European media is reporting that Agence France-Presse (AFP) and Google France have launched a program to fight disinformation in the run-up to the French presidential elections next year. According to a Euractiv report:
December 6, 2021 The programme entitled “Objectif Désinfox” aims to better equip journalists against the risk of disinformation that could pollute the next presidential election, the first round of which will take place in April. Media that are members of this new alliance will be offered thematic training courses from mid-January. The courses will focus on digital investigation tools, like fact-checking and monitoring. “I call on newsrooms to take an interest in this programme, the training aspect of which will enable their journalists to become more agile behind their screens and to devote the time thus regained to the field,” AFP CEO Fabrice Fries said in a statement. A collaborative platform will also be created to allow journalists to exchange, report false or misleading content and share fact-checked content between participating newsrooms. This is similar to what Meta, formerly known as Facebook, does with its 80 fact-checker media partners, including Le Monde‘s Les Décodeurs, AFP, 20 Minutes and France24 in France.
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We reported last month that France had created an office to counter foreign media manipulation called VigiNum, which began operating in October and has an annual budget of 12 million Euros.
In October, we reported on several initiatives by the European Commission and the European Parliament to counter foreign influence operations and disinformation.