Google Campus LogoSource: Android Central

What you need to know

  • Google has pegged $6.5 million to fight the spread of coronavirus misinformation by way of its Google News Initiative.
  • The Initiative will fund fact-checkers around the world as they sift reality from fantasy.
  • It will also assist in training a thousand journalists in India and Nigeria.

Google is expanding its coronavirus support efforts by aiding in the fight against misinformation with $6.5 million pledged to fact-checkers and non-profits. As the virus spreads around the world, misinformation has followed just as rapidly. The company has already donated learning resources in partnership with Californa and set aside hundreds of millions to aid in relief and education efforts.

"[T]he Google News Initiative (GNI) is stepping up its support for First Draft. The nonprofit is providing an online resource hub, dedicated training and crisis simulations for reporters covering COVID-19 all over the globe," said Alexios Mantzarlis, News and Information Credibility Lead, Google News Lab. "First Draft is also using its extensive CrossCheck network to help newsrooms respond quickly and address escalating content that is causing confusion and harm. We're also renewing our support for the collaborative verification project Comprova in Brazil."

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The Google News Initiative will also support other regional fact-checkers like Full Face, Maldita.es, LatamChequa, Poltifiact, and Kaiser Health News as they tackle coronavirus misinformation within their respective geographic regions.

To empower primary data sources and make them accessible to reporters writing data-driven stories, Google will provide additional funding to various organizations. The entities benefiting range from SciLine, based at the American Association for the Advancement of Science, to the Australian Science Media Centre, creators of Scimex.org, to the JSK Journalism Fellowships at Stanford University, and Stanford's Big Local News group.

Finally, Google will help train 1,000 journalists across India and Nigeria to spot health misinformation as they try to answer frequently asked questions.

"Fact-checkers and health authorities need help to identify topics that people are searching for and where there might be a gap in the availability of good information online," explained Mantzarlis, "Unanswered user questions—such as "what temperature kills coronavirus?"—can provide useful insights to fact-checkers and health authorities about content they may want to produce. "

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