By Camille Dupire – Dec 18,2017 – Last updated at Dec 19,2017
AMMAN — “I believe that the spread of myths and rumours in the fields of science, culture, religion, medicine and history destroys our minds and our critical thinking,” said Moath Al Taher, founder of Fatabyyano, an online platforms that seeks to produce and spread informed and evidence based knowledge to combat “fake news”.
Disturbed by one of his close relatives’ death when he was a child, Taher recalled how uninformed and misled he was at the time. “I remember the number of fake information, deceptive rumours and myths that were told to my relative and our family,” he told The Jordan Times on Monday, noting that this pushed him to start the platform.
With more than 500,000 fans on its Facebook page, Fatabyyano also counts over 3 million views on some of its “Fatabyyano Show” videos on YouTube.
While it mainly targets news in Arabic, Fatabayyno also provides content in six other languages, through the work of its 35-member team, which includes researchers, academics, media people, and web developers, among others.
“We all hate myths, violent behaviours and ideologies fed by ignorance and think it is only possible to bring change through critical thinking and by giving youth opportunities to raise their voice,” Taher said, noting that “we strive to give the Arab minds the chance to know, learn and verify”.
Stressing the need to combat fake news through content verification, he encourages the use of reason, intellectual skills and data based evidence to provide reliable news sources for Jordanians and people of the Arab world.
“Fake news” is a type of journalism or propaganda consisting of deliberate misinformation or hoaxes spread through various media outlets. Fake news are written and published with the intent to mislead in order to damage an agency, entity, or person, and to obtain financial or political gains, according to online sources.
Fatabyyano has already aroused the interest of several world famous institutions, including the Harvard University which invited the Jordanian platform to their annual conference as one of the best projects for 2016 in the Arab world. It was also honoured by Her Majesty Queen Rania as one of the most creative youth projects for 2016 in the Expo2017.
Taher recently returned from Safirlab, a social innovation incubator held in Paris, after Fatabyyano was recognised by the French embassy in Amman as one of the top three “Most Successful Youth Projects” in Jordan.
His plan for the future is to expand the outreach of the platform, through a partnership with ZEDNI, an Arabic educational network aimed at developing the curricula to improve educational outcomes in the Arab region.