April 3, 2017, Mashable
Facebook and others have created a global consortium called the News Integrity Initiative to counter fake news, advance news literacy, and to help repair trust in journalism. The Initiative will attempt to build a bridge between publishers and social media platforms.
The News Integrity Initiative is a nonprofit project of the Tow-Knight Center for Entrepreneurial Journalism, an independent 501(c)(3) at CUNY Graduate School of Journalism. With an initial $14 million, the Initiative will fund applied research and projects, and convene meetings with industry experts. Additional founding funders include AppNexus, Betaworks, Craig Newmark Philanthropic Fund, Democracy Fund, Ford Foundation, John S. and James L. Knight Foundation, Mozilla, and the Tow Foundation.
Facebook found itself challenged during the 2016 elections, with Facebook contractors charging that the company manipulated its news feeds, reflecting anti-conservative bias. NPQ reported following the 2016 presidential election that Facebook denied its complicity in the spread of fake news online. Jason Abbruzzese, a business reporter for Mashable, explains what happened next.
Facebook’s refusal to take any responsibility for what happened on its platform softened following a wave of criticism concerning how conspiracy-based and often purposely false information ran riot. Since then, the company has taken baby steps toward being a more active participant in the news, including a new “Facebook Journalism Project“ and a “listening tour” with local media.
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Campbell Brown, Facebook’s Head of News Partnerships, shared this in her blog post about the Initiative:
We’re excited to announce we are helping to found and fund the News Integrity Initiative, a diverse new network of partners who will work together to focus on news literacy. The initiative will address the problems of misinformation, disinformation and the opportunities the Internet provides to inform the public conversation in new ways.
Jeff Jarvis, professor of journalism at CUNY and one of the leaders of the Initiative, writes the story of how the Initiative came about in his lengthy blog post at Buzz Machine (it was Craig Newmark’s idea).
My greatest hope is that this Initiative will provide the opportunity to work with Facebook and other platforms on reimagining news, on supporting innovation, on sharing data to study the public conversation, and on supporting news literacy broadly defined.
Fidji Simo, Facebook’s Director of Product, in introducing the new Facebook Journalism Project, wrote, “We know that our community values sharing and discussing ideas and news, and as a part of our service, we care a great deal about making sure that a healthy news ecosystem and journalism can thrive.”—James Schaffer