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Trusted News Initiative to fight coronavirus misinformation

Shared alert system enables partners to flag potentially harmful content

The Trusted News Initiative (TNI) will help identify false and potentially harmful coronavirus information, the European Broadcasting Union (EBU) has said.

TNI is an industry collaboration of major news and tech organisations, set up last year to protect audiences and users from disinformation.

Now the partnership will extend its efforts by putting in place a shared alert system, enabling partners to flag erroneous content so it can be promptly reviewed by platforms and publishers.

Any critical alerts will be disseminated to EBU Members by the EBU’s News Unit, according to the organisation.

The TNI comprises the BBC, Facebook, Google/YouTube, Twitter, Microsoft, AFP, Reuters, EBU, Financial Times, The Wall Street Journal, The Hindu, CBC/Radio-Canada, First Draft and Reuters Institute for the Study of Journalism.

Tony Hall, BBC DG 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.”

EBU DG Noel Curran 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.”