In its fight against misinformation, Google is expanding a new program called “prebunking.”
The tech giant aimed to release short videos highlighting techniques commonly used when posting misleading information on the internet.
These videos will appear as advertisements and will be posted on sites such as Facebook, youtubeor Tik Tok.
After seeing positive results in trials in Eastern Europe, the campaign is now expanding to Germany, potentially laying the groundwork for its entry into other countries in the future.
So, what is a preposition?
We’ve probably all heard the term “debunk” (exposing false claims).
Well, prevention involves teaching individuals how to spot these false claims before they come across them.
But what does this mean?
“You can think of misinformation as a virus,” said Sander van der Linden, a professor at the University of Cambridge.
“It spreads. It lingers. It can make people behave a certain way.”
He compared the goal of immunization to the goal of a vaccine, to stop its spread, in this case helping people sift through what might be true or not.
Beth Goldberg, director of research and development at Jigsaw, a Google division that focuses on societal challenges, says there is “real interest” in novel solutions.
“We’re thrilled with the results,” she added.
What the hell is Google doing?
Google’s prebunking videos are short and easy to produce, and when placed on popular social media platforms, can be seen by millions of users.
The company hopes they can help curb inaccurate information that often fuels fear, scapegoating, false comparisons and exaggeration.
To test this theory, Google ran a campaign last year in Poland, the Czech Republic and Slovakia.
The videos demonstrate different techniques that have been used in false claims about Ukrainian refugees.
The claims rely on false stories that show refugees committing crimes or taking jobs from locals.
Google’s video has been viewed 38 million times on Facebook, TikTok, YouTube and Twitter.
How Putin is using fake news
Does prebunking really help tackle fake news?
From internet trolls to conspiracy theorists, the internet is undoubtedly home to a wealth of misinformation.
It can be found in reviews, videos, images, etc.
Many platforms attempt to screen and monitor user-generated content according to specific rules and guidelines.
The COVID pandemic is a driving force behind solutions such as prebunking.
On social media, many claimed the virus didn’t exist, while others posted false content about the vaccine and its effects.
Different platforms have taken different approaches, from flagging COVID-related content with empowered health advice and links to resources (a tactic employed by companies like Spotify and YouTube) to removing posts.
However, these methods may only serve to spread misinformation elsewhere – and have also been criticized by some as a means of censorship.Meanwhile, Twitter Anti-COVID misinformation policy dropped last year.
‘Kids should be taught’ to spot fake news
But the hope is that prefabrication — which attempts to address root causes rather than brute force against misinformation — will prove more effective.
The researchers concluded that people who watched the Google video were most likely to recognize misinformation and were less likely to spread it to others.
The expanded campaign in Germany will include a focus on photos and videos – especially important in times of disasters such as earthquakes in Turkey and Syria.