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Google Plans Anti-Misinformation Campaign Ahead of EU Elections

Google Plans Anti-Misinformation Campaign Ahead of EU Elections
Small toy figures are seen in front of Google logo in this illustration picture | Google to Launch Anti-Misinformation Campaign


  • Google plans anti-misinformation campaign ahead of EU parliamentary elections.
  • Concerns about misinformation influencing voters prompt action.
  • Initiative to combat false information across five EU countries.
  • Utilizes “prebunking” techniques to help viewers identify manipulative content.
  • Ads to run on platforms like TikTok and YouTube.
  • Questionnaire on YouTube to assess understanding of misinformation.
  • Aim is to safeguard democracy amidst polarized debates.
  • Investigation reveals deliberate spread of misleading information.
  • Campaign emphasizes inclusivity, with ads translated into all 24 EU languages.
  • Results expected to be published in summer 2024.

In preparation for the upcoming European Union (EU) parliamentary elections and in response to stricter regulations on online content, Google is set to launch an anti-misinformation campaign across five EU countries. The initiative aims to address concerns about the spread of false information potentially influencing voters.

The EU elections in June are significant as citizens will elect a new European Parliament responsible for passing policies and laws in the region. There’s growing apprehension among lawmakers regarding the impact of online misinformation on the electoral process.

Recent accusations by France, Poland, and Germany, accusing Russia of orchestrating a network of websites to disseminate pro-Russian propaganda, have intensified concerns about misinformation online.

The introduction of Europe’s Digital Services Act, which takes effect this week, places additional obligations on large online platforms and search engines to combat illegal content and threats to public security.

Google’s internal unit, Jigsaw, dedicated to addressing societal threats, will lead the campaign. Animated ads will be deployed across various platforms like TikTok and YouTube in Belgium, France, Germany, Italy, and Poland.

Utilizing techniques termed “prebunking,” developed in collaboration with researchers from the Universities of Cambridge and Bristol, the ads aim to help viewers recognize manipulative content before encountering it.

Viewers on YouTube will be prompted to complete a short questionnaire to assess their understanding of misinformation after watching the ads.

According to Beth Goldberg, head of research at Jigsaw, prebunking is a technique effective across the political spectrum and crucial for safeguarding democracy.

The campaign comes in response to a growing concern about deliberate misinformation spreading, as evidenced by a recent investigation by the European Union External Action Service (EEAS) uncovering numerous incidents of misleading information related to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

Google plans to translate the ads into all 24 official EU languages, emphasizing inclusivity and broad outreach.

The campaign will initially run for one month, with the possibility of extension based on its effectiveness. Results, including survey responses and outreach metrics, are slated for publication in the summer of 2024.

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