ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. (February 23, 2022) – French citizens can learn how to protect themselves from false and misleading information on the internet thanks to a new app-based program from MediaWise, the non-profit Poynter Institute’s digital media literacy social initiative.
With support from Meta, MediaWise has launched a 10-day WhatsApp course to help slow the spread of online misinformation in France. Fact-checking training teaches people of all ages how to responsibly interact with the content they see and share on the internet and social media platforms. France is the fourth country to join MediaWise’s international expansion which aims to tackle global information disorder alongside Spain, Turkey and Brazil.
“Empowering people to help them think critically about the media and information they see is key to ensuring more informed decisions,” said Anton Battesti, head of public policy France at Meta. “As the French presidential and legislative elections approach, we are delighted to join forces with Poynter and our fact-checking partner France 24 to roll out the MediaWise program in France which gives every WhatsApp user access to and high-quality advice for spotting misinformation and becoming active consumers of information.
For 10 days, participants receive text messages with simple yet practical fact-checking techniques designed to improve their digital literacy. Each day focuses on a topic such as identifying the dangers of misinformation, recognizing the warning signs of conspiracies and scams, understanding algorithms, and talking to friends and family who share misinformation . The Daily Instructions reference concrete examples of disinformation dominating the news cycle.
“Citizens, communities and countries thrive when everyone does their part to uplift the truth,” said MediaWise program manager Alex Mahadevan. “It means having the skills to find factual information and reliable sources at crucial times when misinformation can do the most harm. We are delighted to offer this free course to the people of France, especially as they prepare to vote in the April elections.
MediaWise has partnered with France Media Monde’s international news channel France 24 to localize educational content for French audiences. France 24 actively participates in the fight against disinformation with broadcasts in 444 million homes worldwide, including its program “Info or Intox”, daily fact-checking segments on the air, a weekly video module with advice to detect fake news, and an annual edition aimed at high school students in France and overseas. With a combined reach of 55 million subscribers, the network’s digital platforms attract 28.7 million visitors and 158 million video views each month.
Alexandre Capron and Pauline Paccard of France 24 support the initiative as new MediaWise ambassadors who advocate for digital media education for all. The two journalists join a large community of internationally renowned media professionals, including Lester Holt, Joan Lunden, Christiane Amanpour, José Díaz-Balart and Julio Vaqueiro. Capron and Paccard offer professional fact-checking tips throughout the French course to help participants find reliable sources, debunk false claims, and share credible information.
“At France 24, we track fake news daily, much of it sent in by our viewers in France and the French-speaking world,” Capron said. “The MediaWise course is designed to give viewers basic tools and reflexes to help them spot misinformation on their own and not pass it on to friends and family.”
The course is free for French citizens for one year. For more information, visit poynter.org/mediawise-international.
The Poynter Institute
About the Poynter Institute
The Poynter Institute for Media Studies is a world leader in journalism education and a center for strategy representing uncompromising excellence in 21st century journalism, media and public discourse. Poynter professors teach seminars and workshops at the Institute in St. Petersburg, Florida, and at newsrooms, conferences, and organizations around the world. Its online learning division, News University, offers the world’s largest online journalism program, with hundreds of interactive courses and tens of thousands of registered international users. The Institute’s website produces round-the-clock coverage of media, ethics, technology and current affairs. Poynter is home to the Craig Newmark Center for Ethics and Leadership, the Pulitzer Prize-winning PolitiFact, the international fact-checking network, and MediaWise, a digital information literacy project for youth, new voters, and seniors. The world’s best journalists and media innovators rely on Poynter to learn and teach new generations of journalists, storytellers, media inventors, designers, visual journalists, documentarians and broadcasters. This work educates the public about journalism, media, the First Amendment, and speech that serves democracy and the public good. Learn more at poynter.org.
MediaWise is a social media-focused digital media education initiative of the non-profit Poynter Institute. The program teaches people of all ages and backgrounds how to responsibly interact with online content in the age of information overload. The fact-checking company was established in 2018 to empower citizens to find trusted sources and make sense of the vast amount of information at their fingertips. We bring simple yet effective digital media literacy tools to people wherever they are – whether they’re on Facebook, Instagram, YouTube, Twitter or TikTok or in any of the five countries where MediaWise operates – and accompany us at every step to determine what is real and what is not on the Internet. Through MediaWise, everyone can do their part to reduce the spread of misinformation and elevate the truth. Follow MediaWise on social media to learn how to demystify viral claims and be more critical consumers of online information. Explore the programs and be part of the solution at poynter.org/mediawise.
About France 24
France 24 is an international news channel that broadcasts in English, French, Arabic and Spanish to 444 million households worldwide, with a weekly audience of 98.5 million viewers. France 24’s digital platforms attract 28.7 million visits and 158 million video views each month, and have 55 million followers on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. France 24 is part of the France Médias Monde group along with RFI and Monte Carlo Doualiya radio stations. France 24 is actively involved in the fight against fake news through its “Truth or Fake” programming (“Info or Intox” in French): daily fact-checking segments on the air, a weekly video module with advice to detect fake news, and an annual edition aimed at high school students in France and overseas. “Truth or False” is produced by the France 24 Observers team.