Google News Initiative Funnels $6.5 Million to Fact-Checkers, Nonprofits

The goal is to curb misinformation related to Covid-19

More local Google Trends data is being made available for journalists, health organizations and local authorities Google News Initiative
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The Google News Initiative will provide $6.5 million in funding to fact-checkers and nonprofits with the aim of fighting misinformation about the coronavirus pandemic.

Google News Lab news and information credibility lead Alexios Mantzarlis said in a blog post Thursday, “Health authorities have warned that an overabundance of information can make it harder for people to obtain reliable guidance about the coronavirus pandemic. Helping the world make sense of this information requires a broad response, involving scientists, journalists, public figures, technology platforms and many others. Here are some ways we plan to help.”

Mantzarlis provided details on organizations that will receive funding from GNI.

Nonprofit First Draft is providing an online resource hub, dedicated training and crisis simulations for reporters worldwide covering Covid-19, and it is using its CrossCheck network to help newsrooms address escalating content that is causing confusion and harm.

Comprova is a collaborative verification project in Brazil.

Full Fact and Maldita.es will focus on countries in Europe with the most cases of the coronavirus: France, Germany, Italy, Spain and the U.K.

Correctiv is taking on misinformation related to Covid-19 in Germany.

LatamChequea, coordinated by Chequeado, is providing a single hub to highlight the work of 21 fact-checking organizations across 15 countries in the Spanish-speaking world and Latin America.

PolitiFact and Kaiser Health News will expand their health fact-checking partnership to focus on Covid-19 misinformation.

SciLine, based at the American Association for the Advancement of Science, and the Australian Science Media Centre, creators of Scimex.org, will help provide access to primary expert sources for journalists covering the coronavirus pandemic.

Journalism technology nonprofit Meedan will team up with public health experts to create a database for reporters.

Reporters working on Covid-19 coverage will also be able to tap into the JSK Journalism Fellowships at Stanford University and Stanford’s Big Local News group.

The International Fact-Checking Network will use the funds to uphold best practices and showcase the work of the CoronaVirusFacts Alliance.

Science Feedback will conduct a network analysis using the hundreds of Covid-19 fact-checks published globally to track the spread of related misinformation.

Within Google itself, the company is experimenting with the best way to include a dedicated fact-check section in the Covid-19 experience in Google News, and data from Google Trends is available in localized pages with embeddable visualizations.

More local Google Trends data is being made available for journalists, health organizations and local authorities.

Mantzarlis wrote, “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. 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.”

On that note, GNI is supporting Data Leads in partnership with Boom Live in India and Africa Check in Nigeria to leverage data from Question Hub, complemented by an effort to train 1,000 journalists across India and Nigeria to spot health misinformation.

The GNI Training Center has tools for data journalism and verification in 16 languages, and its global team of Teaching Fellows is delivering workshops entirely online in 10 languages.

Mantzarlis concluded, “Today’s announcement is one of several efforts we’re working on to support those working to cover this pandemic. We look forward to sharing more soon.”


david.cohen@adweek.com David Cohen is editor of Adweek's Social Pro Daily.
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