Google has decided to get serious about cracking down on the spread of fake news and the algorithms that enable its platforms to circulate these untrustworthy sources. The tech giant announced on Tuesday that, over the course of the next three years, they will be launching a $300 million initiative to guide users toward "more authoritative content" to combat the spread of false information, The Washington Post reports.
Part of this initiative is something called the "Disinfo Lab," which will partner with universities like Harvard and Stanford to curb the spread of misinformation by creating digital literacy education programs that will benefit the group of young, American media consumers who will eventually become voters.
The VP of news products at Google, Richard Gringas, stated, "While we take great care to present the most authoritative information, there are many cases where users can and will find information that's not authoritative." Google is looking to fix this problem, as it knows all too well just how powerful a role its platforms have in modern news consumption. Because of this, Google has already launched a new feature to YouTube which utilizes a breaking news section on the platform's homepage to allow users quick click-through's to current events topics from reputable sources. The feature is currently enabled in 10 countries and they hope to continue to expand, says Gringas.
Google is also planning on rolling out features that are currently being tested to assist news outlets in bringing in more subscribers. The feature is said to analyze which readers are more likely to subscribe to news sites and has already allegedly tripled the subscription rate for the St. Louis Post-Dispatch's digital platform.
Google seems to finally be taking its role in news consumption seriously; this three-year initiative is a major step for fostering a properly informed population and combating the droves of fake news that are churned out daily by viral click-bait farms.