eBay founder Pierre Omidyar recently announced plans to donate $100 million to fund investigative journalism and combat “hate speech” on the internet.
The Telegraph reports that Pierre Omidyar plans to tackle what he refers to as the “global trust deficit” by funding projects worldwide. Over the next three years, $100 million will be granted to projects through the Omidyar Network, a philanthropic investment firm created by Omidyar and his wife in 2004 which so far has committed as much as $1 billion to causes they deem worthy of funding.
One of the first recipients to receive funding as part of Omidyar’s pledge is the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists which will receive $4.5 million in funding. The Anti-Defamation League will also receive funding to assist in the construction of their new center in Silicon Valley to apparently fight trolls on the internet.
Stephen King, a partner at the Omidyar Network, said, “What we’ve seen over the last 12 months particularly has been an increase in distrust — distrust in government institutions, in the media, and in social media. This new commitment is to provide funding for organizations that are trying to restore trust.”
“The $100 million will be dedicated to supporting independent media, tackling misinformation and hate speech, and looking at ways in which technology can help repair relationships between citizens and government.” said King, “Rumour has become the new currency and people are much more focused on believing what their peers say, and what their own political beliefs are telling them.”
“We’re trying to expose people as much as possible to a variety of different ways of accessing information and checking sources,” King stated. The $100 million pledged by Omidyar will be distributed mostly to countries in which free speech is under direct threat, We take it for granted sometimes in the UK and in the US, but in many countries around the world you don’t have that tradition of impartial, independent media that isn’t state-run or captured by corporate interests,” said King.
Further details on the fund will be announced a the Skoll World Forum in Oxford, England today.