COVID-19: Google announces USD 6.5 million to help fight coronavirus fake news

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Google on Friday said it will provide USD 6.5 million (around Rs 49 crore) in funding to fact-checkers and non-profits fighting misinformation around the world, including India, with focus on the coronavirus pandemic that has claimed thousands of lives.

In a blogpost, Google pointed out that health authorities have warned that an overabundance of information can make it harder for people to obtain reliable guidance about the pandemic.

Helping the world make sense of this information requires a broad response, involving scientists, journalists, public figures, technology platforms and others, it added.

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“We’re providing USD 6.5 million in funding to fact-checkers and non-profits fighting misinformation around the world, with an immediate focus on coronavirus,” it said.

Google said 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.

“To help, we’re supporting Data Leads in partnership with BOOM Live in India and Africa Check in Nigeria to leverage data from Question Hub. This will be complemented by an effort to train 1,000 journalists across India and Nigeria to spot health misinformation,” it added.

Google News Initiative (GNI) is also stepping up its support for First Draft that is providing an online resource hub, dedicated training and crisis simulations for reporters covering COVID-19 all over the globe.

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The non-profit organisation is also using its extensive CrossCheck network to help newsrooms respond quickly and address escalating content that is causing confusion and harm.

Another effort made by the company is to make more local Google Trends data available for journalists, health organisations and local authorities to help them understand people’s information needs around the world.

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