Google has announced a commitment of $300 million over three years to address fake news and support quality journalism in the digital age.
The Google News Initiative will bring together and expand the company's existing collaborations with the industry — including the Digital News Innovation Fund in Europe and Google News Lab — as well as support the launch of projects that elevate quality journalism, explore business models that help drive sustainable growth, and empower news organizations through technological innovation. To that end, the company has tweaked its algorithms to recognize "bad actors" disseminating mis- and disinformation on its platforms during elections and will launch a Disinfo Lab in partnership with First Draft, a project of the Harvard Kennedy School's Shorenstein Center, to address the proliferation of inaccurate news content on the Web.
Google.org also has awarded a two-year, $3 million grant to the Poynter Institute to launch — in partnership with the Local Media Association and the Stanford Graduate School of Education — an online fact-checking venture and classroom curriculum aimed at teaching digital information literacy to middle and high school students. Called MediaWise, the initiative hopes to reach a million students, half from underserved or low-income communities, who will work with professional journalists to fact-check online news and information.
In addition, the company has launched Subscribe with Google, a simple way for consumers to subscribe to fee-based news content from participating outlets; is providing a new dashboard built on top of Google Analytics to help news sites analyze audience data and refine their subscription strategies; and has announced the launch of Outline, an open-source tool from Jigsaw, another Alphabet company, that helps provide journalists with more secure access to the Internet.
"It's becoming increasingly difficult to distinguish what's true (and not true) online," wrote Google chief business officer Philipp Schindler in a blog post. "Business models for journalism continue to change drastically. The rapid evolution of technology is challenging all institutions, including the news industry — to keep pace. We need to do more."
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