Google has launched an ad campaign in Poland, Slovakia and the Czech Republic aimed at educating viewers on how to avoid being manipulated by the misinformation spreading about how Ukrainian refugees fled the Russian invasion.

Google’s latest ad campaign

According to Bloomberg, the ad is 90 seconds long and is expected to help stop the spread of misinformation about the current political climate in Ukraine.

The search giant decided to launch the ad campaign after European Union watchdogs warned that Russia-affiliated sites and social media accounts were promoting false pro-Kremlin stories six months after the war.

Although the EU banned Russian state media such as RT in their respective countries, the EU still ordered internet giants such as Facebook and Google to monitor their platforms more closely for fake news, misinformation and hate speech against Ukrainian refugees.

Also read: British companies fight disinformation with the help of internet companies, to prevent Russian ‘hostile online warfare’

More than 5.6 million Ukrainian refugees have flooded Europe since the start of the war, according to the BBC. Many countries have welcomed their host countries, but rising inflation and economic concerns have made refugees the victims of resentment from locals.

Beth Goldberg, head of research at Jigsaw, said Google’s program would help researchers understand how effective the ad campaign is in immunizing viewers against propaganda.

According to Financial Express, Russia relies on state media and accounts on digital platforms such as TikTok and YouTube to expose conspiracy theories.

Joseph Bodnar, an analyst with the Alliance for Securing Democracy, said Russia wants to break down European unity against the invasion of Ukraine, which has led to EU sanctions that have affected Russia’s economy and made it more difficult for Russians to travel.

Bodnar added that Russia’s efforts to spread fake news and misinformation are intended to undermine the EU’s global reputation, reduce public support for Ukraine and cause political disruption within the EU.

How Google fights disinformation

According to Social Media Today, Google has expanded its efforts to detect disinformation online and limit the reach of false reports in conjunction with its fact-checking partners.

Google has stepped up its efforts to address misinformation with search updates and alerts to help users understand the sources they connect to for news.

Google also brought more tools to the platform. The search giant has added new posts about evolving news stories, warning you if the facts are still being clarified.

The search giant has also added a new label “Highly Cited” to help users find the source information for important news stories.

This feature directs you to the major publication that released the original story before other news sites picked it up.

Aside from these upgrades, Google also suggests users familiarize themselves with the latest Fact Check Explorer tool, which allows you to search for any topic you have questions about, and cross-reference over 150,000 facts to provide more context.

You can also check the history of a website from the search results page.

Google also emphasizes its support for a number of fact-checking programs through its Google News initiative, which will increase the expertise available for researching and verifying information online.

Related article: DuckDuckGo to lower ranking sites spreading Russian disinformation

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Written by Sophie Webster

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