Much like other companies in its category, Google has faced a lot of criticism for its role in spreading misinformation and has taken the necessary steps to address the problem. In the past few months, they company has teamed up with fact-checking networks, introduced trust icons, revamped its “snippets” feature and started showing more publisher information to help combat fake news.
Google now says that those efforts are not enough to combat the spread of fake news. “It's becoming increasingly difficult to distinguish what's true (and not true) online,” Google said in a blog post today. “Business models for journalism continue to change drastically. The rapid evolution of technology is challenging all institutions, including the news industry, to keep pace.” So from here on out, to continue its efforts, the company is launching Google News Initiative (GNI).
Google News Initiative (GNI) will focus on three main objectives: elevate and strengthen quality journalism, evolve business models to drive sustainable growth and empower news organizations through technological innovations. Talking specifically about the first objective, Google says it created Disinfo Lab, which is an effort to combat mis- and disinformation during breaking news moments and elections. The company worked alongside Harvard University's First Draft project.
The search engine giant is also partnering with Poynter Institute, Stanford University and the Local Media Association to develop MediaWise, an initiative that's aimed at boosting younger consumers' digital literacy. Talking about Google's own products, the company is tweaking its systems to surface more authoritative content in times of breaking news moments because that's when bad actors often target platforms, the company says.
In order to help simplify the process of subscribing to media publishers, Google has introduced a new service called Subscribe with Google. Through the use of machine learning model the company has been working on, it will help publishers spot consumers who may be likely to subscribe. In addition, the company has created a new dashboard that will help news organizations get a deeper understanding of their audience. Finally, Google also launched Outline. It's an open-source tool that will assist news organizations setup their own VPN on a private server.
To fund these efforts, Google says it's dedicating $300 million over the next three years. “The commitments we're making through the Google News Initiative demonstrate that news and quality journalism is a top priority for Google,” Google said. “We know that success can only be achieved by working together, and we look forward to collaborating with the news industry to build a stronger future for journalism.”