Google search panels sort out misinformation about Covid vaccines

Google logo of the American multinational technology company at Googleplex, the corporate headquarters complex of Google and its parent company Alphabet Inc.

Alex Tai | SOPA pictures | LightRocket | Getty Images

LONDON – Google launched new bulletin boards in search results on Thursday to counter false claims about the coronavirus vaccines.

The internet giant said in a blog post that the feature would first be rolled out in the UK, where people started vaccinating people with the Covid-19 vaccine developed by Pfizer and BioNTech.

The feature will be rolled out in other countries once they start approving vaccines.

Google has been updating its platforms for several months with features that display Covid-related data from governments and health agencies such as the World Health Organization and the Centers for Disease Control to combat misinformation about the virus.

The YouTube video sharing service launched so-called knowledge panels on the virus back in March and is said to have been viewed 400 billion times. YouTube updated its guidelines in October to remove videos that made false claims about coronavirus vaccines.

A screenshot with Google’s new knowledge boards on coronavirus vaccine search results.

Ryan Browne | CNBC

It’s not clear how effective bulletin boards are in preventing internet users from believing misinformation about coronavirus. Fake conspiracy theories about the disease have spread like wildfire across social media platforms this year.

Tackling misinformation about the vaccines will be a mammoth task for tech giants like Google, Facebook and Twitter as governments around the world seek to immunize people against the disease.

Last week, Facebook announced it was removing false claims about Covid vaccines. This is part of his policy on posts that could result in “imminent physical harm”. Twitter has yet to say whether it will ban such posts.

Aside from introducing new features, Google announced on Thursday that it was earmarking $ 1.5 million to fund fact-checking research and create a hub for journalists to give them access to “scientific expertise and research updates.” to facilitate vaccines.

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