Search engine giant, Google, has disclosed plans to tackle the spread of fake news and misinformation on coronavirus with a $6.5 million fund.
Google reportedly wants to use the fund to help fact-checking organizations, who have been affected by the pandemic, and are now operating on relatively small budgets.
According to Alexios Mantzarlis who serves as the News and Information Credibility Lead at Google News Lab, many fact-checking organizations have recently witnessed a surge in demand for their work. This is amid wide-spreading misinformation about the pandemic, even as people try to clarify the rumours. He said:
“Uncertainty and fear make us all more susceptible to inaccurate information, so we’re supporting fact-checkers as they address heightened demand for their work.”
Fact-checkers are already being engaged around the globe. Examples of them include Full Fact and Maldita.es, CORRECTIV, LatamChequea, and health fact-checkers, PolitiFact and Kaiser Health News, amongst others.
Meanwhile, Google also disclosed that an online resource hub dedicated to the training reporters covering COVID-19 would be provided. In addition, a network will be provided for the sole purpose of enabling newsrooms and reporters to address fake news content about the disease.
For journalists covering COVID-19 stories, Google would ensure they have access to primary expert sources. This is due to the importance of referencing public health professionals in their stories.
“We also want to do more to surface fact-checks that address potentially harmful health misinformation more prominently to our users, We’re experimenting with how to best include a dedicated fact-check section in the COVID-19 Google News experience,” Mantzarlis said.
Recall that Facebook recently announced a $100 million investment to assist media houses as they get through the downsides of the Coronavirus pandemic. Nairametrics earlier reported that the fund was divided into two parts –$25 million in emergency grant funding for local news through the Facebook Journalism Project, and $75 million in additional support to news organizations around the world.
It is expected to be an intervention for news reportage due to decline in ad revenues.
Joe Biden sworn-in as the 46th President of the United States
The whole world watched in awe as Joe Biden was sworn in as the new President of the United States.
Joe Biden has been sworn in as the 46th President of the United States.
The 78-year-old Democrat and former Vice president to Barack Obama is being sworn in after emerging the winner of last year’s Presidential elections.
Biden’s running mate, Kamala Devi Harris was sworn in as vice president by Justice Sonia Sotomayor, becoming the first woman and the first black and Asian-American person elevated to serve in a role a heartbeat from the presidency.
The inauguration took place at the US Capitol, the same building that was stormed on January 6, by Donald Trump’s violent supporters.
Trump who for months refused to conceded to Biden’s victory at the polls left the White House for the final time hours earlier and flew to Florida after making it clear weeks ago that he will not be attending the inauguration.
Trump’s Vice, Mike Pence attended the ceremony, as he skipped Trump’s farewell military salute event at Andrews base.
The ceremony includes musical performances by Lady Gaga – who sang the national anthem – as well as Jennifer Lopez and Garth Brooks.
Former Presidents; Barack Obama, George W. Bush and Bill Clinton were all present at the inuaguration
What you should know
- At 78, Biden is the oldest president ever to take the oath of office.
- In his speech, Biden swore to defend the constitution and the country “against all enemies, foreign and domestic”.
- History was made as Kamala Harris became America’s first female, first Black and first Asian American vice-president.
- Donald Trump skipped the ceremony, becoming the first president not to attend his successor’s inauguration since 1869.
Joe Biden to return United States to WHO on first day as President
In-coming US President, Joe Biden has resolved to immediately return the country back to the WHO after his inauguration.
The US President-elect Joe Biden plans to immediately return back the country to the World Health Organization (WHO) on the first day after his inauguration as he intends to make a sweeping review of the policies of outgoing President, Donald Trump.
This is as he intends to send top US medical expert Anthony Fauci to speak to the group in a strong rejection of Donald Trump’s snubs and criticisms during the coronavirus pandemic.
This disclosure is contained in a fact sheet released by President-elect Joe Biden’s transition team.
According to a report by Bloomberg, the incoming administration plans to take part in the WHO executive board meeting this week, with Fauci, the top U.S. infectious disease expert, heading the delegation and speaking.
The statement says that as soon as the United States resumes its engagement with the WHO, the new administration will work with the body to strengthen and reform the UN health agency.
What this means
- With these announced plans, the Joe Biden administration is showing that it intends to set a new science-based tone in seeking to reverse Donald Trump’s dismissal of strategies to mitigate the virus as well as seek international cooperation in addressing the pandemic.
- It also further reinforces the incoming President’s earlier criticism of Trump’s handling of the pandemic especially in the early days rather than laying blames.
What you should know
- It can be recalled that President Donald Trump in May 2020, announced that the US would exit the WHO because of what he said was its undue deference to China and failure to provide accurate information about the coronavirus.
- He often referred to the UN health agency as being controlled by China and criticized their handling of the coronavirus pandemic.
- The US had been the WHO’s largest contributor, providing $400 million to $500 million in mandatory and voluntary contributions annually, with Trump’s last year decision drawing sharp criticism in Congress, as well as from allies in Europe.
Donald Trump and Joe Biden clash over plans to lift travel ban on UK, EU, Brazil
Joe Biden’s incoming administration has dismissed plans by President Donald Trump to lift the coronavirus-related travel bans for non-American citizens.
The incoming administration of President-elect Joe Biden has dismissed plans by the outgoing President, Donald Trump to lift the coronavirus-related travel bans for non-American citizens arriving from the European Union, the U.K. and Brazil, which means the curbs will stay in effect.
This follows the announcement from Trump in the White House on Monday that the bans could be lifted because of the administration’s last week’s decision to require international travellers to present either the results of a negative recent coronavirus test or evidence that they had already recovered from the disease. The change would go into effect starting Jan. 26, six days after Biden takes office.
However, the announcement by Donald Trump was rejected as Joe Biden’s Spokeswoman, Jen Psaki, in a tweet post, disclosed that the incoming administration plans to block the outgoing US President’s move according to a report from Bloomberg.
What Joe Biden’s spokeswoman is saying
- Psaki in her statement, tweeted, “On the advice of our medical team, the Administration does not intend to lift these restrictions on 1/26. In fact, we plan to strengthen public health measures around international travel in order to further mitigate the spread of COVID-19.’’
She said that with the worsening pandemic and more contagious variant emerging globally, this is not the time to be lifting restrictions on international travel.
What President Donald Trump has said
Trump, in a White House announcement, had pointed out that the international travel restrictions could be eased safely.
- Trump in a proclamation said, “This action is the best way to continue protecting Americans from Covid-19 while enabling travel to resume safely. Under his plan, travel bans would remain in place for China and Iran, the White House said, citing their “lack of cooperation” with the U.S. in fighting the virus.’’
The recent decision by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to require a negative Covid-19 test for people arriving in the U.S. from other countries was not directly linked to the travel ban but was seen as a way to impose safety restrictions that would allow for a resumption of travel.
Despite the surge in Covid-19 infections, experts conclude that allowing people into this country from other nations wouldn’t pose a significant risk, especially with new testing requirements.
What you should know
- It can be recalled that President Donald Trump had initially announced the restrictions on March 11 in the early days of the pandemic on nearly all non-US citizens who had travelled to 28 EU countries, China and Iran, as part of the bid to curb the spread of the virus.
- Brazil was later included in the travel ban on May 25 and applies to any foreign nationals who had been in any of those nations within the previous 14 days.