Google is doubling down on their investment in so-called “fact-checking,” and just announced that together with YouTube (a subsidiary of theirs), they’re awarding a $13.2 million grant to the International Fact-Checking Network (IFCN) to help launch a new "Global Fact Check Fund."
We want to help people access quality and accurate information online. Together with @YouTube, we’re announcing a $13.2 million grant to @factchecknet for a new Global Fact Check Fund. Learn more ↓ https://t.co/8EeVGgtsse— Google (@Google) November 29, 2022
The IFCN was created by PolitiFact founder Bill Adair, and the group was launched by the Poynter Institute (which is now also the parent company of PolitiFact). The bias of groups like PolitiFact has long been obvious to those on the political right, and to give just one brief example of the alternate reality that Poynter lives in, they once praised outgoing White House press secretary Jen Psaki as “one of the best press secretaries ever” upon her departure.
According to Google:
Google describes the project with a barrage of weasel words:
As the Post Millennial’s Alex Timothy reported: earlier this week Yasmin Green, the Chief Executive of the Google subsidiary Jigsaw, signaled that the company's speech police were about to get aggressive, stating that there needs be be a shift “from defense to offense” in fighting misinformation online.
The Global Fact Check Fund 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. Fact-checking organizations can 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.
According to Jigsaw’s website, "Jigsaw is a unit within Google that explores threats to open societies, and builds technology that inspires scalable solutions."
Topics that the unit focuses on are "disinformation," "censorship," "toxicity," and "violent extremism."
The unit also releases magazines periodically, with issue themes including "Toxicity," "Violent White Supremacy," "Conspiracy Theories," and "Disinformation."
But this is nothing new, and it’s hard to believe that Google wasn’t already on offense.
Google started a fact-checking nonprofit called First Draft at the beginning of the 2016 election cycle. In addition to being supported by Google, it’s supported by the Ford Foundation and George Soros’ Open Society Foundations. One of the group’s original organizers, Alastair Reid, constantly shares leftist propaganda and anti-American rhetoric on his social media feeds. The group has also uncritically spread misinformation, such as directing readers to the bogus story that Trump told “people to drink bleach” to fight COVID-19
An eighty-five-page internal memo was circulated by Google in March 2018 titled “The Good Censor,” which informed employees on the virtues of censorship. In the memo, which was leaked by Breitbart, Google explains that the tech industry is adapting its stance towards censorship in direct response to the “anxiety of users and governments.” The memo concludes that “tech firms have gradually shifted away from unmediated free speech and towards censorship and moderation.” The memo tries to spin censorship as a positive because it makes “online spaces safer.”
This is their philosophy—and it had already been put into practice to the detriment of conservative outlets. A year prior, Google began displaying fact-checks on publications in their results, whereas a “card” would show up compiling prior fact checks of articles they published.
The now-discontinued feature overwhelming targeted conservative websites. While right-leaning websites like “The Daily Caller” were fact-checked by Google, no one searching for left-wing partisan websites like Vox, ThankProgress, Slate, the Huffington Post, DailyKos, Salon, Vice, or Mother Jones, ever got the same kind of “fact-fact card” display.
Matt Palumbo is the author of The Man Behind the Curtain: Inside the Secret Network of George Soros
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