On Tuesday, Google and YouTube announced that they will be providing a $13.2 million grant to the nonprofit Poynter Institute's International Fact Checking Network with the goal of launching a new "Global Fact Check Fund," set to launch in early 2023.
The move, which marks the companies' largest fact-checking grant to date, comes as they continue to ramp up their fight against "misinformation" online.
According to Google and YouTube, the grant will "support [the Poynter Institute's] network of 135 fact-checking organizations from 65 countries covering over 80 languages."
The companies justified their decision by noting that "helping people to identify misinformation is a global challenge."
"The Global Fact Check Fund," they explained, "will help fact-checkers to scale existing operations or launch new ones that elevate information, uplift credible sources and reduce the harm of mis- and disinformation around the globe."
Organizations are expected to use the funding to "incorporate new technologies, create or expand digital footprints, optimize verification tools, and increase their capacities to deepen audience engagement through innovative storytelling formats such as audio, video, or podcasts."
"The world needs fact-checking more than ever before," IFCN executive director Baybars Örsek said. "This partnership with Google and YouTube infuses financial support to global fact-checkers and is a step in the right direction, and while there’s much work to be done, this partnership has sparked meaningful collaboration and an important step.
In recent years, investments in programs aimed at tackling mis- and disinformation online have grown in tandem with peoples' interest and awareness in the subject.
According to data from Google, in October 2022, interest in mis- and disinformation across the world reached its highest point since 2004, when records began, with the most pressing topic being the Covid-19 pandemic.
During the pandemic, big tech's fact-checking apparatus went into overdrive as companies struggled to keep up with information that seemed to be changing on a daily, if not hourly basis.
YouTube has been criticized for its crackdowns on those who shared ideas that opposed the mainstream, many of whom have had their views vindicated in the months since.
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