Google is adding fact check information to its images globally to help users make more informed judgements about what they see on the web. The latest feature builds on the fact check results in Search and News first launched in 2017.
Moving forward, users will see a “fact check” label under the thumbnail image results. When they tap one of the results to view the image in a larger format, they will see a summary of the fact check that appears on the underlying web page. Group product manager, search, Harris Cohen, said these labels may appear both for fact check articles about the specific images and for fact check articles that include an image in the story.
According to him, fact check labels appear on results that come from independent, authoritative sources on the web that meet Google’s criteria. Among the list of requirements include the content clearly stating which claims are being checked, conclusions about the claims, how the conclusions were reached, and citations and primary sources of information.
Cohen added that the sources rely on ClaimReview, an open method used by publishers to indicate fact check content to search engines. YouTube also leverages ClaimReview to surface fact check information panels in Brazil, India and the US.
“Just as is the case in Search, adding this label in Google Images results does not affect ranking; our systems are designed to surface the most relevant, reliable information available, including from sources that provide fact checks,” Cohen explained. In April this year, Google recognised the importance of fact checkers by providing US$6.5 million in funding to them and non-profits fighting misinformation globally, with an immediate focus on COVID-19.
Google’s latest offering comes at a time when there is a rise in deepfakes. Last year, a Malaysian minister denied his involvement in a viral gay sex video, which later prompted speculation that deepfake technology was at work. Separately, Facebook also declined to remove a doctored video of US House Speaker Nancy Pelosi last May that made her seem drunk, according to The Washington Post and The Guardian. Meanwhile, FakeApp, an application that applies AI-generated facial reconstructions on videos, also gained worldwide attention when a user created a fake video of former US President Barack Obama insulting the incumbent Donald Trump.
Separately, in its latest attempt at taking on Pinterest, Google recently rolled out a new app, Keen, which allows users to curate content they love, share their collection with others and find new content based on what they have saved. According to Google, each collection is known as a “keen” and they can be made private or public, allowing users to control what is shared and who can contribute.
For every keen created, the company will use Google Search to remain on the lookout for related content. “The more you save to a keen and organise it, the better the recommendations become. Even if you are not an expert on a topic, you can start curating a keen and save a few interesting ‘gems’ or links that you find helpful,” Google said.
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