Seth Smalley | Poynter
As the official death toll from Monday’s earthquake in Turkey and Syria surpasses 22,000, fact-checking organizations that operate out of the region described the chaotic state of information, the effects of Twitter’s brief shutdown and the emotional toll of fact-checking in the rattled territory.
“In the first 10 hours, we were unable to do anything because of our presence in the heart of the event. We were captured between the missing, the homeless and the dead,” said Ahmad Primo, a Syrian journalist and founder of Verify-Sy, a fact-checking organization staffed by journalists from Syria. Primo works out of Norway. “After we were able to absorb that shock, we started receiving verification requests from the public and began working on what we could. Our focus was on verifying information that spread panic among people, such as false expectations of other earthquakes.”