Amid an ongoing effort by Google to counter the deluge of misinformation and conspiracy theories about the coronavirus pandemic. The Google News Initiative on January 12, 2021 launched a global open fund to fight misinformation about COVID-19 vaccine, worth up to $3 million.
As the dominant online search engine, Google is a key gateway to information about the coronavirus pandemic, vaccines and treatment. Google and YouTube, which are both owned by parent company Alphabet, have struggled to control the rampant misinformation that proliferates on their platforms, much of which has occurred alongside U.S. election-related falsehoods and conspiracy theories such as QAnon, which postulates that Donald Trump is waging a secret war against a global pedophile ring of Satan-worshiping Democrats, celebrities and billionaires.
The “COVID-19 Vaccine Counter Misinformation Open Fund” aims to support journalistic efforts to effectively fact-check misinformation about the COVID-19 immunisation process, the initiative belonging to Alphabet’s Google said in a blog post.
The fund will accept projects looking to expand the audience of fact-checks, particularly to groups disproportionately hit by misinformation. Applications will be reviewed by team of 14 jurors from across the academic, media, medical and non-profit sectors, as well as representatives from the World Health Organization.
In December, the Google News Initiative pledged $1.5 million to fund a COVID-19 vaccine media hub to support fact-checking research.
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