Google to train 4,000 Mideast journalists amid mounting criticism of tech giants

Google will train 4,000 journalists in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) by the end of next year, a senior executive said at the Arab Media Forum in Dubai.
The news comes as US technology giants come under increasing pressure over their impact on traditional media, the spread of “fake news,” and their wider impact on society.
Carlo Biondo, the regional president of strategic partnerships at Google, told Arab News that it was not too late for Google to help improve its relationship with the media.
“We continuously look at, on each and every product, what we can do to collaborate better with the press,” he said. “It’s never too late if we do the right things together.”
He said that the Google News Initiative will providing training for thousands of journalists in the region.
“Journalists that understand technology better and what technology can do are able to do their jobs better. There’s less costs in doing your work, more effectiveness, more creativity.”
According to a Google blog, the training will be held in partnership with the International Center For Journalists’ local team, IJNET Arabic, and held across six countries in the Middle East.
“In the coming weeks, hundreds of journalists will take part in the first virtual session live from Dubai, from then training workshops will be held in Egypt, Jordan, Lebanon, Saudi Arabia, Tunisia and UAE,” the blog specified.
Many have claimed that Google has thrived at the expensive of the traditional media. Worldwide newspaper industry revenue fell by 30 percent between 2010 and 2015, according to Magna Global, during which time Google’s advertising revenue more than doubled.
The likes of Facebook and Google, which is owned by parent company Alphabet, have also faced a barrage of criticism over their wider impact on society and impact of “fake news” on democracies.
In January, the billionaire investor and philanthropist George Soros told the World Economic Forum in Davos that Facebook and Google have become “powerful monopolies” and are a “menace” to society whose “days are numbered.”
“Mining and oil companies exploit the physical environment; social media companies exploit the social environment,” Soros said, according to a transcript of his speech.
“This is particularly nefarious because social media companies influence how people think and behave without them even being aware of it. This has far-reaching adverse consequences on the functioning of democracy, particularly on the integrity of elections.”

TunisianMonitorOnline (Arab News)

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