What we do

Watchdog is a multidisciplinary team of factcheckers, journalists, researchers and software engineers. We hunt hoaxes and misinformation, investigate matters of public welfare, and build software tools that help operations like ours.

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We began in April 2019, days after the Easter Sunday bombings in Sri Lanka, as a group of concerned citizens trying to counter misinformation. We did this amidst government crackdowns on freedom of expression and mass hysteria caused by fake news and rumors, building a mobile app that was used by over 200,000 people to verify information and counteract rumors in their own networks.

How we work

The primary face of our operation is this website and the Watchdog app, available for free on Google Play.

Don’t take our word for it: go see what people think.

We’ve been called an “open-source intelligence research collective”, and that’s fairly accurate. We use a lot of OSINT techniques - a combination of data scraping, analysis of publicly available documents and datasets, paired with old-school boots-on-the-ground journalism.

<aside> 📎 These are our Operational ethics. Here’s how we go about Handling conflict - whether that’s related to a story we’re working on or an internal issue. Lastly, we’re known for our no-bullshit style (which tends to annoy people who expect flowery abstractions and vagueness), so here’s our Language guide.

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Who we are

The original incarnation of Watchdog was staffed by volunteer factcheckers and translators. We’ve grown significantly since then. Many of our team have strong journalism and research backgrounds, with a sprinkling of computer science to make sure we have the tools to keep up with our ambitions.


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Yudhanjaya Wijeratne

CEO

Data scientist and editor-in-chief. Formerly at LIRNEasia’s Data, Policy and Algorithms team, working on misinformation, information control, resource-poor languages and social networks. Bylines at ForeignPolicy, Wired, Slate. Forbes 30 Under 30.

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Nisal Periyapperuma

CTO

SaaS engineer with a background in economics. Co-founded Paladin Analytics and rooster.jobs, growing multiple tech teams from one-person operations into enterprise SaaS companies. Builds and manages Watchdog tech infrastructure, including moonshots.

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