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Trusted News Initiative announces plans to tackle harmful coronavirus disinformation

27 March 2020
Trusted News Initiative announces plans to tackle harmful coronavirus disinformation

An industry collaboration of major news and tech organizations will work together to rapidly identify and stop the spread of harmful coronavirus disinformation.
The Trusted News Initiative (TNI) was set up last year to protect audiences and users from disinformation, particularly around moments of jeopardy, such as elections. The TNI complements existing programmes partners have in place.

Now the partnership will extend its efforts to identifying false and potentially harmful coronavirus information by putting in place a shared alert system.
Partners will be able to alert each other to disinformation about coronavirus so that content can be reviewed promptly by platforms, whilst publishers ensure they don’t unwittingly republish disinformation.
Alerts will also flag up content that undermines trust in partner news providers by identifying imposter content which claims to come from trusted brand identities or sources.

The Eurovision Social Newswire team, which looks after mining digital and social content from the web, is in direct contact with the TNI framework. Any critical alerts will be disseminated to EBU Members by the EBU’s News Unit. 
The partners within the Trusted News Initiative are: BBC, Facebook, Google/YouTube, Twitter, Microsoft, AFP, Reuters, European Broadcasting Union (EBU), Financial Times, The Wall Street Journal, The Hindu, CBC/Radio-Canada, First Draft, Reuters Institute for the Study of Journalism.
Tony Hall, Director-General of the BBC and EBU President, says: “The BBC and all our partners feel an urgent sense of responsibility to give everybody the very best, most accurate information, we can during this time of crisis.  It's vital that we all have access to the facts so we know how to protect ourselves, our friends and families. 

"These are challenging times for each and every one of us.  We'll do everything we can, working together, to stop disinformation about coronavirus in its tracks."

Noel Curran, Director-General, EBU added: “During emergencies of this magnitude, the need for trusted, factual, evidence-based reporting is more crucial than ever. Yet there is a tide of misinformation and bad information, driven mainly through online social platforms, which is threatening to undermine public trust and cause further anxiety for people. This initiative underlines the role of public service media in tackling misinformation head-on and delivering accurate content that audiences can safely rely on.”

Justyna Kurczabinska, Head of Eurovision News Exchange, is the EBU’s point of contact for the overall initiative; Luis Jimenez, Digital News Lead, is following the Media Literacy stream; and Derek Bowler, Head of Social Newsgathering, and Jenny Hauser of the Eurovision Social Newswire are following the fact-checking stream.

Relevant links and documents


Jo Waters

Head of Content Communications