Wednesday, October 4, 2023

Google: Pinoys top searchers for terms ‘fake news’, ‘misinformation’ in 2023

According to Google Trends, the Philippines is the top country in the world searching for terms “fake news” and “misinformation” in 2023.

Mervin Wenke, Google Philippines head of communications and public affairs, details the ways Google and YouTube combat misinformation during a seminar for local journalists

The country is also part of the top ten in the world searching for “disinformation” and “fact-checking” as topics. This means that more Filipinos are getting curious and would like to understand more about these important issues, Google said.

“Access to trusted information and content is so important. Our goal is to empower media, creators, and fact-checkers around the world with the tools, opportunities, and capacity to help people online make informed opinions,” Mervin Wenke, head of communications and public affairs at Google Philippines, said.

As part of its ongoing commitment to drive news and media literacy in the Philippines, here’s some of the various tools and ways Google and YouTube said they are helping fight misinformation through the following:

  • Google Search “About This Result” feature — Now available in Filipino, this shows people more information about a particular entry on the results page simply by clicking the three dots beside a result’s URL. The information pane shows additional context for that entry to help people understand where the information is coming from and see how Google’s systems determined it would be helpful for their query.
  • Breaking News on YouTube — When a major breaking news event happens, this shelf appears on YouTube’s homepage to ensure that viewers have easy and immediate access to authoritative news sources.
  • Information Panels — When people search or watch videos on YouTube related to topics prone to misinformation, such as the moon landing or “the Earth is flat”, they will see an information panel linked to third-party sources at the top of their search results or under a video you’re watching.
  • Community Guidelines — The rules of the road for how to behave on YouTube. These policies apply to all types of content on the platform, including unlisted and private content, comments, links, Community posts, and thumbnails. Creators receive a strike for every Community Guideline violation and three (3) strikes within 90 days means permanent removal from YouTube.
  • Fact-checking Training — Google consistently holds capacity-building workshops around the world to help media assess information online. Over the past several years, Google has trained more than 177,500 journalists in 17 countries across Asia Pacific, including the Philippines.
  • Fact-checking Grants — Google and YouTube provide grants to organizations to help strengthen fact-checking efforts. Google and YouTube announced in November 2022 a $13.2M grant to the International Fact-Checking Network (IFCN) at the Poynter Institute to launch a new Global Fact-Check Fund. This is Google and YouTube’s single largest grant in fact-checking.

The fund is open to applications from IFCN’s network of 135 fact-checking organizations from 65 countries, including the Philippines, covering over 80 languages. Applications are now open until May 15, 2023, for grants from the Fund’s first phase, called BUILD. Interested applicants may submit their application here.

On top of efforts to support and enable fact-checking, Google said it is also committed to helping media and creators succeed on platforms like Shorts so that quality content and journalism thrive even on new popular formats.

“We believe the media and creators do play an important role in ensuring that more Filipinos online can connect to trusted information even on new formats like short videos,” Wenke said.


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