Just as refugee arrivals in her town of Leipzig, eastern Germany, began to rise, so did the frequency of rumours over supposed crimes committed by those men, women and children who had fled war and hardship to reach Europe.
As months passed by, the allegations became even more common, increasingly popping up in social media feeds and often reproduced by mainstream news outlets.
And so she did.
Along with 35-year-old developer Lutz Helm, Schwarz launched last week Hoaxmap, an online platform that allows people to separate fact from fiction by debunking false rumours about supposed crimes committed by refugees.
Using an interactive system of popping dots, the map documents and categorises where those “crimes” allegedly took place. It then counters that false information with official statements from the police and local authorities, as well as news reports in which the allegations have been disproved. The debunked cases marked on the map range from thefts and assaults to manslaughter – but one of the most common topics is rape, Schwarz said….(More)”