Bye for now! Today Verificado 2018 comes to a close

Hasta luego. Hoy cierra Verificado 2018 — Translation by Ari Hoffman

Central to Verificado 2018— which ends today and was created specifically for this election cycle — was a group of journalists who worked every day with the sole interest of serving readers. For four months, we worked to meet the objectives we laid out for the 2018 campaign: to combat fake news, to check the discourse of candidates and to generate content that would explain the different steps of the electoral process.

Starting this Monday, July 9, we will not be generating any new content and we will be closing our social media accounts. The website, however, will remain open with already-published content, in the hope it is helpful for readers.

Over these four months we published more than 400 posts and 50 videos, which were shared not only on Verificado.mx, but also by more than 80 other partners, including media, civil society organizations and universities around the entire country.

On Verificado.mx alone we tallied more than 5 million visits, to which must be added the viewers, radio listeners and readers from our partner sources. Several of our videos registered more than a million views, including those dedicated to educational content such as tutorials on image verification and videos explaining how digital misinformation campaigns work.

These numbers allow us to say that the initiative had great results. Of course, we were not free of errors or oversights and the final judgement, like in any journalism project, comes down to the readers. You decide if Verificado 2018 was a useful project.

The journalists who collaborated on Verificado 2018 held the conviction that it was worth the effort to combat fake news, as fake news seek to influence voters so they cannot make their own decisions freely, which is only possible if we are well-informed. We are also convinced that we should check candidates’ statements and promises, because we believe that lying should carry greater consequences and we should fight the idea that a politician can lie with impunity.

The journalism project operated four months, but planning began around a year ago, with the work of Pop-Up Newsroom, AJ+ Español and Animal Político.

Soon it gained the backing of Facebook, Google News Initiative and Twitter, as well as Open Society Foundation, Oxfam México and Mexicans against Corruption and Impunity (Mexicanos contra la Corrupción y la Impunidad).

Before the launch of Verificado.mx, twenty journalists, producers and designers joined the team, responsible for a great portion of the content produced each day.

And at different stages we collaborated with 50 academics and investigators.

Since the start, 60 partners agreed to participate to do their own fact-checking and, most importantly, to share materials each day starting on March 11.

In just a few weeks this group grew to more than 80 partners from the whole country, helping to make Verificado 2018 a quickly recognized brand, as its Twitter and Facebook accounts show, which reached more than 200,000 followers each, as well as our WhatsApp line, which reached more than 10,000 subscribers.

Of course, the battle against fake news and the lies of the political class does not end with this electoral campaign. Surely each media source will continue with their own fact-checking projects.

But fact-checking cannot limit itself to newly emerging journalism projects. We all must fact-check, starting with journalists, we who sometimes seem to forget that this work should be important as anything else to journalism.

Nor are readers exempt from this responsibility, but their job is also to demand more from journalism.

For now, Verificado 2018 ends and all that remains is to thank the readers.