Google commits $2.64M to fight misinformation in EU

Search giant Google said it was contributing 1.5 million euros ($1.64 million) to the European fact checking network and then another $1 million to youth media literacy efforts.

Google announced the new measures ahead of the European Parliament elections in June, when 400 million EU citizens will go to ballots in a vote that will determine the bloc’s leadership.

A 1.5 million euros contribution will go to the European Fact-Checking Standards Network (EFCSN), a newly created association representing European fact checking organizations, the company said in a blog post.

The money will be used to launch Elections24Check, a coalition of more than 40 news and fact checking organizations working to fact check information regarding the European Parliament elections.

“To support cross-border collaboration, Elections24Check will create a comprehensive database of election related disinformation, claims and narratives – the first open database of its kind which will support research and fact checking around the world,” Google said.

Elections24Check will offer an early detection system of online misinformation that will cover the entire continent, according to EFCSN Governance Body Chair Carlos Hernández-Echevarría.

“Participating fact-checking organizations not only cover almost the entire EU but also the wider community of neighboring European countries. This is important because misinformation travels widely across borders especially around the upcoming elections,” Hernández-Echevarría said.

Additionally, Google will grant $1 million to ThinkYoung, a think tank in Belgium, to fund youth-led hackathons across Europe to combat disinformation and focus on underserved communities.

Google has recently also announced a so-called “prebunking” campaign in France, Germany, Italy, Belgium, and Poland to bolster media literacy. The campaign is aimed at helping viewers identify manipulative content before encountering it.

The effort will include short video ads on social media such as YouTube and TikTok that will be available in all EU languages, as well as Arabic, Russian, and Turkish.

The new initiatives coincide with growing regulatory pressure in the EU against large tech companies to do more to tackle illegal content and risks to public safety, including the spread of disinformation, under the new Digital Service Act (DSA) that came into effect in February.

Earlier this month, formal proceedings were started against AliExpress, an online marketplace owned by China’s tech giant Alibaba, for potential violations of the DSA, including allowing minors to access pornographic material.

Similar proceedings were also started against social platforms X, formerly Twitter, and TikTok.

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