Our Story

Disinformation has become a business. Today’s internet business models reward engagement above all else. These models monetise attention without considering the quality of the content garnering that attention, or the harm that may result. There is a robust and growing community of industry, policy, and civil society advocates pressing for reform of this ecosystem, they all need data to inform their actions.

The Global Disinformation Index was born out of this need for data, specifically the need for transparent, independent neutral disinformation risk ratings across the open web. GDI’s founders recognised early on that in order to disrupt the business model of disinformation, commercial companies, researchers and policymakers alike need access to independent ratings of news sites’ disinformation risk. These risk ratings are then used by advertising technology companies to ensure advertisers money and brands do not end up supporting high risk websites. Stakeholders also need strong and consistent leadership to help navigate the ever changing disinformation landscape.

Thus, GDI was established in 2018 as a not-for-profit entity built on the three pillars of neutrality, independence and transparency.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is GDI's global coverage?

As of June 2023, GDI has assessed more than 700 million websites content in over 40 languages and has evaluated websites visited by users from more than 150 countries.

Our machine learning models assess content in more than 13 languages. Ratings in other languages use a more manual approach. This combines the linguistic expertise of GDI employees and third party research partners with the use of translation tools. We understand that translation tools have certain limitations so, when these are used, we assess additional pieces of content to negate any potential translation issues.

  • Machine learning coverage: English, French, German, Spanish, Italian, Portuguese, Russian, Ukrainian, Korean, Japanese, Vietnamese, Chinese (traditional), Chinese (simplified).
  • Other notable languages: Arabic, Czech, Dutch, Serbian, Polish, Croatian, Estonian, Macedonian, Romanian, Swedish, Persian.

Who funds GDI?

GDI is a not-for-profit organisation. This means that all income is reinvested in support of our mission to defund disinformation. No single funder accounts for more than one third of GDI’s total income. 

Because disinformation risk ratings are a market-demanded solution to protect brand safety, GDI is funded by ad tech licensees of its dynamic exclusion list. Funding for GDI’s research is also provided by philanthropic organisations who seek expert analysis of the level of disinformation risk present in a country’s online news media market. We also receive funding from governments for specific internationally-focused research projects. 

To maintain independence, GDI does not accept funding from any news publisher or content producer.

Why does GDI work with governments?

The majority of GDI’s work is about identifying sites that are supported by hostile state actors. As such, GDI is periodically contracted by governments to conduct academic studies of the news ecosystems in countries under the influence of authoritarian regimes, such as China and Russia. Disinformation propagated by authoritarian governments and their allies has escalated since Russia’s 2022 invasion of Ukraine. Combatting disinformation is therefore critical to national security and protecting democracies around the world. GDI has never worked with—and will never work with— any government to conduct research into that government’s own country.

GDI's 2022 Income by type, showing

What does GDI do with the funding it receives?

GDI is a not-for-profit organisation. This means that all income is reinvested in support of our mission to defund disinformation. This is key to supporting the independence pillar. We operate via registered charities in the US and Europe and a Limited company in the UK.  The financial reports for these entities are publicly available.

A table showing GDI's Latest Published Surplus

Who works at GDI?

GDI is a small, independent, global not-for-profit organisation. GDI employs a diverse mix of personnel and in some instances works with local partners to ensure that the Neutrality pillar is properly reflected in our work.

A pie chart showing the gender breakdown of GDI staff
A pie chart showing the age range distribution of GDI staff
A pie chart showing the ethnic makeup of GDI staff
A pie chart showing the geographical distribution of GDI staff


GDI is non-political, nonpartisan, and global in nature. We operate and partner in dozens of countries and with a variety of organisations, all united in combating disinformation and its harms.


GDI does not take funding from media companies or grants from technology companies. Our funding comes from a wide range of sources including governments, foundations and licencing our data to those who can use it to defund disinformation.


Many of our research methodologies and findings are made public, as are our funding sources. We also operate an open appeals process for sites that wish to contest their risk assessment.

Our Founders

Clare Melford

Clare is the Co-founder & CEO of The Global Disinformation Index. An experienced CEO in the commercial and not-for-profit sectors, Clare was formerly CEO of the International Business Leaders Forum and MD of MTV Networks, Nordics. Currently, Clare also serves on the Global Growth Board for the Conscious Advertising Network and on the board of EDMO. Clare was a founding board member of Girls not Brides, the global coalition to end child marriage.

Dr. Daniel Rogers

Dr. Daniel J. Rogers is the Co-founder and Executive Director of The Global Disinformation Index. Prior to founding GDI, he founded and led Terbium Labs, an information security and dark web intelligence startup and before that worked in the US Intelligence Community. Dr. Rogers also serves as an Adjunct Professor at New York University’s Center for Global Affairs and is a Security Fellow of the Truman National Security Project.


Argosy Foundation
Catena Foundation
UK Foreign Commonwealth & Development Office
Craid Newmark Philanthropies
Knight Foundation
Open Society Foundations
Bohemian Foundation
Disinfo Cloud
European Union (AI4Trust)
German Government (Federal Foreign Office)

Select Partners

Integral Ad Science (IAS)
Queensland University of Technology - Digital Media Research Center
Instituto de Tecnologia e Sociedade do Rio de Janeiro
McGill University Centre for Media Technology and Democracy
Simon Fraser University Digital Democracies Institute
Université Laval Centre d'études sur les médias
Caucasus Research Resources Center
Media Development Foundation
Centre for Internet and Society
Istituto di Informatica e Telematica
Code for Africa
Centre for East European Policy Studies
Centre for Independent Journalism
Data Cívica
Paradigm Initiative
Universidad Carlos III de Madrid
Partnership for Countering Influence Operations
The Asia Research Centre at Universitas Indonesia

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