Hearing about the spread of misinformation regarding the COVID-19 vaccine online, Google has decided to act.
The tech giant has committed itself to raise an open fund of $3 million to counter the misinformation movement.
This is so because misinformation has been hindering all efforts in the process of immunisation.
What does Google plan to do with the funds?
In a blog post by Alexois Mantzarlis, News and Information Credibility Lead at Google News lab, the goal is that the open fund initiative “reach audiences that are typically underserved or targeted by misinformation.”
He added that while the COVID-19 “infodemic has been global in nature, misinformation has also been used to target specific populations.”
Also, he said that from research, the “audiences coming across misinformation and those seeking fact checks don’t necessarily overlap”.
So, it plans to use the open fund to counter the spread of the misinformation of the COVID-19 vaccine by supporting journalists and fact-checkers on “projects that aim to broaden the audience of fact checks,”.
Google will also support platforms that have been investigating and dealing with false information regarding the vaccine.
However, Google says fact-checkers are hard at work debunking the false information online, and about 10,000 fact check is ongoing.
Who can access the fund?
Google’s plan is for the fund to be accessible by everyone in any part of the world.
However, It says only news organisations with fast track records of debunking and fast-tracking false news; or those who partner with such category will be eligible to access the funds.
Also, Google said that it would prioritise collaborative projects with an interdisciplinary team.
For applicants to be chosen as a priority, they should have met its criteria as said above; in which a jury set by Google will review each application.
Google News Initiative (GNI)
Apparently, Google says Google News Initiative (GNI) has been providing support for a long time.
Through that support, the open fund was built to counter misinformation regarding the Covid-19 vaccine.
In 2018, Google attempted steps to address the spread of false information.
It partnered with fact-checking networks, started showing more publisher info, and introduced a trust icon to solve the issue.
However, its effort was to no avail, as it wasn’t enough to contain the spread of false information.
Hence, it launched GNI, whose focus is on elevating and strengthening quality journalism; evolve business models to drive sustainable growth, and empowering news organisations through technological innovation.
In this regard, GNI committed $300 million to combat false news and support some journalist projects.
Also, in April last year, it committed 6.5 million to fight the misinformation going around about the pandemic.
As such, Google hopes that each platform chosen to work on the project will benefit from any form of support rendered by GNI to effectively suppress the misinformation.
Also, it said that it would continue to deliver high quality and credible information on the vaccine on its product.