Google donates $ 1 million to fund media literacy initiatives in Taiwan
Taipei, Nov. 4 (CNA) US technology company Google Inc. on Thursday donated $ 1 million to the Taiwan FactCheck Center (TFC) to help fund the centre’s media education initiatives.
The million dollars will be disbursed over the next three years as part of Google’s Intelligent Taiwan initiatives to combat the effects of disinformation, the company said.
Google’s financial contribution will help fund some 600 workshops and coach 700 trainers, which the company says will benefit 23,000 people.
The tech company added that the money will be used to fund workshops for the elderly, people living in remote areas, indigenous groups and newly naturalized citizens in particular.
Google has said that these types of people are more likely to be disadvantaged in the digital age, and therefore more susceptible to misinformation.
As part of the project, TFC will collaborate with other national groups, such as the National Association for the Promotion of Community Universities, Fakenewscleaner, Taiwan Media Watch, the Association of Quality Journalism and the Center for Media Literacy in Taiwan of National Chengchi University, to educate people and reach more diverse communities.
TFC Chairman Hu Yuan-Hui (胡元輝) said media education has never been more important in light of the widespread disinformation linked to the pandemic in Taiwan.
“It’s not just a one-time fact-checking initiative. It’s a social movement and the participation and anticipation of democracy,” Hu said.
TFC, jointly founded by the Association for Quality Journalism and Taiwan Media Watch, is a non-profit organization that aims to verify information in the public domain, improve the country’s information ecosystem, and improve the quality of information, according to the centre’s website.
In Taiwan, the growing spread of disinformation took on particular significance as a nationwide COVID-19 outbreak began in May.
At the time, several unverified reports began to spread on social media, including one claiming that a hospital in Taiwan had to dump the bodies of people who died from COVID-19 into a river because of a crowded morgue. .
Another article, falsely presented as a news story, claimed that more than 20,000 COVID-19 patients were collectively cremated in Taipei, some of whom were still alive.
Experts described the sustained levels of pandemic disinformation as a “concentrated offensive” and a “Chinese Communist Party (CCP) pressure test against Taiwan.”
Indeed, Google Taiwan chief government affairs and public policy Anita Chen (陳幼臻) said that a survey conducted by the company showed that more than 80% of Taiwanese agreed that they had received information. wrong.
Yet less than 10 percent of them had participated in any media literacy program, although 90 percent of them agreed the issue was important.
However, Google itself has come under close scrutiny on charges it has allowed disinformation to proliferate unchecked.
In March, its CEO Sundar Pichai was called to appear before a US Congressional hearing on the matter, and a debate is underway in Washington over whether to revoke legal protections that prevent tech companies from being held accountable. disinformation published on their platforms.