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Google expands fact-checking service to image search

Image credit: dt

Google has said it will expand its fact checking policies to its image search feature, as pressure mounts to crack down on misinformation and disinformation.

From today, when a user searches on Google Images, a “Fact Check” label may appear under the thumbnail image results.

Tapping on one of these results will display a summary of the fact check which appears on the underlying web page, if one has been carried out. These labels may appear both for fact check articles about specific images and for fact check articles that include an image in the story.

It fact checking sources are independent from Google itself and rely on ClaimReview, an open method used by publishers to indicate fact check content to search engines.

The service has already been used by the company to show fact-checking labels to US viewers on its video platform YouTube in April in a bid to curb coronavirus misinformation, which has exploded on social media through the pandemic.

Tech companies have been facing calls to police content more aggressively in recent years, after their hands-off approach allowed fake accounts and false claims to become rampant online.

YouTube has surfaced links to sources such as Encyclopedia Britannica and Wikipedia to address common hoaxes since 2018, but said in its April announcement that it would start directing efforts toward more fast-moving news cycles. Shortly after that, it purged the wildly viral “Plandemic” video, which promoted a conspiracy theory about the pandemic to millions of viewers within just a few days.

Twitter and Facebook have also introduced fact-checking programs and warning labels for “manipulated media,” although critics say the moves are too limited in scope.

Last week Facebook said it would allow users to turn off political advertising ahead of the 2020 US presidential election. 

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