Iran-focused technology group ASL19 has partnered with civil liberties NGO United for Iran to launch Meidoon, a platform that provides open and accessible data on trending Persian-language content on Telegram.
With the current protests in Iran, Meidoon will allow users to submit channels people in Iran are using to disseminate information around the protests and government response, so they can confirm which sources are credible. The website is still in beta, but shows the last three months of data collected on Iranian’s Telegram use.
Telegram is banned in Iran, but is still widely accessed via VPNs since it is a crucial source of information – but this has made it vulnerable to the proliferation of misinformation. Meidoon will scrape Telegram user submissions from public channels, and scan them to verify the credibility of what is being shared. It will collect the number of post views and forwards, then sort the public channels based on veracity, popular content, and categorise them based on trending topics.
The goal is for Meidoon to provide open and accessible information flowing through Telegram for civil society organizations and users in Iran. By creating a tool to identify channels that are spreading misinformation, Meidoon's users (such as journalists and NGOs, CSOs) can take early action to fact check and stop the spread of false news narratives, discrediting specific channels as unreliable. Once an archive of verifiable channels is available, Meidoon will also act as a resource for its users to quickly search through the content of posts, and view popular hashtags and links that are trustworthy sources of information.
“In the midst of current protests in Iran, we are facing an ocean of misinformation and fake news coming to social media platforms, and Telegram is one of the main social media platforms in Iran,” said Firuzeh Mahmoudi, executive director of United for Iran. “With Meidoon, we are looking to provide a crowdsourced platform to help understand and disseminate credible and verifiable information to the Iranians on the ground protesting, and risking their lives.”
Access the Meidoon site here: https://meidoon.com/fa