In times like these when fear grips the minds of people, it is imperative to bring authentic information and prevent fake news from causing widespread panic. Google has pledged $6.5 million in funding to fact-checkers and nonprofit organizations in India “to fight misinformation” with regards to the pandemic. India is currently serving a 21-day lockdown that will end on April 14th to prevent further COVID-19 infections.
To that effect, the online search giant is teaming up with First Draft, a non-profit organization that can empower journalists and reporters with online resources to cover the unfolding COVID-19 events across the globe more accurately. It is a coalition that works to empower societies with accurate information in critical situations. To prevent the spread of misinformation, First Draft’s CrossCheck network will be used quickly to identify potential developing COVID-19 news that can cause mislead the populace.
There have been numerous incidents in the recent couple of weeks where individuals have tried to spark unrest and panic by spreading false news about new COVID-19 infections through WhatsApp and Facebook. These incidents can lead to serious physical and mental harm if not dealt with quickly.
Google is also opening up data and scientific expertise to the reach of reporters. The company has collaborated with SciLine, based at the American Association for the Advancement of Science, and the Australian Science Media Centre, creators of Scimex.org, as well as journalism technology nonprofit Meedan, to make data-driven reporting easier.
More importantly, a global resource hub is being for reporters is being created as Google is backing the JSK Journalism Fellowships at Stanford University for the same. For fact-checkers, Science Feedback will be a good place to track misinformation.
Google is also allowing reporters to leverage its search insights to see what information people are searching for readily available in localized pages. The data here can also help creators make content that is genuinely searched for. Besides all these initiatives, Google says that its online resources are constantly being updated to help newsrooms in their job.