SAO PAULO (AP) — A damning image was whipping around WhatsApp in Brazil: A photo of a black luxury jet labeled "the plane of Lula's son" — seeming proof of high living by the family of jailed ex-Brazilian President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva, who is leading polls ahead of October's presidential elections.
The image was shared so often that a fact-checking project known as Comprova set out to investigate — and debunked it, tracing the jet's ownership all the way back to its date of manufacture. It had never belonged to anyone in da Silva's family.
Fact-checking efforts have become common around the world due to concerns about the power of social media to spread disinformation. What's unusual about the effort ahead of Brazil's election is the focus on messages spread via WhatsApp.