Google boosts support for checking coronavirus facts

File: Google said it would pay media partners in three countries and cover the costs of pay-walled news sites to give users free access to a dedicated news app.

File: Google said it would pay media partners in three countries and cover the costs of pay-walled news sites to give users free access to a dedicated news app.

AFP

SAN FRANCISCO - Google said it is pumping $6.5 million into fact-checkers and nonprofits as it ramps up its the battle against coronavirus misinformation.

Fact-checking organisations, which often operate on relatively small budgets, are seeing a surge in demand for their work as mistaken or maliciously false information about the pandemic spreads, according to Alexios Mantzarlis of the Google News Lab.

"Uncertainty and fear make us all more susceptible to inaccurate information, so we're supporting fact-checkers as they address heightened demand for their work," Mantzarlis said.

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A Poynter Institute report last year on the state of fact-checking indicated that more than a fifth of fact-checking organisations operated with annual budgets of less than $20,000.

"We are supporting fact-checking projects around the world with a concentration on parts hardest hit by the pandemic," Mantzarlis told AFP.

"This can be a noticeable infusion of additional support at a time of stress."

Google is also looking to use its products and "ecosystem" to bolster the battle against COVID-19 misinformation.

Source
AFP