Social media has a lot of positives, but one negative is the ability for people (and bots) to quickly spread misinformation. When it comes to an issue as important as the health of people across the world, ensuring people find their way to scientifically accurate information is incredibly important.
Google’s search algorithms have traditionally been unfiltered (other than illegal information), the company will now take the extraordinary step of intervening to alter search results to keep people safe and make it harder for those trying to spread incorrect information.
In a new post by Sundar Pichai, CEO of Google and Alphabet details the unprecedented steps they are taking.
One of Google’s biggest properties is YouTube, will billions of views per day. Videos containing commentary and official Coronavirus information are really hot right now and a key information source for people to get the latest information.
Google says it will direct users to authoritative government sources. YouTube will also remove conspiracy theory videos that actually discourage people from seeking medical treatment (yep, they do exist).
I think the world had at some level tolerated the anti-vaxer movement, understanding that it was a small percentage of people that believed that nonsense.
With Coronavirus, the stakes are even higher and the potential impacts on the community of letting this misinformation spread, is too great.
Personally I’m glad Google and YouTube are taking action and other platforms like Twitter and Facebook are also moving in a similar direction.
YouTube are now considering demonetising videos about Coronavirus in an effort to stop people profiting from spreading false news. While this would impact those news organisations and YouTube businesses that rely on revenue from the platform, for the greater good, I think it’s worth at least trying to see if it stops the flood.
More information at Google.