The Google News Initiative (GNI) on Tuesday announced a global open fund worth up to $3 million to fight the spread of misinformation around COVID-19 vaccines. 

Called the COVID-19 Vaccine Counter-Misinformation Open Fund, this initiative is intended to support journalistic efforts to effectively fact-check misinformation about the COVID-19 immunization process that specifically seek to support audiences that are underserved by fact-checking or targeted by misinformation. 

“The uncertainty and developing nature of the coronavirus pandemic continues to generate related misinformation. The global rollout of COVID-19 vaccines is exacerbating a perennial problem of misinformation about immunization,” Alexios Mantzarlis, News and Information Credibility Lead at Google News Lab wrote in a blog post.

“While the COVID-19 infodemic has been global in nature, misinformation has also been used to target specific populations. Some of the available research also suggests that the audiences coming across misinformation and those seeking fact checks don’t necessarily overlap.”

The Open Fund will accept applications from projects that want to broaden the audience of fact checks, particularly with those who may be disproportionately affected by misinformation in mind.

Further, news organizations of every size that have a proven track record in fact-checking and debunking activities, or partner with an organization with such recognition can apply for the fund. 

Google said it will prioritize collaborative projects with an interdisciplinary team and clear ways to measure success. This might include a partnership between an established fact-checking project and a media outlet with deep roots in a specific community, or a collaborative technology platform for journalists and doctors to jointly source misinformation and publish fact checks.

Applications will be reviewed by a team of 14 jurors from various areas including academics, media, medicine, and non-profit sectors, as well as representatives from the World Health Organisation.

To find out more information about eligibility criteria and how to apply, please visit the Open Fund’s website to read more.