the fight against disinformation

Disinformation remains a global problem knowing no borders — that isn’t news. The key tactic for countering its harmful spread is collaboration among fact-checkers.

Take a case that occurred during our first few months running Factchequeado, a new initiative launched by Chequeado, from Argentina, and Maldita, from Spain, to counter disinformation circulating in Hispanic and Latino communities in the U.S. — which we’re so excited about!

On April 11, we published in Factchequeado the story of Ana, a Maldita reader, who matched on Tinder with 46-year-old Thomas Paul, a sergeant in the U.S. army currently abroad on a peace mission. Or so he claimed. “We started talking on WhatsApp and he showed me a kind of love beyond any logic because of its immediacy,” said Ana.

There was one major obstacle preventing them from being together: Paul said he was being sent to Ukraine and he would need more than 6,000 euros to return home. It was then that Ana realized she was being scammed. In reality, Paul’s Tinder profile featured photos belonging to American soldier Tyler Thomas, who has over 40,000 followers on Instagram.

This isn’t the first case of a fake Tinder profile. The tactic is known as catfishing: a scammer uses a false identity to approach a person and emotionally bond with them. They then request money to solve an “urgent” financial issue they’re up against. There’s a Netflix documentary about one of these prolific swindlers.

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by Laura Zommer, International Journalists’ Network

Photo by Hartono on Unsplash

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