As digital platforms continue to seek new methods to limit the spread of misinformation, Google has announced that it’s adding new fact check markers to Google Image search results, in order to ensure searchers are aware of what each image actually represents.
As explained by Google:
“Now, when you search on Google Images, you may see a “Fact Check” label under the thumbnail image results. When you tap one of these results to view the image in a larger format, you’ll see a summary of the fact check that appears on the underlying web page.”
Google’s fact check labels are added by “independent, authoritative sources on the web” via Google’s ClaimReview process for search results.
“We already highlight fact checks on Search and in Google News to make this content easy to discover.”
Fact-checking has become a key focus of late, with Twitter recently adding a fact check label to a tweet from US President Donald Trump, which sparked a new investigation into the laws which protect social platforms from legal liability for what users post to their platforms.
Visual fact-checking has also come into more focus this year, with Google among several platforms investing in research into ‘deepfakes’, with manipulated video looking set to become a key source of misinformation campaigns in the near future.
Google Images is seemingly a lesser consideration in this respect, but Google search is where people turn for answers, and as such, it can play a key role in disseminating misinformation. If, for example, you went looking for ‘shark in flood’ and saw a heap of images depicting this, you may well believe it’s true, without even tapping through on a result. With so many examples, it must be true, right?
Given this, it makes a lot of sense for Google to add in fact check markers in image search – even if they’re not overly prominent.