Google launches campaign against misinformation in India

Google has announced a new initiative aimed at addressing the spread of misinformation in India, which has been blamed for the rise of violence in the country. 

The latest initiative from Google’s subsidiary, Jigsaw, will use a “prebunking” video feature in an effort to stop false claims before they become more widespread, according to Reuters. 

Jigsaw is also working with partners such as the German-based pro-democracy organization Alfred Landecker Foundation and philanthropic investment firm Omidya Network to produce five videos in three different languages.

Viewers will then be asked to fill out a short questionnaire designed to see what they learned about misinformation after watching those videos. 

In an interview, Jigsaw’s head of research and development, Beth Goldman, told Reuters that the initiative presents “an opportunity to research prebunking in a non-Western, global south market.” 

The Indian initiative will focus on issues that resonate in the country, Goldman told Reuters. “By forewarning individuals and equipping them to spot and refute misleading arguments, they gain resilience to being misled in the future.”

The spread of misinformation on social media platforms has led to an increase in political and religious tensions in India, resulting in its Ministry of Information and Broadcasting blocking some YouTube, Twitter, and Facebook accounts that allegedly spread harmful misinformation. 

Meta Platforms Inc. in 2018 curbed the number of times a message could be forwarded on its messaging platform, WhatsApp, after false claims of child abductors spread on the platform led to more than a dozen people being victims of mass beatings across the country, resulting in some deaths, Reuters noted. 

The Hill has reached out to Google for comment on this story.

Tags Google India Jigsaw misinformation misinformation campaigns WhatsApp
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