To slow the spread of false stories on WhatsApp, this Colombian news site is enlisting its own readers

In 2016, Colombian journalists faced the challenge of telling one of the most important stories in the country’s history: after more than 50 years, the Colombian government and the FARC reached a peace agreement to end the decades-long conflict that had left more than eight million victims. It was a critical moment for news organizations, which had to find ways to explain clearly a process tangled with political interests that would determine the future of millions of people who were calling for truth, justice, and reparations. News media, however, had another challenge: to keep up with various conversations circulating on social media, especially via WhatsApp, where all kinds of viral stories about the negotiations had spread. Users shared chain messages (“cadenas”) without an understanding of whether the news they shared was accurate — a critical issue, since those messages could’ve swayed votes in the country’s referendum on a peace deal
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