Messaging apps such as WhatsApp, Viber, Facebook Messenger, Line, and Telegram are used by billions of people around the world, and provide a host of new opportunities for community engagement, sourcing, and distribution. This panel brings together journalists and technologists who have worked to experiment with new content formats, apps and strategies for effective storytelling and journalism using chat-based interfaces. How should newsrooms think about the emergent role of chat apps in their daily work? How can journalists mitigate risk when working with these platforms? What ethical and privacy concerns should journalists have when using these platforms?

Equally, in recent years researchers have observed chat apps being used to spread dangerous rumours, fabricated multimedia content and misinformation that has lead to violence and death in countries around the world. With these risks in mind, collaborative journalism and reporting that works to address challenges of information quality and spread in private messaging apps is essential. This panel will also discuss such initiatives in detail, expanding upon the importance of interdisciplinary and human-centered approaches for reporting about and addressing the unique challenges of misinformation that spreads through private messaging apps.

Two of our panelists, Tom Trewinnard and Alba Mora Roca, led the award winning 2018 project Verificado in Mexico, which was the first coordinated initiative to to weed out election misinformation going viral on WhatsApp and publish bespoke visual debunks back into the channels where they originated. Verificado further used WhatsApp as a way for audiences to submit claims, links and memes for checking, and we received over 60k messages from our audience in only 6 weeks. The Verificado model is now being explored for other electoral contexts, such as Argentina and India. Redouane Ramdani is the founder of Snipfeed, a chat-based content delivery platform that drives engagement and facilitates discovery of new content. Panelists will share insights from the implementation of this project, the implications that working within and with information from private messaging apps has for journalistic practices and newsroom workflows, and highlight relevant experiences from high-risk and low-technology literacy contexts.

Organised in association with Meedan.