Exclusive-Google launches anti-misinformation campaign in India

  • In US
  • 2022-12-06 11:11:51Z
  • By Reuters

By Supantha Mukherjee and Martin Coulter

STOCKHOLM/LONDON (Reuters) - Google's Jigsaw subsidiary is launching a new anti-misinformation project in India, aimed at preventing misleading information that has been blamed for inciting violence, a top executive said.

The initiative will use "prebunking" videos - designed to counter false claims before they become widespread - circulated on the company's YouTube platform and other social media sites.

Google's efforts to challenge the spread of misinformation mark a contrast with rival Twitter which is cutting its trust and safety teams, despite new owner Elon Musk saying it will not become a "free-for-all hellscape".

Google recently conducted an experiment in Europe where it sought to counter anti-refugee narratives online in the wake of the Russian invasion of Ukraine.

The experiment in India will be bigger in scope as it will deal with multiple local languages -- Bengali, Hindi and Marathi -- and cover diverse sections of a country populated by over a billion people.

"This presented an opportunity to research prebunking in a non-western, global south market," said Beth Goldman, Jigsaw's head of research and development.

Like other countries, misinformation spreads rapidly across India, mostly through social media, creating political and religious tensions.

Indian government officials have called on tech companies such as Google, Meta, and Twitter to take stronger action against the spread of fake news.

The Ministry of Information and Broadcasting (I&B) has repeatedly invoked "extraordinary powers" to block YouTube channels, and some Twitter and Facebook accounts, allegedly used to spread harmful misinformation.

Inflammatory messages have also spread via Meta's messaging service Whatsapp, which has more than 200 million users in India. In 2018, the company curbed the number of times a message could be forwarded, after false claims about child abductors led to mass beatings of more than a dozen people, some of whom died.

Working in collaboration with the Alfred Landecker Foundation, a pro-democracy organization based in Germany, the philanthropic investment firm Omidya Network India, and a number of smaller regional partners, Jigsaw has produced five videos in three different languages.

After watching the videos, viewers will be asked to fill in a short multiple-choice questionnaire, designed to gauge what they have learned about misinformation. The company's recent research on the subject suggested viewers were 5% more likely to identify misinformation after watching such videos.

The Indian initiative will focus on issues that resonate in the country, Goldman added.

"By forewarning individuals and equipping them to spot and refute misleading arguments, they gain resilience to being misled in the future."

Results are expected to be published in summer 2023.

(Reporting by Supantha Mukherjee and Martin Coulter; Editing by Matt Scuffham and David Evans)


More Related News

YouTube says homepage back up after brief outage
YouTube says homepage back up after brief outage
  • US
  • 2023-02-09 02:49:03Z

"The YouTube Homepage should be back for all of your video needs", YouTube said. Data on Downdetector showed that at the peak of the outage, more than...

Twitter scrambles to fix meltdown as many unable to tweet
Twitter scrambles to fix meltdown as many unable to tweet
  • US
  • 2023-02-09 00:42:16Z

Many Twitter users found themselves unable to tweet, follow accounts or access their direct messages on Wednesday as the Elon Musk-owned platform experienced...

Twitter outage leaves some users unable to tweet
Twitter outage leaves some users unable to tweet
  • US
  • 2023-02-08 23:45:47Z

Twitter was down for about 9,000 users in the United States at 5 p.m. Eastern time, according to outage tracking website Downdetector.com. The bug comes as ...

Investors' query: Can Google answer Microsoft's AI threat?
  • US
  • 2023-02-08 21:13:05Z

Google, a company built on finding quick answers to people's questions, suddenly finds itself grappling for a response to a potential threat to its internet ...

Chrissy Teigen
Chrissy Teigen's Trump diss takes center stage at House hearing meant to discuss Hunter Biden

Oversight hearing with ex-Twitter executives delved into the platform's handling of a Trump, Chrissy Teigen spat, Covid vaccines, and Hunter Biden's laptop.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked with *

Cancel reply


Top News: US