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Billionaires Hoffman and Soros Back Company Combating Disinformation Run By Democratic Strategist

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Topline

Good Information, which claims it will fund companies that fight the crisis in disinformation plaguing the media, launched Tuesday with backing from billionaires including Reid Hoffman and George Soros, Axios reports, and will be run by a former Democratic strategist best known for battling Donald Trump.

Key Facts

Good Information plans to fund and partner with new and existing media companies that tackle the rise of disinformation online by focusing on fact-based information.

Tara McGowan, former Democratic strategist and formerly of the non-profit Acronym—which ran a $100 million digital ad campaign against Trump—will lead Good Information.

Good Information launches with a multi-million dollar seed investment led by LinkedIn co-founder Hoffman and joined by Soros, and Incite Ventures, Axios reports.

While Good Information is backed by progressives, McGowan said the group could invest in any company, as long as it supports fact-based information.

As part of the funding, Good Information will acquire Courier Newsroom, a locally targeted news group regularly criticized for supplying only a partisan viewpoint, from Acronym.

The group’s first goal is to raise awareness of ways to fight disinformation before it spreads, according to McGowan.

Crucial Quote

“The information crisis we’re in is so much bigger than politics,” McGowan said to Axios.

Chief Critic

As Vox pointed out, critics complain that Courier Newsroom has “functioned more like an arm of the Democratic Party than a traditional publication, further muddying the waters for consumers seeking unbiased information.”

Surprising Fact

McGowan’s former non-profit, Acronym, funded for-profit companies that built technology solutions for progressive causes, which Hoffman also backed. Acronym is tied to Shadow, the developer of the app behind the disruption at the 2020 Iowa Caucus.

Key Background

The announcement comes as the latest instance of billionaires backing the fight against disinformation online. CraigsList founder Craig Newmark has invested millions through his non-profit to bolster factual reporting, and former Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer founded USAFacts, a non-profit dedicated to making sense of government data.

Tangent

Soros, a billionaire whose wealth Forbes estimates at $8.6 billion, has become a regular target for right-wing commentators for his backing of progressive liberal causes. Numerous conspiracy theorists target Soros for his own Open Society Foundation, which has spent billions on efforts to support democracy and human rights in over 100 countries worldwide. An explosive device was found outside Soros’ home in 2018. No one was hurt during the incident.

Further Reading

Exclusive: Billionaires Back New Media Firm to Combat Disinformation (Axios)

Craig, the Billionaire Behind CraigsList, is Spending Nearly $200 Million to Save Journalism, Beat President Trump and End Information Warfare (Forbes)