News Article

Google applies fact-checking to image searches

On Monday, Alphabet Inc’s Google announced it will start showing fact-checking labels on Google Images search results globally, as tech companies are under growing pressure to combat the viral dissemination of misleading statements online.

Google will show the “fact check” labels below thumbnails that appear in image search results along with a description of findings of third-party fact-checkers’, as it currently does on its general search engine and Google News results.

In April, the company began displaying fact-checking labels to US viewers on its video platform YouTube in an attempt to counter coronavirus misinformation, which erupted on social media as the pandemic escalated.

Tech companies have faced calls to police content more vigorously in recent years, after their hands-off method allowed for fake accounts and false statements to become rampant online.

YouTube has uncovered links to sources such as Encyclopedia Britannica and Wikipedia to counter popular hoaxes since 2018 but revealed in its April announcement that it would begin directing efforts toward faster-evolving news cycles.

Soon afterwards, it purged the hugely viral “Plandemic” video, which spread a conspiracy theory about the pandemic to millions of viewers within just a few days.

Twitter and Facebook have also launched fact-checking initiatives and warning labels for “manipulated media”, although critics argue the changes are too restricted in scope.

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