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Google Expands Misinformation Fighting Campaign with Prebunking in Germany

Rend Beiruti Rend Beiruti
14th February 2023
Google Expands Misinformation Fighting Campaign with Prebunking in Germany
The Prebunking campaign will be short videos in advertisement form (Getty)

Google, the global tech giant, is expanding its efforts to fight misinformation with a new initiative of "Prebunking." This proactive and preventive approach aims to teach people how to recognize false information and strengthen their resistance to it. The campaign will take the form of short videos released as advertisements on popular websites like Facebook, YouTube, and TikTok in Germany.

Understanding the Power of “Prebunking”

“Prebunking” is based on the concept of "psychological inoculation," which has been proven to be an effective tool in improving people's ability to recognize fake news. A Google-funded study conducted by researchers at the University of Cambridge and the University of Bristol in 2022, involving 30,000 participants, found that “prebunking” videos can improve people's manipulation technique recognition, increase their ability to distinguish trustworthy from untrustworthy content, and enhance the quality of their sharing decisions.

Fighting Misinformation with “Prebunking”

The “prebunking” campaign will focus on how photos and videos are used to present false information, such as outdated videos used to represent current events. It will also highlight the common manipulation techniques used in fake news, such as scapegoating, exaggeration, fear-mongering, emotionally manipulative language, and incoherence. The “prebunking” approach targets these techniques rather than specific political or cultural topics, making it a cost-effective way of raising awareness.

Google's Jigsaw unit, dedicated to exploring "threats to open societies" and contributing to a "safer internet," has created a YouTube channel that explains some of these manipulation techniques in further detail.

Prebunking's Limitations and Other Efforts

While prebunking has shown promise in the fight against misinformation, it is important to note that its effects can wear off over time. Additionally, “prebunking” is just one of several tools aimed at improving people's media literacy. Content moderation, responsible journalism, and fact-checking remain crucial components in the larger efforts against misinformation.

Google's "Prebunking" campaign in Germany marks a significant step forward in the fight against fake news and misinformation. By teaching people how to recognize false information and strengthening their resistance to it, this initiative aims to make the internet a safer and more trustworthy place for everyone.

Misbar’s Sources:

The Washington Post

Associated Press

Science Advances

NBC News