Google steps up to fight fake news. As the pressure on tech companies increases, Google contributes €25M to Media Fund that strengthens media literacy skills, combats fake news, and supports fact-checking.

Fake news has become a massive problem. As everyone can say whatever they like on social media, misinformation is spreading fast. On most online platforms, nobody is checking the facts, and nobody is correcting wrong information. Particularly during the COVID-19 pandemic and the US presidential elections in 2020, hate speech and misinformation have reached new heights.

To counteract, Google has announced a €25M contribution to help launch the European Media and Information Fund. The goal is to strengthen media literacy skills, combat fake news, and support fact-checking. “Our goal is to ensure that you and your family get the information you want, the answers you need, and the accuracy you deserve,” says Google’s Matt Brittin.

Google has committed the funds for five years to support the European University Institute, the Calouste Gulbenkian Foundation, and the European Digital Media Observatory to fund organizations in their battle against fake news. They help people strengthen their media skills, scale the work of fact-checkers, and strengthen the expertise, research, and resources to help fight misinformation.

Open for proposals from Liechtenstein

The European Media and Information Fund will open for proposals in the coming weeks, also for Liechtenstein. Academics, nonprofits, and publishers based in the European Union, Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway, Switzerland, and the United Kingdom can hand in their proposals, and independent committees will select the winning ideas. Google itself won’t be involved in any decision-making related to the Fund. 

“Since 2015, we’ve provided funding, and technical support to organizations focused on misinformation, including innovative new models like CrossCheck in France, and provided digital verification training to 90,000 European journalists, receiving over 400,000 visits to our training website,” says Brittin.

More tech involvement in news combatting

Tech giants play a significant role in the fake news dilemma, so it’s good news that Google steps up to the issue. Brittin explains, “As the first to contribute to the European Media and Information Fund, we welcome and encourage other organizations to follow our lead and support this important work. It is clear there is an unmet demand for funding and research, with fewer than one in 10 Europeans having participated in any form of online media literacy training, according to a recent report.” 

By fighting fake news, tech companies also help themselves. Criticism has grown that tech giants are not effective to debunk the misinformation online, also from lawmakers in the US. Chief executives from Facebook, Google, and Twitter had to answer questions from US Congress regarding the proliferation of disinformation on social media platforms. 

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