Google’s New Anti-misinformation Project

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    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.

    Key Points

    • About the Initiative:
      • Cutting at root: 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.
      • Collaboration: 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.
      • Awareness: 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. 
      • Anticipated results: The company’s recent research on the subject suggested viewers were 5% more likely to identify misinformation after watching such videos. Results are expected to be published in summer 2023.
    • Experiment in Countries:
      • Europe: 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.
      • India: 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.
        • Like other countries, misinformation spreads rapidly across India, mostly through social media, creating political and religious tensions.
    • Government of India’s Actions:
      • Blocking channels: 
        • 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.
      • Messaging services: 
        • 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.

     

    About Misinformation /Fake News (Yellow Journalism)

    • It refer to false propaganda published under the guise of authentic news.
    • It is deliberately created to misinform the readers.
    • Fake news can be propagated through any media: print, electronic and social.

    Effects 

    • It is a potential disaster.
    • It can be used to influence public opinions.
    • It polarizes public opinion and affects political institutions
    • It affects social & communal harmony .

    Challenges in controlling

    • No standard definition
    • Lack of regulation
    • Difficult to achieve balance

    Way Ahead

    • The government should bring out a draft seeking an opinion from stakeholders regarding issues of controlling fake news.
    • Social media houses should also come forward to bring in measures to curb the menace of fake news such as Facebook recently announced that it has tied up with Boom Live, an Indian fact-checking agency, to fight fake news during the Karnataka elections.
    • People must be made aware of the menace of fake news, its dissemination.

    Source: IE