Google to host training sessions in 30 Indian cities on online verification, fact-checking

The training will focus on areas like online verification and fact-checking, journalist digital safety and security, using YouTube for election coverage and data visualisation for elections

By Author  |  Published: 21st Feb 2019  8:12 pmUpdated: 25th Feb 2019  8:07 pm

New Delhi:  Ahead of general elections, internet giant Google Thursday said it will conduct training sessions for journalists in 30 Indian cities on online verification and fact-checking in a bid to curb the menace of fake news.

Google has partnered DataLeads and Internews to host the training sessions, the company said in a statement.

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“Google News Initiative will host training sessions in 30 cities between February 26 to April 6 in English, Hindi, Malayalam, Bangla, Kannada, Gujarati, Odia, Tamil, Telugu and Marathi,” the statement said.

The training will focus on areas like online verification and fact-checking, journalist digital safety and security, using YouTube for election coverage and data visualisation for elections, it added.

With ensuing general elections, the Indian government has warned social media platforms of strong action if any attempt was made to influence the country’s electoral process through undesirable means.

The government is also proposing to amend IT rules, wherein social media, online platforms and messaging apps will be made more accountable and be mandated to deploy tools to identify and curb unlawful content as well as follow stricter due diligence practices.

“Since 2016, Google has trained more than 13,000 journalists in India, across over 200 newsrooms and in 40 cities,” Irene Jay Liu, Google News Lab Lead, Asia-Pacific said.

Apart from working journalists and freelancers, the workshop will also be open to journalism students.

Last year, Google had launched the Google News Initiative India Training Network that focuses on online verification and fact-checking. In six months, the network onboarded 241 trainers in seven languages, who have so far trained 5,260 journalists across over 40 cities in India.

For 2019, Google plans to train another 10,000 journalists in India under this programme, the statement said.

Over the last few months, social media players like Facebook, Twitter, and Google have promised to infuse more transparency into political advertisements on their platform, and have since announced a slew of measures as part of election integrity efforts.