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Facebook, Ford, AppNexus and more team up for $14m fake news initiative

Alex Spencer
Facebook's fake news reporting tool, introduced in Germany

Facebook, Ford and an assortment of tech firms, academic institutions and other organisations have teamed up to found the News Integrity Initiative, an attempt to combat the fake news epidemic.

The Initiative’s mission is ‘to advance news literacy, to increase trust in journalism around the world, and to better inform the public conversation’. According to Facebook head of news partnerships Campbell Brown: “The initiative will address the problems of misinformation, disinformation and the opportunities the internet provides to inform the public conversation in new ways.”

The News Integrity Initiative will be run as an independent project by the CUNY Graduate School of Journalism, and is supported by a $14m (£11m) investment, which will be used to fund applied research and projects, and convene meetings with industry experts.

The 10 companies contributing to this fund include AppNexus, Mozilla and Betaworks, as well as Facebook and the Ford Foundation.

“As part of the Facebook Journalism Project, we want to give people the tools necessary to be discerning about the information they see online,” said Facebook’s Brown. “Improving news literacy is a global concern, and this diverse group assembled by CUNY brings together experts from around the world to work toward building more informed communities.”

This is just one part of Facebook's ongoing efforts to overcome the platform's issues with fake news, which have been particular apparent since last year's US election.

In January,  Facebook updated the algorithm behind its 'Trending Topics' news section, and in February, announced a partnership with Google and First Draft to combat fake news in the run-up to the French election. Last month, after initial tests in Germany, it started to roll out a tool for flagging potential fake news.

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