Two tech giants on Tuesday announced a $13 million grant to fund global fact-checking projects.
Google and YouTube said they would provide financial support to the International Fact-Checking Network (IFCN), an arm of the Poynter Institute, to support “fact-checking initiatives” through 2025.
“The world needs fact-checking more than ever before. This partnership with Google and YouTube infuses financial support to global fact-checkers and is a step in the right direction,” said Baybars Örsek, the IFCN’s executive director. “And while there’s much work to be done, this partnership has sparked meaningful collaboration and an important step.”
About $12 million of the grant will go to the group’s Global Fact Check Fund, which will disburse money to fact-checking groups from around the world that adhere to its Code of Principles. These include groups in the U.S., Brazil, Nepal, Ukraine, Norway, Spain, Taiwan, South Africa, and India.
Örsek added that IFCN was “grateful to Google and YouTube for their commitment to bolster fact-checkers in an ever-increasing environment of mis- and disinformation.”
According to the Poynter Institute, some funds will go toward a foundation to establish a “neutral and independent selection committee” and other expansions of the fact-checking program.
The IFCN was established in 2015, and its advisory board includes individuals from various organizations, including PolitiFact and The Washington Post.
Olivia Ma, who manages Google’s Global News Program and Ecosystem, said that the company believed it had a role in combating “misinformation” and guiding people toward making “informed decisions.”
“Combating misinformation is an ongoing global challenge for society. We take seriously our role in helping to fight misinformation by continually investing in products, programs and partnerships that help people access high-quality information,” Ma said.
Some have raised concerns about the growing emphasis on fact-checking in recent years, with critics questioning whether the motivation is to suppress conservative or differing viewpoints. For example, the theory that the novel coronavirus may have leaked from a lab in Wuhan, China, was initially widely maligned by certain fact-checkers as the origin of the respiratory virus. However, Facebook later reversed course, saying that the theory was now up for debate and had not been thoroughly discredited. At around the same time, PolitiFact retracted a fact-check it had run on the claim saying that the theory was now more “disputed.”
This year, Brian Riedl, a senior fellow at the Manhattan Institute and a former PolitiFact source, told The Daily Wire that the fact-checking group wanted him to “help them nail Republicans.” Riedl also claimed PolitiFact would start with a “rating” of a claim and then work backward to justify that rating.