Based on research from two British universities, Google’s Jigsaw subsidiary will start a campaign next week to combat misinformation about Ukrainian refugees in Poland, Slovakia, and the Czech Republic.
Working with Jigsaw, psychologists from Cambridge and Bristol universities created 90-second videos to “inoculate” individuals against hazardous information on social media.
The video, which will appear in advertising spaces on Google’s YouTube as well as other platforms including Twitter, TikTok, and Meta’s Facebook, is intended to assist users in identifying emotional manipulation and scapegoating in a news story.
“If you tell them what is real and what is untrue, a lot of people will disagree… “However, you can forecast the strategies that would be employed in disseminating disinformation, like with the Ukrainian issue,” said Jon Roozenbeek, the main author of a paper on the research behind the campaign, in an interview.
The study included seven trials, including one with a sample of Americans over the age of 18 who monitor political news on YouTube. Jigsaw showed an immunization video to around 5.4 million US YouTubers, with almost a million watching for at least 30 seconds.
In collaboration with local non-governmental organizations, fact-checkers, academics, and disinformation specialists, the initiative aims to create resistance to anti-refugee propaganda.
The proliferation of false and misleading material on social media networks in the United States and Europe has prompted several governments to call for additional regulations to combat misinformation efforts.
“We’re thinking of this as a pilot trial, so there’s no reason why this method couldn’t be scaled to other nations,” said Beth Goldberg, Jigsaw’s head of research, in an interview.
“Poland was picked because it has the greatest number of Ukrainian migrants,” she explained, adding that the Czech Republic and Slovakia would serve as important indicators for the rest of Europe.
The promotion will last a month.