Executive Head), Nevein Erika Delos Santos (Program Committee Head), Zyra Shenn Joaquin (Finance/Budget Committee Head), Paola Esteves (Management Committee Head) and Gabriel Tabi (Planning Committee Head). Project Verified also has passionate volunteers that help manage their social media platform.

“The team believes that we all face the same issue in our communities and that is disinformation. In this time of pandemic, there are many conspiracy theories related to Covid-19 that have spread faster than factual and science-based information,” French said.

“Credible and verified information is vital in shaping our thoughts and opinions. False information disrupts our logical thinking and it may affect the foundation of our society. It can create division among groups. That is why we integrate community values that promote open communication, with high regard on respect, understanding and tolerance. We want to help improve the information environment of a community,” he added.

The team believes that the fight for a better world includes a society that continuously demands for truth and the right for information. They emphasized that it would always start on us.

“The fight against disinformation is everyone’s fight. Everyone has its own role, regardless of how big or small it is. We all make a difference.”

[Originally published by SunStar Davao]