James Murdoch, son of News Corp. founder Rupert Murdoch, is investing in a start-up accelerator aimed at supporting tech companies that want to fight fake news and develop a “more sustainable news ecosystem.”
The younger Murdoch’s Lupa Systems, a holding company that he founded after he exited his chief executive post at 21st Century Fox in the wake of last year’s Disney/Fox deal, is teaming up on the project with Betaworks, a company that has made seed and early-stage investments in such platforms as Twitter, Bitly and Medium.
Called Betalab, the program will combine investments in companies working to “fix the Internet” with a series of workshops and events intended to generate activity around those companies.
According to John Borthwick, who founded Betaworks in 2008, the goal of Betalab is to develop “tech that fixes and inoculates us against information collapse.”
In a March 5 Medium post, Borthwick said Betalab will initially focus on areas that include: protecting, detecting or authenticating synthetic media or data; building platforms that address such “negative outcomes” of social media networks as abuse, spam and disinformation; developing products to let consumers manage their personal data and privacy; and creating identity and authentication tools.
James Murdoch has taken an increasingly divergent media approach from his father since walking away from his company. In January, James and his wife chastised News Corp for its promotion of climate change skeptics as wildfires tore through Australia.