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Google News Initiative (GNI)

Contributor(s): Matthew Haughn

Google News Initiative (GNI) is a cooperative effort between Google and a number of large traditional news media providers to restore viewership of these channels as a claimed effort to support authoritative journalism.

Members of the initiative include the New York Times, the Washington Post, the Financial Times, HEARST, South China Morning Post and many other major news providers as well as numerous partners in advertising.

The initiative commits $300 million towards the promotion of the partner channels as established authoritative sources of news. At the same time, sites deemed disreputable or purveyors of fake news are reduced in visibility but Google claims not removed altogether from visibility from google search results.

It is common SEO knowledge that users rarely browse past the first page of results. Considering this information and that a number of other search engines base their results off Google, this de-ranking effectively hides them from the internet for many. This degree control allows Google to shut off a website, making a site almost as hidden as sites on the deep web.

Because of Google's overwhelming search engine authority, critics of the initiative point to the effective censorship of free speech the platform affords and its anti-competitive nature. The political bias of the initiative is also questioned by some news organizations outside the initiatives loop.

This was last updated in April 2019

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