As fake news floods the internet and reduces people's trust in reportage as a whole, a group of tech giants, academia, and non-profits have joined hands to support news integrity and improve news literacy.
The Fight Against Fake News
Last month, Facebook Inc. (FB) and Alphabet Inc.’s Google (GOOG) got slammed by Martin Sorrell, the CEO of advertising company WPP Group, who warned that the social media giants risk losing advertisers if they don't do anything about fake news. (See also, WPP CEO: Why Is There Fake News Next to My Ads?)
Dubbed as the “News Integrity Initiative,” the $14 million fund has been launched by 25 funders and participants, including Facebook, Mozilla, the City University of New York (CUNY), Craig Newmark Philanthropic Fund, Ford Foundation, Democracy Fund, John S. and James L. Knight Foundation, Tow Foundation, AppNexus, and Betaworks.
The diversified global consortium will finance applied research work and projects which aim at developing tools to help individuals identify genuineness of the news they read and share online. The projects will be administered by and housed at the CUNY Graduate School of Journalism.
“The initiative will address the problems of misinformation, disinformation and the opportunities the internet provides to inform the public conversation in new ways,” said Campbell Brown, Head of News Partnerships at Facebook, in a statement.
Increasing Initiatives by Facebook
Of late, Facebook has been taking several initiatives for news related developments. In mid-December, it introduced product updates and partnerships with outside fact-checkers to help the social media giant ward off fake news on its platform. (See also, Facebook Adds Dispute Tag to Flag 'Fake News'.)
During an interview, founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg implied that Facebook is a media company, just “not a traditional media company.” In January, the Menlo Park, California-based company launched a new “Facebook Journalism Project,” aimed at building a healthy news ecosystem to establish stronger bond between Facebook and the news industry. During the first week of February, it conducted a road show in Dallas, and hosted around 70 print and broadcast reporters to connect with local journalists and local newsrooms. (See also, Facebook Launches Personal Fundraising Feature.)