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Photo: Christoph Dernbach/Picture Alliance via Getty Images

Progressive advocacy group Indivisible is publicly launching its Truth Brigade on Tuesday — thousands of active volunteers across the country who have been trained and are ready to push back on disinformation on social media, Axios has learned.

Why it matters: Paid ads and AI have been used to try to combat disinformation, but Indivisible co-founder Leah Greenberg told Axios the grassroots approach recognizes "that people fundamentally trust messages they hear from their personal contacts much more than they trust an ad on Facebook or even often a lot of news sources."

  • "This is an experiment for us in activating a network of engaged, volunteers to actually shift narratives within their own communities around the country," Greenberg.

How it works: There are new campaigns every two weeks targeting different issues plagued by disinformation. The more than 2,500 currently active members are sent explainers on a given topic by Indivisible staffers, which is used to fuel social media posts.

  • Although the Truth Brigade is only now going public, Indivisible members have already completed 32 campaigns since the pilot started. They've promoted information about Democrats election reform bill H.R. 1, pushed back against President Trump's false election claims, explained the election audit in Arizona and tackled other issues.
  • Volunteers have generated an average of more than 75 posts a day since the project began in 2020 in response to what advocates saw as a rise in disinformation.
  • While the Truth Brigade’s official campaigns are about national issues, some volunteers have used the prototype and training in creating persuasive posts to run their own local projects.

Go deeper

Facebook says U.S. is the top target of disinformation campaigns

Expand chart
Data: Facebook; Chart: Axios Visuals

Of the 150 disinformation campaigns that Facebook has caught and removed in the past four years, the U.S. has been the most frequent target by far, according to a new threat intelligence report from Facebook.

Why it matters: While most of the campaigns targeting the U.S. have originated abroad, Facebook found that a significant number of campaigns targeting people in the U.S. have originated from inside the U.S.

WHO warns against travel bans on southern African countries

Matshidiso Moeti, World Health Organization regional director for Africa. Photo: Sylvain Gaboury/Patrick McMullan via Getty Images

The World Health Organization called on countries Sunday to not impose travel bans on southern African nations amid concerns over the new COVID-19 Omicron variant.

Why it matters: The U.S. and countries in Europe and the Asia-Pacific announced travel restrictions in response to Omicron, which was first detected in South Africa. It's since spread to several European countries, Canada, Israel, Australia and Hong Kong. The WHO noted in a statement that only two southern African nations have detected the new variant.

Updated 4 hours ago - Health

First North American Omicron cases identified in Canada

COVID-19 testing personnel at Toronto Pearson International Airport in September. Photo: Steve Russell/Toronto Star via Getty Images

The first two cases of the new Omicron variant have been detected in North America, the Canadian government announced Sunday evening.

Driving the news: The World Health Organization has named Omicron a "variant of concern," but cautioned earlier on Sunday that it is not yet clear whether it's more transmissible than other strains of COVID-19.