According to a senior official, Google’s Jigsaw division is starting a new anti-misinformation effort in India to stop false information that has been accused of instigating violence.
The campaign will make use of “pre-bunking” videos shared on the company’s YouTube channel and other social media platforms, which are intended to refute erroneous claims before they gain traction.
In contrast to rival Twitter, which is reducing its trust and safety teams despite new owner Elon Musk’s assurances that it won’t turn into a “free-for-all hellscape,” Google is making an attempt to combat the spread of disinformation.
Throughout the wake of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, Google.org recently tested a strategy in Europe to counter anti-refugee web sentiments.
The experiment in India will have a wider reach because it will deal with several regional tongues—Bengali, Hindi, and Marathi—and various regions of a nation with over a billion inhabitants.
According to Beth Goldman, head of research and development at Jigsaw, “this provided an opportunity to explore prebunking in a non-western, global south market.”
Similar to other nations, India experiences a quick dissemination of false information, primarily via social media, which fuels tensions on the political and religious fronts.
Officials from the Indian government have urged tech giants like Google, Meta, and Twitter to do more to stop the spread of false information.The Ministry of Information and Broadcasting (I&B) has repeatedly used “extraordinary powers” to block Twitter and Facebook accounts, YouTube channels, and other allegedly harmful misinformation-spreading accounts.
Whatsapp, the messaging app from Meta, which has more than 200 million users in India, has also been used to spread inflammatory messages. Following mass beatings of more than a dozen people, some of whom died, caused by false claims about child abductors in 2018, the company limited the number of times a message could be forwarded.
Jigsaw has created five movies in three languages in cooperation with the Alfred Landecker Foundation, a German pro-democracy organisation, the charitable investment company Omidya Network India, and a variety of smaller regional partners.
Following the viewing of the films, viewers will be required to complete a quick multiple-choice survey in order to assess their understanding of disinformation. According to the company’s most recent study, seeing such movies increased viewers’ propensity to spot disinformation by 5%.
According to Goldman, the Indian project will concentrate on topics that are important to the nation.People become more resistant to being misled in the future by being warned about it and given the tools to recognise and reject it.Results should be released in the summer of 2023.
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