The Trust Project Will Spin Off and Become Its Own Independent Nonprofit

It received a $2.25 million infusion from Facebook, Craig Newmark Philanthropies, the Democracy Fund

Sally Lehrman will continue to lead the Trust Project as CEO Trust Project
Headshot of David Cohen

An infusion of $2.25 million from Facebook, Craig Newmark Philanthropies and the Democracy Fund is helping the Trust Project spin off from Santa Clara University’s Markkula Center for Applied Ethics and become its own independent nonprofit organization.

In November 2017, Facebook, Twitter, Google and Bing teamed up with the Trust Project on Trust Indicators, which are aimed at helping to validate legitimate news publishers and weeding out fake news.

The Trust Project said 126 top news sites globally—including properties owned by BBC, The Economist, The Washington Post, Hearst Television, Tegna, El País, La Repubblica, La Stampa and Canadian Broadcast Corp.—are currently using Trust Indicators, with the audience of those sites totaling 327 million people per month.

The Institute for Nonprofit News’ INN Labs unit developed and maintains a WordPress VIP-accepted plugin to help validated Trust Project participants add Trust Indicators to their sites.

The Trust Project was incubated in 2015 by award-winning journalist Sally Lehrman at Santa Clara University’s Markkula Center for Applied Ethics, and Lehrman will continue to lead the organization as CEO.

The nonprofit said it will use its new funding to broaden newsroom participation, to build tools to support future growth and to raise awareness of Trust Indicators.

Trust Project added that it aims to “strengthen links between the user loyalty generated by the Trust Indicators and the revenue streams that help news sites flourish, helping them fulfill their vital role in civil society and democracy.”

Julia Bain, global strategic initiatives lead for news partnerships at Facebook, said in a release, “We’re proud to support the Trust Project in their continued efforts to address news transparency and misinformation. We started using Trust Indicators in News Feed in 2017, and we’re rolling it out globally in our Context Button now. We believe that when readers are more educated on where their news comes from, they gravitate toward information that comes from quality news outlets. The work that Sally and team are doing could not be more important and impactful right now.”

Trust Project/Facebook David Cohen is editor of Adweek's Social Pro Daily.