At a time when data security and fake news continue to cause ripples across the globe, Google has launched its Google News Initiative Training Network in India in partnership with BoomLive, DataLeads, and Internews.
In a blog, the company explained that with an aim to support trusted and authoritative journalism, the training network will support journalists from across India in their fight against misinformation by providing them with in-depth and hands-on verification training. The training will be imparted to 8,000 journalists across English and six other Indian languages over the coming year.
With this training, it wants to equip journalists with best-in-class skills required to debunk fake news. Here are some of the highlights of the initiative:
- The team will select 200 journalists from cities across India, who will hone their skills in verification and training during five-day “train-the-trainer” boot camps.
- At first, they will be trained in person by global verification experts and top Indian fact-checkers, including First Draft, Storyful, AltNews, BoomLive, Factchecker.in, and DataLeads.
- Further, the network of certified trainers will train more journalists in and around their region at two-day, one-day and half-day workshops organised by the network.
- the training workshops will be conducted in English, Hindi, Tamil, Telugu, Bengali, Marathi, and Kannada in cities across India.
To become a Google-certified trainer, the journalists need to qualify three rounds:
Round 1: July 5 is the deadline for the first English “train-the-trainer” boot camp, which will be held in Gurugram from July 30-August 3
Round 2: July 15 is the deadline for trainers in Hindi, Kannada, Tamil, and English
Round 3: September 15 is the deadline for trainers in Telugu, Marathi, Bengali, and English
Separate train-the-trainer boot camps will be organised for English, Hindi, Tamil, Telugu, Marathi, Kannada, and Bengali journalists across cities in India starting July-end.
The company will alert the selected trainers about the dates and venue of the boot camp via email.
Fact Check: Need Of The Hour In India
After “fake news” was named the Collins Dictionary’s Official Word Of The Year for 2017, it has continued to impact societies and events across the world, especially in a country like India, where digital penetration is increasing.
At this point, fake news being circulated in social media channels continues to lead conversations without being verified.
With the lack of binding rules, regulations, and the ability to keep their owners and editors anonymous, social media platforms have continued to serve as a medium for fake news to spread. The results have been far-reaching, and in certain cases, tragic.
After the world woke up to data privacy and security concerns and the dark side of social media in the aftermath of the Facebook-Cambridge Analytica debacle, global companies have tried to take the matter in their own hands to address lack of fact-checking across mediums.
Recently, reports surfaced that Twitter was partnering with law enforcement agencies and regulators to curb fake news and prevent trolling on the social networking site ahead of the upcoming 2019 Lok Sabha election.
Prior to this, Inc42 had reported that Facebook had announced to introduce a third-party fact-checking programme in India in partnership with BOOM.
Facebook shared that it once a story is rated as false, it reduces its distribution by 80%, thereby “improving the accuracy of information on Facebook and reduce misinformation.”
To debunk fake news, Facebook plans to show such stories lower in News Feed when the fact-checker rates a story as false.
With global companies like Google and Facebook taking up such initiatives against fake news, it is high time the Indian government too goes beyond saying “strict action will be taken” against perpetrators of fake news.