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Google tackling misinformation on COVID-19

Global tech giant, Google, on Monday said it was ensuring that credible sources of information were elevated on β€˜search engine’ to tackle misinformation on Corona Virus (COVID 19).

Google UK Public Policy Manager, Alina Dimofte, made this known during a virtual meeting on Google Meet with the theme β€˜Trust, Safety, COVID-19 and the Fight Against Misinformation’.

Dimofte said Google was supporting these efforts by ensuring that information from credible sources were elevated on search while misleading information across all its products were detected and removed to prevent a potential spread.

She said that as the world fights against the spread of COVID-19, interest in the disease continued to rise around the world, giving rise to misinformation.

Açcording to her, many organisations and individuals are lending their support to the World Health Organization (WHO) and governments around the world to help curb the spread of false information about the disease online.

β€˜β€™For every fake news article, video or social media post published, there are credible ones available to debunk their claims and present the right information.

β€˜β€™Google is supporting these efforts by ensuring that information from credible sources is elevated on Search while misleading information across all its products is detected and removed to prevent a potential spread.

β€˜β€™On YouTube, where many conspiracy theorists and misinformation merchants target to share videos with false information about COVID-19, all videos about the disease that violate the platform’s community guidelines, including those that encourage dangerous cures and health risks, are immediately taken down,’’she said.

According to her, Google is also preventing advertisements with harmful medical claims.

She said that with the exception of COVID-19-related advertisements from government and NGOs, healthcare providers, and other authorities, β€œGoogle does not allow advertisements that capitalize on sensitive situations such as the coronavirus pandemic.”

She said that there were also community guidelines that tackled volatile content and also prohibited dangerous content even before the COVID-19.

Dimofte said that with the lockdown and working remotely, there was a huge increase in cyber security threat leveraging on the COVID-19 which Google had identified and helped different government to tackle.

Açcording to her, Google has been 99.9 per cent successful in stalling the cyber security threat.

She said to spread the right information, in addition to the combined efforts to ensure the prioritization of credible information, government and NGOs across the world launched COVID-19 campaigns.

The campaign, aimed at creating awareness on physical distancing included Stay Home, Stay Safe, Flatten The Curve, Stay Home, Save Lives, Take Responsibility, among others.

It was reported that Google’s other means of spreading the right information around COVID-19 include Google Maps and Google News Initiative.

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