Post-truth, polarization and populism are tools that threaten democracy in Latin American countries. It is vital that social organizations, activists, media and the community in general unite to break the chain of misinformation, that is why MAKAIA is constantly working to empower more people in the development of skills to achieve digital resilience. In addition, we decided to join with social organizations in Colombia that, from different fronts such as media literacy, research and journalism work on these issues.

It is important that society understands what they are, how to identify them and how to implement changes to avoid spreading them daily; instructing the most vulnerable populations such as the smallest and grandparents or elderly uncles who share this type of news by WhatsApp or Facebook and this happens because of the echo chambers to which they are more exposed. Echo chambers is an information bubble where we only hear or massify information from a pre-existing belief, here also enter the biases we learn from the environment, education or even the exposure we have to other social spaces. Echo chambers do not allow people to generate awareness or distinction in the comments because everyone who is part of them agrees with you in your thinking, which does not generate that you keep an open mind and an open space.

Initiatives to combat disinformation in Colombia

During the event Colombia Veraz was the launch of the community of practice that MAKAIA helped build and is part of, a convergence of civil society organizations, media, researchers and other actors that from their different shores are contributing to mitigate the political and social effects of disinformation. VerazMente is the first community of practice in the country that, autonomously, decides to converge with the purpose of positioning the issue of disinformation, polarization, and hate speech in the center of the public debate.

During the event, the official spokesperson of the community Sandra Acero stated that "We came together as organizations to offer tools to the digital citizenry to empower them of their rights and responsibilities within disinformation in Colombia. Understand that disinformation is a phenomenon that can happen to all of us, become aware of the consequences and understand the power and communicative responsibility of social networks. We can change behavior and with access to free use tools for the welfare of Colombia".

MAKAIA seeks to generate spaces where we openly discuss issues such as disinformation, media literacy, digital security and positive narratives. We provide tools to social organizations, digital activists and other actors to identify and counteract these disinformation strategies, one of these spaces was the webinar we held in October on disinformation during the electoral period in Colombia.

One of the guests in this space was the director of the Colombia 2050 Foundation, Juan Carlos Galindo who affirms that "Disinformation is not a new problem, what is new is the speed and the dramatic impact that this phenomenon is producing in society. We are being overwhelmed by the amount of information we receive through all media, and we do not have time to reflect and analyze this wealth of information that is attacking us".

Challenges of disinformation

One of the remains is the lack of trust in politics and these factors become favorable scenarios for disinformation in electoral events. Today, with the restriction of characters, headlines do not show the correct context of the news and the media play an important role in the chain of disinformation in Colombia.

Some important actions as digital citizens are to identify those moments and places where there may be disinformation, understand how democracy works and our role within these processes to be ambassadors of truth and understand our role as individuals within the social realities in which we live.

You can learn more about MAKAIA's courses and initiatives here.