How Google “pre-overlays” fake news on YouTube videos

Short ad-like videos will soon be rolled out on YouTube in some countries to help “inoculate” people against misinformation and fake news.

Google has partnered with researchers to curb the proliferation of fake news and conspiracy theories on YouTube by creating short video ads that help viewers identify common markers.

In a paper published yesterday (August 24), researchers from Google’s Jigsaw unit, the University of Cambridge, the University of Bristol and the University of Western Australia conducted a series of experiments on groups of people to find out if showing them short animations of how to spot fake news in videos had an impact on their propensity to fall in love with them.

The study found that these groups showing what the authors call “pre-bunking” – as opposed to “de-bunking” – videos were more likely than others to identify videos containing fake news or content. dubious aiming to use false information to peddle certain agendas.

This included an “ecologically valid field study” on YouTube involving 5.4 million viewers in the United States who were shown the pre-bunking videos before the videos they intended to watch.

Of the nearly one million people who watched the videos for at least 30 seconds, 30% of that random group were asked to identify the manipulation technique used in a fictional social media post that was shown to them. shown on screen.

The researchers found that the group that had seen the inoculation video were 5% more likely to get the correct answer compared to a group that had not seen the videos.

“These results are exciting because they demonstrate that we can scale pre-bunking at scale, using ads as a vehicle, and that pre-bunking videos are effective in an ‘ecologically valid environment’ on social media and online. outside of a controlled lab test,” said Beth Goldberg, research manager at Jigsaw and one of the study authors. new scientist.

Use in Eastern Europe

Jigsaw, launched in 2016, is the technology incubator unit of Alphabet, parent company of Google, which aims to identify and solve geopolitical challenges such as fake news, extremism, censorship and digital attacks.

Now Google hopes to use this research to help curb the spread of hateful ideologies and misinformation surrounding the Ukraine crisis and resulting spike in anti-refugee sentiment by rolling out the pre-bunker videos in Eastern Europe. East.

Protocol reports that Jigsaw and YouTube will launch the series of video ads in Poland, Slovakia and Czechia over the next few weeks to help people identify and reject derogatory tropes about migrants.

The month-long campaign is expected to garner at least 55 million impressions, which is roughly the population of the three countries combined.

“We wanted to reach as wide an audience as possible,” Goldberg told the publication, adding that the team will use this opportunity to conduct further studies on the impact of pre-bunking videos.

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Shirley K. Rosa