The Markup Takes On Tech Inequities with $2.5 Million Grant from the Ford Foundation

The Markup, a mission-driven media organization investigating how technology is reshaping society, has been awarded a $2.5 million grant from the Ford Foundation, an independent, nonprofit grant-making organization on the front-lines of social change worldwide. This grant is a part of its prestigious Social Bond initiative, supporting critical, pioneering organizations working to build a more just, equitable world.

In the competitive world of media, The Markup is a new kind of public service organization using data-driven reporting, hard-hitting investigations, and explore-it-yourself tools to help everyone from consumers to policymakers to executives interrogate their relationships with technology.

“This generous grant from the Ford Foundation helps us reveal the ways that technology operates as the invisible architecture for our world,” shared Nabiha Syed, president of The Markup.”We need hard facts to answer the hard questions we face about technology. Consumers, who have become increasingly dependent on technology during the pandemic, need more agency over the technology that dominates their daily lives. That’s where The Markup comes in. Through our journalism and our business practices, we show people that a better way is possible.”

With this grant, The Markup will develop its privacy-forward analytics approach and continue its one-of-a-kind investigative journalism. The Markup has already made waves with tools like Citizen Browser, a custom web browser that measures how disinformation travels across social media platforms and Blacklight, a website privacy inspector which uncovers the third-party user-tracking technologies that businesses are using on their sites.

“Emerging technologies too often exacerbate inequality, following broader social patterns of privilege and power,” said Lori McGlinchey, director of the Technology and Society program at the Ford Foundation. “The Markup’s peerless efforts to investigate and unpack the accelerating pace of technology’s impact on society, and to hold Big Tech accountable to the values of democracy and equality, has never been more urgent. The Ford Foundation is proud to support The Markup at this crucial moment.”

In 2019, The Markup welcomed Nabiha Syed as the organization’s first president, in advance of the publication’s launch in February 2020. Previously, she was vice president and associate general counsel at BuzzFeed, and the organization’s first newsroom lawyer, as well as a First Amendment Fellow at The New York Times. The Markup has attracted almost $10 million of support since its launch. Additional supporters of The Markup’s work include Craig Newmark Philanthropies, Arizona Community Foundation, Arnold Ventures, Luminate, Omidyar, Reset, the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation, Open Society Foundations, Park Foundation, and New Venture Fund.

The Markup was founded by Pulitzer-Prize winning investigative reporter Julia Angwin in 2018. Since then, its newsroom has earned a reputation for developing sophisticated custom forensic tools to uncover previously out-of-reach, public interest insights about how technology is reshaping society, and then bringing those insights to life through thoroughly researched, award-winning stories.

“As algorithms creep into every crevice of every industry, their impact extends into all aspects of our daily lives,” said The Markup editor-in-chief and founder, Julia Angwin. “Too often that impact erodes personal liberties and perpetuates social inequities. Public accountability is the fix and that starts with investigative journalism. We’re grateful to the Ford Foundation for backing The Markup’s work to hold Big Tech to account.”

To learn more about The Markup, visit: www.themarkup.org or follow on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram.

About The Markup

The Markup is a nonprofit newsroom that investigates how powerful institutions are using technology to change our society. The Markup is a new kind of media organization, staffed with an unparalleled roster of quantitative journalists who pursue meaningful, data-driven investigations.

About The Ford Foundation

The Ford Foundation is an independent, nonprofit grant-making organization. For more than 80 years it has worked with courageous people on the frontlines of social change worldwide, guided by its mission to strengthen democratic values, reduce poverty and injustice, promote international cooperation, and advance human achievement. With headquarters in New York, the foundation has offices in Latin America, Africa, the Middle East, and Asia.