After great success with their strategy in Eastern Europe, Google is now unfolding their prebunking technology in Germany, hoping it will make them more resilient to highly damaging misinformation online.
The plan is to release a lengthy series of short videos on the matter, explaining what the telltale signs of misleading claims are. These videos will be all over YouTube, Facebook, TikTok, and other social media platforms.
Google’s anti-misinformation campaign kicks off to a start in Germany
Many experts call this strategy prebunking, as it’s practically debunking fraudulent and misleading info before it even happens; it’s been growing in popularity among tech researchers and companies lately.
Google is expanding its “disinformation” campaign in Germany and India by rolling out ads aimed at “prebunking” content that it does not agree with.
Videos that Google will run on Facebook, YouTube and TikTok that they hope to counter information that it does not like. pic.twitter.com/BH2VwUphCK
— John Hunter Kennedy (@JohnHKennedyZA) February 14, 2023
The head of research and development at Google’s Jigsaw division, Beth Goldberg, believes her team has an appetite for creating solutions. She claims this one was one of their most innovative ones to date.
Preventing misinformation through ads is extremely novel. It’s sort of like fighting fire with fire, as it’ll also prevent these misleading claims/ads/videos/posts from popping up on people’s feeds as often.
Blindly believing in everything we see on the web isn’t anything new. You’ve probably tackled a bundle of falsehoods and poorly constructed conspiracy theories yourself.
However, even if it’s usually harmless, misinformation can sometimes lead to people avoiding vaccines, spreading propaganda, and even losing trust in the democratic institutions that keep their country running.
Google, after suppressing anti-🇺🇦content in Poland, the tech giant will now target Germany. Google is expanding its campaign against what it calls online “disinformation,” and will roll out ads in Germany aimed at “prebunking” content it disagrees with. #Google = Nazi supporters
— Angelina (@bythesfbay) February 13, 2023
You choose your reality
Thankfully, it’s an issue with a variety of solutions, each more effective than the other, albeit much more difficult to implement in every sphere of the world wide web.
Journalist fact-checks are often good enough to prevent you from believing a misleading post, but they’re labor intensive and not everyone goes through the trouble of actually reading them.
On the other hand, content moderation does work significantly better, but even then, it’s only for one specific platform; where there’s a way, misinformation will eventually creep in.
On top of this, it leads to the platform’s users feeling like the moderation was biased towards a specific group and they’re being censored, which is the last thing any responsible moderation team would want.
Google will help train people to "pre-bunk" legitimate observations and valid concerns before you even air them 🤪 pic.twitter.com/LoBZeIln9g
— Suze (Mother Incredulous) (@kosta_mira) August 25, 2022
In contrast to this, prebunking videos are extremely easy to create and promote. Instead of silencing anyone, all they do is teach people to make these decisions on their own.
This removes the middleman, effectively removing any claims of the presence of bias against a certain group, as everyone is allowed to make their own judgment on the content that’s served to them.
To top it off, Google already proved this strategy to be extremely effective last fall, when they published a similar video campaign in Poland, Slovakia, and the Czech Republic.
It ended up dissecting the many false claims regarding Ukrainian refugees that Russians fabricated following their invasion of Ukraine.