US tech company Google Inc. on Thursday donated USD 1 million to Taiwan FactCheck Center (TFC) amid growing tensions with China. The USD 1 million will be disbursed over the next three years under Google’s Intelligent Taiwan initiatives to help combat the effects of disinformation, Focus Taiwan reported citing the tech firm statement. According to the publication, Google’s financial input will help fund some 600 workshops and coach 700 trainers, which the company says will benefit 23,000 people.
The tech firm further said that the money will be used to fund workshops for the elderly, people in remote areas, indigenous groups, and newly naturalized citizens in particular. Google said these types of people are more likely to be at a disadvantage in the digital era, and hence more susceptible to disinformation. Under the project, the TFC will collaborate with other domestic groups, such as the National Association for the Promotion of Community Universities, Fakenewscleaner, Taiwan Media Watch, the Association of Quality Journalism and the Center for Media Literacy in Taiwan of National Chengchi University, to educate people and reach more diverse communities, reported Focus Taiwan.
TFC Chairperson Hu Yuan-Hui said that media literacy has never been more important in light of widespread pandemic-related disinformation in Taiwan. “It’s not just a single initiative about fact-checking. It’s a social movement and the participation in and anticipation for democracy,” Focus Taiwan quoted Hu as saying. The move comes at a time when tensions between China and Taiwan are heightened. The relations between China and the US have also deteriorated in recent times due to various reasons including Indo-Pacific and coronavirus pandemic.
China has repeatedly threatened Taiwan with invasion and has adopted an aggressive policy to intimidate the self-governing island. For decades, the Chinese government has claimed authority over Taiwan. Though Taiwan is not recognised by the UN, its government maintains a relationship with the US and does not accept Chinese authority.