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NEW DELHI: Google has pledged $6.5 million to support efforts by fact checkers and non-profits working across the world on busting fake news and misinformation around novel coronavirus infection.

Misinformation around cornavirus and covid-19 is rampant, with reports of people trying various things to cure the disease influenced by videos, stories and messages involving food, medicines, and chemicals not approved by medical community.

Several social media platforms including WhatsApp and Facebook Messenger, used widely to spread misinformation, have incorporated chatbots in collaboration with trusted hospitals, World Health Organization, and local and central governments to answer queries related to covid-19.

"Today's announcement is one of several efforts we’re working on to support those covering this pandemic. We look forward to sharing more soon," Alexios Mantzarlis, news and information credibility lead, Google News Lab, said in a statement.

To fight misinformation, Google News Initiative (GNI) is also stepping up its support for First Draft, a non-profit project to fight misinformation online. It was founded in 2015 by Google involving organizations such as Facebook, Twitter and Open Society Foundations (OSF).

First Draft will provide an online resource hub, with dedicated training and crisis simulations for reporters covering covid-19 across the world. They will also assist newsrooms so that they can respond and address fake news.

Google is also giving journalists, health organisations and local authorities access to local Google Trends data so they can understand what readers want to know about covid-19.

Google is also supporting Data Leads in partnership with BOOM Live in India and Africa Check in Nigeria to leverage data from Question Hub. This will be followed by training 1,000 journalists across India and Nigeria to identify health-related misinformation.

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