The Verge’s John Gruber is reporting that Google, Microsoft, and Twitter have agreed to pay publishers $1.5 billion each to remove fake news, in an agreement that the companies say will keep users informed about news.
The agreement comes in response to the public outcry over fake news on the internet, and comes at a time when social media companies are also being forced to pay companies to remove “fake news.”
“We believe that this is a key first step in creating a more open and transparent world,” the three companies wrote in the agreement.
“We expect that this agreement will serve as a model for others to follow, as the internet is changing and we have to make it more open, transparent, and reliable.”
The three companies also said that their work will help to “enable the public to get more informed about the world around them, both online and offline.”
The agreement is part of a larger effort by Facebook, Google, and others to “protect the people and the future of democracy and information technology,” which they argue has been under threat by “fake” news.
“Fake news is a problem we have been struggling with for years,” Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg wrote in a statement.
“It has become increasingly clear that it has a serious impact on our democracy, and it is important to get it right.”
The deal also comes as Congress looks to extend funding for social media platforms, and also as the Trump administration has been moving toward a “fake facts” approach to combating misinformation online.
“As a result of the efforts of publishers and publishers’ allies, the president has directed the Federal Trade Commission to issue a report this week that will look at the issue of fake news,” Facebook said in a letter sent to lawmakers on Tuesday.
“I am grateful for the work that the publishers and their allies have done in order to ensure that we can work together to ensure the internet remains free and open.”
The companies also pointed out that they “will continue to invest in research and development in the areas of digital media, public opinion research, and community engagement.”