Google has announced a $6.5 million in funding to help fact-checkers and non-profit organisations fight misinformation related to coronavirus pandemic around the world.

Through its Google News Initiative (GNI), the prominent search engine will be providing the funds to support media outlets and fact-checkers working to combat misinformation around the COVID-19 pandemic.

According to a statement issued on Thursday by Alexios Mantzarlis, news and information credibility lead, GNI news lab, the initiative became imperative due to the overabundance of information that makes it difficult for people to get reliable guidance about the novel disease.

“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,” the statement read.

“We also want to do more to highlight fact-check articles that address potentially harmful health misinformation more prominently to our users and we are experimenting with how to best include a dedicated fact check section in the COVID-19 Google News experience. Already, we have made Google Trends data readily available in localized pages with embeddable visualizations.”

According to Google, the initiative will support Africa Check in Nigeria, and Data Leads in partnership with BOOM Live in India to leverage data from Question Hub.

“Some other media outlets and nonprofits around the world which will receive support through the Google News Initiative (GNI) include First Draft, a nonprofit that is providing an online resource hub, Full Fact and Maldita.es, which will coordinate efforts in Europe focused on countries with the most cases, CORRECTIV in Germany, LatamChequea, coordinated by Chequeado, in the Spanish-speaking world and Latin America, the collaborative verification project Comprova in Brazil, SciLine, based at the American Association for the Advancement of Science, and the Australian Science Media Centre, creators of Scimex.org among others,” it added.

The initiative, Google said, will be complemented by efforts to train 1,000 journalists across India and Nigeria to spot health misinformation.



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