Go Fact Yourself!: Google ‘Bringing Fact Check’ to Google Images

June 23rd, 2020 12:30 PM

Google has an infamous history of censoring conservatives, and now it has claimed that it will bring fact-checking to Google images. 

Google will soon start fact-checking photos and videos in an effort to ensure that people "have access to critical context about the information⁠ — and now images ⁠— they encounter online."  Google Group Product Manager Harris Cohen wrote a brief company blog describing the overhaul on June 22. “Starting today, we are surfacing fact check information in Google Images globally to help people navigate these issues and make more informed judgments about what they see on the web.” 

The problem, however, is that Google’s search programs have a history of ranking or deboosting based upon content. A 950-page leak from Google whistleblower Zachary Vorhies exposed the “Twiddler” system that allegedly lets Google/YouTube workers rank search results based upon what the companies want emphasized or de-emphasized. 

Prominent liberal Google critic Dr. Robert Epstein wrote an op-ed warning that Big Tech companies like Google could rig the 2020 election and “make the Russians look like rank amateurs.” He observed that Big Tech companies “can shift opinions and votes in numerous ways that people can’t detect” and shared intercepted emails and studies to demonstrate his point.

The new image and video fact check feature, Cohen said, is an extension of the “fact check features in Search and News, which people come across billions of times per year.”

The blog explained, with both written and visual description, how this fact-checking feature will work going forward:

“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. These labels may appear both for fact check articles about specific images and for fact check articles that include an image in the story.”

The blog made note of how Google’s various branches have been adopting similar fact-checking features across different mediums.

“Fact check labels appear on results that come from independent, authoritative sources on the web that meet our criteria,” Cohen explained. He then described the program that connects these different branches together:

“These sources rely on ClaimReview, an open method used by publishers to indicate fact check content to search engines. We already highlight fact checks on Search and in Google News to make this content easy to discover. YouTube also leverages ClaimReview to surface fact check information panels in Brazil, India and the U.S.”

Cohen then claimed that “Just as is the case in Search, adding this label in Google Images results does not affect ranking; our systems are designed to surface the most relevant, reliable information available, including from sources that provide fact checks.”