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Google to fund NewsWise to help Canadian students identify fake news

Google to fund NewsWise to help Canadian students identify fake news

India Blooms News Service | @indiablooms | 19 Sep 2017, 10:58 pm
Ottawa, Sep 19 (IBNS): NewsWise, a programme that will help the Canadian students to identify fake news, will be funded by tech-giant Google, media reports said.

Google has decided to provide a grant of $500,000 to the Canadian school programme, NewsWise, with an aim to help the students to understand any misinformation.

Google, through its philanthropic arm, is providing the grant to the Canadian Journalism Foundation (CJF) and CIVIX, a charitable organisation which is focused on youth civic engagement.

One of the recent incidents of fake news occurred in the 2016 U.S. presidential election.

Take Pizzagate, a conspiracy theory, which surfaced in the news domain, prompted a North Carolina man to take law into hands during the 2016 US presidential election.

False reports of mosque shooting were seen to surface in Canada early in 2017.

According to a report of the Star, an Imam, very recently, was surprised to see his image being carried by an article that claims Hurricane Harvey's victims had attacked a Texas mosque that refused to help the Christians.

Canada is presently working to control the fake news across the country as they are heading towards the federal election which will be held in 2019.

Aaron Brindle, Google Canada’s head of public affairs, told the Star: "We see implications for what (fake news) means for a functioning democracy . . . We want to make sure that we’re getting out ahead of it."

NewsWise will be carried out in Ontario for the time being as the province is heading towards its election in 2018.

Gradually, the programme will spread across the country before the federal election in 2019.

CJF and CIVIX have planned to develop the curriculum in tandem.

Commenting on NewsWise, president at CIVIX, Gunn, said: "I don’t think you can have informed citizens that are approaching the ballot box with knowledge and information if those citizens aren’t equipped with those skills to determine what is true or false news — especially at election times, where I think fake news would either be most in existence, or people could be most sensitive to it."

Feeling the urgency to educate the Canadian young generation about fake news, CJF executive director, Natalie Turvey, told the Star: "Canada is vulnerable to fake news. The abundance of information on numerous platforms, the downsizing of Canadian newsrooms, and a dearth of local news creates a perfect storm for the proliferation of misinformation.”

"We need to give (students) the know-how and the skills and knowledge to find and filter information. That’s how we can build a more informed citizenry, folks that are more equipped to make decisions and be more engaged in the democratic process," Turvey added.

(Reporting by Souvik Ghosh)