Google launches info panel to counter COVID vaccine misinformation
Google is introducing new vaccine information panels in its search results to counter misinformation and educate people about what’s available in their location. The panels feature will be rolled out first in the UK, which became the first Western country to begin vaccinating its citizens with the Pfizer and BioNTech shot to fight the novel coronavirus. These panels will be introduced in more countries soon.
As more vaccines get authorized by health authorities in other countries, Google said it will introduce the feature globally.
The panels will include information on each vaccine, and address vaccine misinformation, and also provide guidance about how, when, and where people can receive the shots.
The viewers will be able to view the panel at the top of Google.com searches for COVID-19 vaccines and will provide genuine information in a box above the search results, linking to the source health authority. The panel will also have two tabs. One tab will be the overview of the vaccine, which appears above Top Stories. The other tab will organize news related to the vaccine under a separate section.
In addition to search results, Google says it is sharing similar vaccine information using its COVID-19 panels on YouTube.
Google has been using similar information panels to share COVID-19 details and the locations of testing centers. These panels were launched in March to share information about the pandemic, and the company claims that they have been viewed over 400 billion times since.
This isn’t the first step Google has taken to prevent misinformation on coronavirus through the internet.
Google has also cracked down on anti-vax content on YouTube and had announced in October that it would remove videos containing COVID-19 vaccine misinformation. It claims to have removed over 700,000 videos related to misleading COVID-19 medical information.
Google has announced it is providing more funds to help health authorities and the media provide useful information about vaccines and debunk misinformation. The company is providing an additional USD15 million in ad grants to the World Health Organization to help it promote health initiatives, and it’s spending USD 1.5 million to support the research and fund a COVID-19 Vaccine Media Hub. The company is also funding research into how to counter vaccine misinformation.
Google also revealed that the Company in the month of July had banned websites from running and showing ads on dangerous content that goes against scientific facts of coronavirus. This included ads claiming that the virus was created by Bill Gates, or that it’s a hoax.”
Google also said that it has launched over 200 products, features, and initiatives in response to the pandemic.