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TNI to tackle Covid-19 misinformation

March 27, 2020

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, said: “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 at 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.”

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